Swizzels

Swizzels

Our Story

Swizzels are one of the longest running sweet factories in the world.
We’ve been making sweets since 1928 and still continue inventing to this day.

1928

Alfred and Maurice Matlow launched Matlow Bros. Ltd making jelly sweets in a small factory in London.

1933

The Matlows joined forces with another sweet factory owner David Dee to share factory space in East London. Swizzels specialised in manufacturing fizzy sweets in compressed tablet form. Swizzels Ltd. was formed.

1930s

Rainbow Drops launched and were sold loose in boxes to be scooped into one paper bags which sold for 1d.

Later a bagging machine was bought which made 3d bags of Rainbow Drops.

1930s

Fizzers launched.
This was the original compressed fizzy sweet.

Until the 2nd world war Fizzers were packed by hand, as orders grew a roll wrapper was purchased.

1930s

Bettabar was launched. Puffed rice bound by caramel syrup.

Initially made by hand and then shaped by machine.

1940

In 1940, battered by the London Blitz during the Second World War, both companies decided to relocate to the current premises in New Mills. They moved into a former textile mill where wicks for miners' lamps were once made. The evacuation was originally intended as a temporary measure but became permanent.

The mill, which is over 150 years old, was rebuilt after a fire in 1883 and is now a major landmark in New Mills, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Sett Valley.

1946

During World War 2 the factory had been used to make water purifying tablets for the Ministry of Defence but still met UK demand which was restricted by food rationing.

1946

Parma Violets launched. These delicately perfumed sweets were originally marketed as breath fresheners and were frequently sold in pubs.

1954

Love Hearts launched. Initially they were a gift in a cracker and read "I LOVE YOU".

Many other messages were introduced although some such as HEY DADDIO, GOOD BOY and HELLO MUM did not make it into the 1960's.

The production of Love Hearts with the embossed messages and edible ink remains a secret and is unique to Swizzels.

1954

Double lollies launched.
The first double flavoured sherbet lolly.

1955

1955 Mr Trevor Matlow, Joint Chairman, joined the company.

1955

New Refreshers launched. Original packaging had cartoons of children believed to be the Matlow family.

1957

Drumstick lolly launched, the only chewy lolly available.

1958

Mr Adrian Matlow, former Company Director joined the business.

1960

The Love Hearts message COOL was discontinued.

1965

Mr Michael Dee, the former Managing Director and Joint Chairman, joined the business.

1967

1967 Mr Brian Dee, joint Chairman, joined the business.

1969

The factory was extended to meet ever increasing consumer demand.

Golf Hints were launched. Similar concept to Love Hearts but with golfing tips.

1970

Hippy Bits were launched. They were similar to Love Hearts but with Flower Power style messages.

1971

Lucky Strike mints were launched, they were printed with the names of football teams and were promoted as a way of doing the pools.

1971

Swizzels Ltd received the Queen's Award to Industry for export achievement.

1975

The company became Swizzels Matlow Ltd.

1976

Double Dip launched.

1977

Lipsticks and Whistles launched.

1977

The popularity of Kojak and his trademark sucking on a lolly led to a huge rise in the export of Double Lollies.

1986

Soccer Shields were launched. They were an update of the 1970's Lucky Strike Mints. Club badge stickers on inner wraps were licensed from the FA.

1986

Snap & Crackle launched, a fruit flavoured chew bar with a refreshing fizzy centre.

1987

Stinger Chew bar launched.

1988

Fun Gum range launched.

1980s

In the 1980's some more changes were made to the Love Hearts messages with WOW, FAB and GROOVY being removed.

1991

The late Diana, Princess of Wales visited the factory and was presented with specially commissioned Love Hearts.

1999

Nici Matlow, Company Director joined the business.

2000

Love Hearts was included in the Millennium Dome as an icon of the 20th century.

2001

Swizzels Matlow online shop www.forgetflowers.com was launched allowing people to buy hampers and wedding favours, the site has since been renamed as shop.lovehearts.com

2003

Special Love Heart to celebrate HRH Prince William's 21st birthday was created: 'HAPPY 21 WILLS'.

2003

6 year old Sophie Galvin won a competition to design a new Swizzels Matlow sweet. Her foot shaped chew with fruity toes was inspired by watching her baby sister suck her toes. Unfortunately the foot shaped chew was never launched.

2003

Manchester designer Shaya created a wedding dress made with 1000's of "MARRY ME" Love Hearts. The estimated value was £125,000.

2004

Mr Jonathan Dee, Company Director joined the business.

2008

Artificial colours were removed from all 250 product lines in response to changing consumer demands.

2008

Company’s first brand website launched.

2008

Mr Jeremy Dee, Managing Director, joined the business.

2009

Harry Willsher, then aged 12 beat almost 4,000 others to become an official sweet taster for Swizzels Matlow.

2009

The growth of Halloween and Trick or Treating in the UK led to the company launching an extensive Halloween range. Halloween is the main sales peak for Swizzels followed by Christmas.

2011

A Love Hearts gift box launched to commemorate the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Love Heart wrappers read “Congratulations William and Catherine 29th April 2011”.

2012

Artist Mark Kennedy was comissioned to make a mosaic out of Love Hearts to celebrate the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

2012

Swizzels Matlow was named as “The Factory of Love” since so many employees have met and found love whilst working there. Many employees are in a relationship with a colleague and many are married with children.

2012

Swizzels launched the hugely successful brand Squashies. Squashies are Original favourite Swizzels sweets (Double Lollies, Drumsticks, New Refreshers and Love Hearts) squashed in to a soft gum format. The original product concept was initiated by Jonathan Dee. They were Awarded Top Launch for sugar confectionary from The Grocer in 2012.

2012

Swizzels Matlow celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary and released special edition Love Hearts. Messages included: CONGRATS MA’AM, CORGI LOVE HRH and JUBILEE 2012. A Love Hearts crown was modelled by a queen lookalike.

2012

Swizzels teamed up with global boy band sensation One Direction to launch 1D Love Hearts. The 40 unique messages and icons on the Love Hearts were chosen by 1D fans.

2012

The Sweet Shop Favourites tin launched for Christmas 2012. The tin brought together Swizzels’ most popular sweets and was a huge success. By Christmas 2013, one Sweet Shop Favourites tin was being sold every five seconds.

2013

Limited edition Royal Baby Love Hearts launched. The wrappers had to be designed for both the ‘ROYAL PRINCE’ and ‘ROYAL PRINCESS’ as the gender of the unborn baby was not known in advance. As soon as Prince George was born the ROYAL PRINCE Love Hearts rolled off the production line.

2014

Swizzels’ most recognisable brand Love Hearts celebrated its 60th anniversary. To mark this occasion, Swizzels ran a competition where fans had the chance to design their very own Love Heart. The winners’ messages, such as ‘Tweet Me’ and ‘Skype Me’ were added into Love Hearts rolls at the beginning of 2015.

2015

After thousands of applications, Aine Hickey and Michelle Eland were chosen as Official Sweet Tasters for Swizzels.  They were responsible for taste testing new sweets and products before they hit the shelves, as well as helping to develop new tastes and flavours.

2015

Swizzels added two new flavours to their Squashies lines: Drumstick Sour Cherry & Apple and Drumstick Bubblegum.

2016

Swizzels launches Parma Violets cheese to mark Parma Violets’ 70th anniversary. Although it was quite an unusual product, it was very popular and got a lot of people talking.