Green Ted

Finsbury Square, March 2018

Green Ted in Finsbury Square,

Cat. 2,520-21. Quote from Maybe It's Because

The Christmas Cracker was the invention of London-born confectioner Thomas J Smith. Born around 1824, he worked at a sweet shop as a young boy and strived to invent new ways to sell the fondants, pralines and pastilles. During a trip to Paris in 1840 he discovered a sugar almond wrapped in tissue paper, twisted at either end. He brought the idea back to London. The bon-bon was a success and by the following year Tom decided to include a love motto in the wrapper. Business was booming and the young entrepreneur was still looking for improvements. It was whilst he threw a log on the fire that he came up with the idea for the ‘pop’. The crack was introduced, the size was increased, the bon-bon became the Cosaque, the love motto remained (now in the guise of a joke) and a small gift was added. In 1847 the ‘cracker’ was unleashed to the world and was an overnight success. In 1851 Tom Smith was still living in his Goswell Road factory and by 1861, Tom did as most nouveau riche Victorian men did and took his family out of London to the fledgling luxury suburbs. Living in Lower Heath, Hampstead, near to the poet John Keats, and then King Henry’s Road in Primrose Hill, Tom and his family of his wife Martha and six children had made it.
Tom Smith & Co. moved to a larger premises, on Wilson Street off Finsbury Square. Bucking the trend of male dominated workforces Tom Smith employed more than twice as many women than men. His company received a Royal Warrant in 1906 and has provided Christmas crackers to the Royal Household ever since. Thomas’ wife Martha lived as a widow for her final twenty years and grew closer to her sons Thomas, Walter and Henry. Her passing in 1898 prompted the boys to create a fitting memorial to her and the cracker shaped drinking fountain (pictured) was donated to the parish of St. Luke, in which the company was based.
Green Ted in Finsbury Square,