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Edward Gray of Dudley Ltd

Edward Gray of Dudley - History

Edward Grays of Dudley has always been a family owned company. It is currently owned and managed by Betty Guest and Ted Gray, brother and sister, who took over from their father in the early 1960's.

Edwards Grays of Dudley was founded in 1826 by John Gray, as he thought it would be a good way to earn a living buying and selling sweets, at the time he travelled the area by horse and cart. When John Gray started his business people tended to make sweets at the back of their homes, which he would buy from them to sell.

Entrepreneur, Mr Gray travelled the area by horse and cart buying sweets and selling them to retailers as well as wholesalers. Eventually he started making his own sweets in West Street. Although it was not Mr John Gray who built the business to what it is today, that was his son Teddy Gray.

Teddy Gray continued with his father making sweets, which everybody enjoyed. They had much success and compliments from customers and in 1933 relocated to larger premises at North Street where the factory is still located to this day. Teddy Gray took over the business from his farther in the 1920s, where he perfected the herbal tablet, however in 1939, World War 2 began and like all people the business had to adapt to deal with this.

Like everything, sugar was rationed during the war and the company could only obtain _ tonne a week, which does not even come close to the six tonnes a week used today.

During the war the company could only produce enough sweets for its own shops, but very little for wholesale.

After the war ended in 1945, the company slowly began to open more shops in Bewdley, Wednesbury, Great Bridge, Dudley and Kinver. However, the country did not fully recover straight away after the war; it took about 10 years for the return to normal. Then, Teddy Gray was able to focus more on wholesale, thus making the herbal tablet the success it is today.

Very often, wherever Teddy Gray sold his sweets they would sell out instantly and in many cases the company could not produce enough to meet demand.

The company did and still does supply Dudley Zoo, which would attract numbers of 40,000 on a bank holiday, where many tourists would by vast amounts of sweets to take back home.

Although Teddy Gray's passion was sweets, his other interest was to breed and show Wyre haired fox terriers; this dog appears on our packets and jars of sweets to this day.

Teddy Gray also had much success with his dogs. He won best in show and championship, out of 6000 entrants for Blackpool dog show. He won two large trophies for this which are supposedly bigger than the FA Cup! Both of these cups were also filled with champagne, to add to these successes he also won at Crufts.

Teddy Gray had many offers from all over the world to buy his show winning dogs. One person offered him £2000 to buy just one, a lot of money at the time considering the average wage for a weeks work was only £3.

In 1962, he persuaded his daughter Betty to work at the business; one of the office girls had left because she had recently adopted a child. Therefore Betty left her job at an auctioneer house to work and learn the family business, where she still works today at the age of 80 along with her brother who is now 73.

To date five generations have worked for their business and currently three generations are working side by side on a daily basis, Betty, her son and her grandson, Ted and his son.

Edward Gray of Dudley - History