The Toffee Shop: Our Timeline
Way back in 1910, Mrs Annie Furnass decided to open a small confectionery store just two doors up the lane from her husband’s butcher’s shop, on King Street, Penrith.
The original Toffee Shop was an Aladdin’s cave; bursting with antiques, brass and copper wares alongside the sweets. Mrs Furnass quickly built up a substantial trade, both in the shop itself and by shipping boxes of toffee across the UK and even overseas.
Mrs Furnass had a number of distinguished patrons, and it was a source of intense pride to her that among them was The Duke of Kent. His Royal Highness would call on her personally when motoring through Penrith and would have packages of his favourite toffee sent to him when serving in Germany. This stamp of approval from the Crown proved the start of a long-standing relationship with the Royal Family.
Our business made the small jump from King street to the bottom of Brunswick Road, where we reside to this day.
Pay a visit to the Toffee Shop and experience the ring of our fabled doorbell, before being enveloped in the smell of molten fudge and toffee emanating from the eight brass pans in the kitchen. To the right, a dresser displays an array of blue china in memory of Mrs Furnass, who loved to collect it.
Try a taster or two to help you make the big decision, and then watch your order being weighed out and lovingly prepared in a special box before being handed over. We love the old fashioned experience of shopping in person – but if you aren’t local, you can of course always order online!
After Mrs Furnass retired, The Toffee Shop was managed by the Fearons before being passed on to Neil Boustead.
Neil continued to follow the century-old secret recipe, refusing to give any clues as to how the perfect density and flavour is achieved.
We were honoured to present our late Queen Elizabeth II with a 2lb box of fudge and toffee during her visit to Penrith – and apparently she was rather partial to it, which made us incredibly happy and proud.
A Royal Re-opening
March 12th 2003 was a historic day for The Toffee Shop. H.R.H Prince Charles officially reopened the store after a refurbishment, unveiling a large wooden spoon to commemorate his visit.
During his time with us, His Royal Highness enthusiastically stirred the brass pans, showing particular interest in both the ingredients and the hand packing process of each box. As far as we know, however, he failed to learn the secret recipe!
The wooden spoon is handed over…
In March, after 40 years at the helm, Neil Boustead decided it was time for a well-deserved retirement, handing over ownership of The Toffee Shop to fellow Penrithian Kathryn Graves.
New owner Kathryn is looking forward to finally unwrapping the secret recipe to the famous confectionery that she has relished since childhood. As she says, ‘To be honest, The Toffee Shop was an integral part of my childhood. It was the best fudge and toffee I’d ever tasted and in truth, still is! It gives me great pride to join such a long standing local business, with a talented and committed team. To be part of the local community, providing employment for others in town and indirectly to local suppliers and vendors is a real privilege.’