A final burst of Bassett’s for today.
A look at Jelly Babies, the soft sugar jelly sweet, dusted in starch, and shaped as plump babies in a variety of colours, made in Sheffield.
The sweets were invented in 1864 by an Austrian immigrant working at Fryers of Lancashire. It is thought that he was asked to make a mould for jelly bears, but the resulting sweets looked more like new-born infants and were subsequently given the ghoulish name, Unclaimed Babies.
Tim Richardson, author of Sweets: A History of Temptation, said although the name might sound ghastly to modern ears, sweet-eaters in the Victorian era would barely have batted an eyelid.
Their popularity waned, but in 1918, they were produced by George Bassett in Sheffield as “Peace Babies” to mark the end of World War I.
Production was suspended during World War II, due to wartime shortages, but the product was relaunched in 1953 as Jelly Babies.
The sweet is famous for being Doctor Who’s favourite sweet, often carried around in a white paper bag. However, they are specifically associated with Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor, who had a predilection for offering them to strangers in order to defuse tense situations (and in one episode bluffing another alien into thinking them a weapon).
In the 1990s, Jelly Babies ditched their nappies in favour of baseball boots and bumbags and given names: Brilliant (red; strawberry), Bubbles (yellow; lemon), Baby Bonny (pink; raspberry), Boofuls (green; lime), Bigheart (purple; blackcurrant) and Bumper (orange).
At the time, a company spokesman said that, “We wanted to increase their street cred.”
Still going strong today.