How chocolate helped troops in the First World War
Updated 9:44am Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
An exhibition commemorating the centenary of the First World War has opened at York’s Chocolate Story
A YORK museum will explore the impact a sweet treat had during the First World War as an exhibition commemorates 100 years since fighting began.
York's Chocolate Story at Kings Square has organised the unique display to chart how chocolate was used during times of hardship in the Great War.
Visitors can explore how the much-loved food kept spirits high in the trenches, investigate how the city's Quaker chocolate companies offered their support to the war effort, and how its manufacturing changed when troops returned home in 1918.
The museum will also display a unique set of artefacts for people young and old to enjoy.
They can uncover chocolate tins from the era, including those issued by the Lord Mayor of York to residents in active service during the Christmas of 1914.
City troops at home and abroad, and in prisoner of war camps, wrote to the mayor thanking them for the gift.
This series of correspondence was known as the Chocolate Letters, and are available for families to read as part of the exhibition.
On January 11, 1915, Gunner Henry Bailey, from Holgate, York, expressed his thanks.
He wrote: “I feel that I ought to send my very best thanks for the nice box of chocolate I received so unexpectedly […] I am proud to be able to say that I am a York lad and am looking forward to a speedy termination of this Cruel War.
"I shall prize the box as long as God spares me.”
The war was a catalyst for change within the city, and it was one of York's chocolate companies which saw change in abundance.
Fighting in Europe saw Rowntree's adopt changes to its production methods, workforce and supplies of raw ingredients, which led to a fundamental shift in the production and consumption of chocolate during the war and after the gunfire had ceased.
The exhibition is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
For more information visit www.yorkschocolatestory.com