Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs was the largest sugar confectionery manufacturer in Britain.
Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs was founded as a peel manufacturer at Hackney Wick in 1872. At the instigation of Robert Coombs (1836 – 1919), the partners established a confectionery subsidiary called Clarnico.
The company employed 300 people by 1881. Clarnico was one of the largest confectionery companies in Britain by 1886. Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs was incorporated with a share capital of £80,000 in 1887.
The company introduced a profit-sharing scheme for its workforce in 1890. After paying a six percent dividend, the company split the remaining profit equally between the shareholders and the workforce. 840 people shared a total of £1,700 in 1893.
1,000 men were employed in 1891. Around 1,300 people were employed by 1892. This had risen to 2,000 by 1899.
Between the wars, Clarnico was the largest sugar confectionery company in Britain. Over 700 different varieties of sweets were produced.
A manufacturing presence was established in Ireland as a joint venture called Clarnico Murray from 1926.
By 1967 the company had an issued capital of £250,000. The confectionery arm of the company made a profit loss for the 1967-8 year. The company had failed to adapt, and it was acquired by Trebor of London for £900,000 in 1969.
Clarnico Murray had around ten percent of the Irish confectionery market by 1969. In 1974 the Irish manufacturing presence was closed down, and the market was thereafter served by imports from Britain.
Clarnico Mint Creams are still manufactured by Bassett’s, a subsidiary of Cadbury.