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The Fry Chocolate Family
At Frenchay Village Museum we have a permanent display about
the great chocolate manufacturers, J.S. Fry & Sons. Although they
were a Bristol Company that relocated to Keynsham, Joseph Storrs
Fry (and his sons) lived in Grove House, Frenchay, from 1800 until
his death in 1835, and he is buried in the Quaker burial ground here.
Later, his great-grandson Cecil Fry lived in the same house. He was
the last of the family to head the firm, and he died here in 1952. There
are other links to the Fry family through another Great-grandson
Francis Macgregor Fry.
The business was founded in Bristol by Joseph Fry (1728-1787), and
we have on display the mortar and pestle originally used to grind the
cocoa beans. In1847 Fry's invented the chocolate bar, and chocolate
changed from being a drink to being something you ate. Fry's displayed
their new invention at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and one of those
original 160 year-old chocolate bars is on display in the museum.
Ninety years ago Fry's moved from Bristol to Keynsham. The
ceremonial mason's tools used by Cecil Fry to lay a foundation
stone marking the transfer, is another object we have on display.
But it isn't all chocolate - Cecil's son David built a record breaking
racing car the Freikaiserwagen, which is featured in our display,
and his other son Jeremy founded Rotork, and engineering
company in Bath. Rotork developed the original bagless vacuum
cleaner, the Cyclon, which failed due to patent problems, but the
engineer in charge of the project took the idea away, and produced
a better version that avoided the patent issues. He was James Dyson -
however, it's an original Rotork Cyclon that we have on display.
Read more about the Fry Family in our book JS Fry & Sons