GRAND OLD MAN OF CONFECTIONERY DIES AT GREEN OLD AGE
From the Bowes Park Weekly News, 6th October 1906
We regret to have to report the death of Mr Geo. Osborne Barratt, who passed away on Wednesday last, at 2.30pm, at the age of 78, at his residence, “Holly Mount” Crouch Hill.
Mr G O Barratt will be familiar to all our readers who know the mammoth factory in Mayes-road, Wood Green and have seen his carts and drays, with their tons of sugar, going along High-road.
Mr Barratt in his day was nothing less than a business genius. He rose literally from nothing to be the head of a firm employing 2,000 hands. His firm is now the largest in the world of its kind. A fine-looking old gentleman, with abundant snowy hair and beard, he was a living example of the saying that “hard work never kills.” He never was a sweet-maker, this part of the business being attended to by his wife, in the early days. Mr Barratt was an inventor and seller of sweets. He invented “stick-jaw,” “jumbles,” “cocoanut chips,” “ching-chang marbles,” and “Jordan Rock.” He dated his astounding success from this “line.” Then there was the famous Tichborne Rock, and the Blackpool and Margate Rocks. Other novelties which may be mentioned are “Hankee Panky,” and “Gummy Gummy Sticks,” the money turnovers and surprise packets.
Twenty-five years ago the first factory was erected at Mayes-road, Wood Green, and there are still working there three men who were with Mr and Mrs Barratt when they started, 40 years ago, in a very humble way at Shepherdess Walk.
Mr Barratt never would admit that he had displayed exceptional ability. He attributed his success to the faithful following out of certain principles : punctuality, invention, selling the goods and economy of production he classed under the general head of “business.” His business was founded on two ounces a penny, and on the excellence and novelty of those two ounces he centred all his attentions. He never would cater to the demand for very low-priced goods, and the firm has always been noted for standard quality, above all.
When Mr G. O. Barratt resigned the active management to his three sons – George Barratt, Frank Barratt and Albert Barratt and his eldest daughter, Mrs Stennett (who exchanged position with Edward Barratt by mutual arrangement) – he was conscious that they would follow in his footsteps and continue to build up the business. Mrs Stennett has since retired and her place as partner has been taken by her son, Mr Joseph Barratt Stennett, who with Mr G O Barratt jun. (son of Mr F Barratt) is assisting in the management of the works. The direct descendants of Mr and Mrs G O Barratt consist of ten children, 28 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The death of his wife some 23 months ago was a blow keenly felt by the old gentleman at the time. He was greatly depressed, and steadily weaker from that time. Another blow befell him about three weeks ago when he could not attend the annual show of Christmas goods. His death can only be attributed to old age and his epitaph could not be a more suitable one than “the sweet king.”
The funeral will leave Crouch Hill at about 10.45, and will then visit the factory which will be closed for the day. Three hearses have been engaged to carry the wreaths and the procession will pass the factory in Mayes-road at 11.15 a.m., arriving at the Redcar-Street entrance of Highgate Cemetery at 12.30.
HHS Bulletin 61 includes edited highlights from the memoirs of Mr Gordon Jack Richards, who worked at Barratt’s Sweet Factory in Wood Green from 1943 – 1972.