John Mackintosh


John Mackintosh, the son of Joseph Mackintosh, was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire [7th July 1868].

A few months after his birth, the family moved to Halifax.

His mother Mary had taught at her own father's school and at the Methodist New Connexion Sunday school, Queens Road, and undertook John's education at home.

He started working as a part-timer in the mills at the age of 10.

By 1881, he was employed full-time on doubling machines, twisting yarn into thread. He was originally a silk worker, and went on to become a cotton-spinner at Bowman's cotton mill.

On 29th September 1890, he married Violet Taylor.

Violet was a trained cook. They used their joint savings of £100 to open a pastry shop at King Cross Lane, Halifax. Violet ran the shop while John continued to work at the cotton mill. In the 1950s, the shop was occupied by Wallace Mann.

The couple noticed that they had most customers on Saturday afternoons and they decided they needed a sweet which people could buy and that which would last all week. Violet devised a recipe for a new kind of creamy, chewy toffee based on the brittle English toffee and the softer caramel which had recently arrived from America.

This was made at the back of the shop and quickly became very popular. The couple went on to found the Mackintosh family's world-famous confectionery business, and John was known as The Toffee King.

The business is discussed in the entry for John Mackintosh & Sons Limited

Like all the family, he was a committed Christian. He worshipped at Queens Road United Methodist Chapel.


  1. Harold
  2. Douglas
  3. Eric

He went on to become a JP / a Councillor / Deputy Chairman of the Halifax Equitable Bank / Director of the Halifax Equitable Building Society

The family lived at

John travelled widely to sell the company's products.

In February 1907, John sailed to the Hook of Holland. On the previous night [21st February 1907], his foreman John William Bonnett had sailed on the SS Berlin and lost his life when it was wrecked off the Hook of Holland.

He was prone to ...

certain pangs of the heart and sudden seizures that were alarming to those who witnessed them

He died of a heart attack at the age of 51 on Tuesday, 27th January 1920, whilst sitting at his sick wife's bedside at their home, Greystones, Halifax.

At the funeral, there was a short service at Greystones, followed by a full service at Queens Road United Methodist Chapel. The procession then made its way to the cemetery at All Saints' Church, Salterhebble where he was buried.

At the service, the minister told how, on the previous Sunday, the organist at Queens Road United Methodist Chapel had concluded a service by playing the chorus Be Not Afraid, from Elijah by Mendelssohn. When he had finished playing, the organist believed the church was empty but then he heard John Mackintosh's familiar voice from the back.

Thank you very much, Mr Webster. I have stayed to listen to what I think is the finest chorus I know for inspiration and encouragement

Probate records show that he left an estate valued at £254,563.

A Blue Plaque has been erected in his memory

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:58 / 28th May 2021 / 6726

Page Ref: MMM6

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