The FRY Family
*Thanks to the owner of Conniscliffe House, for allowing our photographer to get this picture of the house next door.
|Dr. Joseph Fry (1728 87) was making chocolate at his Small Street premises in Bristol, by 1756. In 1761 he acquired Walter Churchman’s 1728 patent and his premises for chocolate manufacture. From 1787 his widow, Anna, carried on the business with their son Joseph Storrs Fry. Anna and Joseph Storrs were the first of the family to make their home in Frenchay. (Riverwood House).
Following Anna’s death in 1803, J.S. Fry continued, taking his three sons into the business, which he styled J.S. Fry & Sons.The firm expanded and by 1907 had eight factories around Union Street, Bristol, with additional factories in Princes St. and Cannons Marsh employing around 4,500.
In 1919 Fry’s merged with Cadbury’s, but the J.S. Fry name continued until recently. J.S. Fry’s great-grandson, Cecil Fry, was the last of the family to head the chocolate firm. He lived in the same house in Frenchay as J.S. Fry. In 1921 under Cecil Fry’s chairmanship, the decision was taken to transfer the entire Bristol business to a green-field site at Somerdale, near Keynsham, where production continues under the Cadbury name to this day.
Cecil’s two sons, David and Jeremy,were very involved in motor sport. In the 1930’s David built the hillclimb car he called the Freikaiserwagen, which set the inaugural record at Prescott in 1938. The car went though many enhancements until in 1949 it broke Raymond May’s long-standing record at Shelsley Walsh. In 1950 David’s cousin Joe Fry, was killed driving the car at Blandford.
Jeremy had been successful in a Formula 500 car he built called the “Parsenn”. We have recently discovered the whereabouts of this car, which is in storage.
In the late 1950’s David returned to motorsport with a Formula II car, the Fry Climax. It was driven by Mike Parkes. Although entered for the British Grand Prix in 1959 it did not start. Can you tell us -- where is it now?
We are often asked whether Elizabeth Fry, whose picture appears on the back of the current five pound note, has a Frenchay connection. Dr Joseph Fry (see above) had a brother, William Fry, who was in the banking business. William had a son, another Joseph Fry, who was also in the banking business. This Joseph married Elizabeth (née Gurney). So it could be said that Elizabeth Fry married Dr Joseph Fry’s nephew, who of course was also Joseph Storrs Fry’s cousin, and that is the Frenchay connection!
Joseph Fry became bankrupt, and this almost put paid to Elizabeth’s reforming activities.