Martin Parr made a documentary project on an old fashioned sweet shop in Dudley. They do not have any computers or any modern appliance for that matter. It is almost like going back in time.
The owners are friendly and welcoming, somewhere I would be in my element photographing, due to the quirkiness of the place, and the atmosphere.
Photographing in Knowle West where I am currently working on a project of mine is similar with regards to the friendliness and quirkiness.
The staff at Teddy Gray’s sweet factory and owners alike came across on the video as welcoming, they seemed to enjoy the attention Parr gave during his time there.
Both the Sweet Factory and Knowle West enjoy being photographed and having the attention put on them.
The shop and factory is owned by brother and sister Ted Gray and Betty Gust, who took over the family business in the 1960’s. The business has been running for five generations. This story on the fabulous family who have kept a small family business going for so many years, since (1826) when it first began trading, even during the economic depression is amazing to say the least.
The story of Knowle West and my involvement with the Tea dance, are similar to the sweet factory, with regards to the type of dancing such as the sequence dancing and the era in particular, that is dying off and will soon be a distant memory. Likewise the old fashioned sweet shop with all the original elements, that is ran by people of the same era, working as they would in the past decades so to speak.
I feel privileged to be able to be part of the Tea dance, as well as being able to record some beautiful footage and capture some photographs’ of so many lovely and inspiring people of that generation.
It is not the norm nowadays for family run businesses to run successfully for as long as the Gray’s Sweet Factory and neither is a group such as the Tea dance, which runs every Monday at the local Community Centre in Knowle West in Bristol.
I found Gray’s website, this must be the only modern element to the company, which shows they are clever people, and have listened and taken advice as well as thought about getting their business known globally, even though they do not feel the need to move forward with technology, they understand the importance of advertising and progressing their company and products.
Video below taken from You tube