Raspberry Drops! – and other 1850s confectioneries
CONFECTIONERY IN THE 1850S
There were a wide range of lollies and sweets being produced during the Victorian era. When the gold rush began in Ballarat, it wasn’t long before confectioners arrived and established their businesses here. By 1857 there were a total of 18 people in Ballarat making confectionery. As was common to the time, around half were also bakers or cooks.
Confectionery was bought both as a sweet treat and for medicinal reasons. Medicinal confectionery were generally called ‘lozenges’ and made to assist with a range of problems from poor digestion to a persistent cough. The sweet treat varieties came in a vast range of flavours and forms, including: fruit drops, humbugs, toffee, ju-jubes, spiced nuts, sugar sticks and sherbet (a fizzy drink).
SPENCER’S CONFECTIONERY AND BROWN’S CONFECTIONERY MANUFACTORY
There is no doubt that one of the most popular parts of Sovereign Hill are Spencer’s Confectionery Shop and Brown’s Confectionery Manufactory, and Raspberry Drops one of our biggest sellers. Both these sites are based on real businesses from Ballarat, as is the confectionery sold.
C.S. Spencer’s Confectionery was operating as a business in 1859 on Main Road at Bakery Hill. Charles Spencer was a baker and confectioner who had come to Ballarat from Buckingham, England.
Lithograph of Spencer's Confectionery in Main Street by Francois Cogne (Gold Museum Collection)
Brown’s Confectionery Manufactory originally began operation in the late 1850s in the small town of Dunolly, north of Ballarat. It wasn’t until the 1890s that the business moved to Ballarat and by that time in was run by the Thomas Brown, the son of the original owner John Brown. After the business closed in 1974 the Brown family was kind enough to donate much of their equipment to Sovereign Hill.