The Bradford Sweets Poisoning of 1858

William Hardaker ran a sweet shop in Green Market in Bradford, England. His most popular confectionary was the humbug, a hard boiled sweet made from sugar and gum and flavored with peppermint. The humbug was a favorite among his customers, who took to calling him “Humbug Billy.” Of course, Hardaker didn’t make the sweets himself; he merely sold them. His supplier was Joseph Neal, who made the lozenges on Stone Street a few hundred yards to the north.

The Bradford Sweets Poisoning of 1858

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Wood engraving by J. Leech, 1858. Published in “Punch” 20 November 1858.


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