Liverpool has made an invaluable contribution to the cause of dentistry through two of its great industries: tobacco and confectionary. They both have a long history, although little remains of either. Liverpool as a major importer of sugar was well placed to benefit from the spin-offs and, in the late eighteenth century, an Everton woman, Molly Bushell, decided to increase her income by using recipes from her local doctor to make toffee.
The business boomed and others started up in competition, including Mary Cooper in 1810. Trading from a cottage in Browside, her Everton toffee achieved national fame. In a local rhyme of the time:

Everton Toffee! Ever dear to lass and lad:
More certain cure than balm of Gilead.
Come friends, come buy – your pennies give.
While you keep sucking you’ll be sure to live!

Balm of Gilead referred to ‘cures’ of snake-oil salesman, Dr Solomon of Liverpool, who made a fortune out of his patent medicines. At least toffees gave a burst of welcome glucose!
The memory of this small local industry lives on in the nickname of Everton Football Club. I am not sure when the cottages on Browside disappeared although I have seen a late nineteenth century photograph of them in disrepair. The photograph above was probably taken in the 1880s. The style of cottage was very much the original vernacular Lancashire style, that was gradually replaced by Georgian and, later, Victorian terraces.

Everton Toffee Shop

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