Bristol’s history with chocolate goes back some time. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the chocolate Easter egg we all know and love, first produced in Bristol by J.S. Fry and Sons in 1873. It also marks 650 years since Bristol was made an independent county in 1373. So Luke Jerram’s latest art project Edible Histories feels like a fitting tribute to both.
Throughout 2023, five uniquely Bristol objects will be recreated 1 to 2 m-sized replicas in Fairtrade chocolate by the award-winning Bristol chocolatier Zara’s Chocolates in Southville. The first to be remade was a ship’s wheel from the MShed museum. Representing the city’s trading history, the wheel came from the decommissioned ship TSS Bayano and was temporarily on display in The Galleries.
Now Edible Histories’ second chocolate duplicate is on display to the public at Glenside Hospital Museum. This giant 1m diameter replica of a button represents the many patients who received care at Bristol’s purpose-built asylum. Buttons would have been stitched onto clean robust clothes made for patients in the sewing room to provide them with suitable clothing to work within the hospital.
Luke Jerram hopes this new art project will incentivise more people to visit these heritage sites across Bristol. “I hope this new artwork will engage people in finding out about our city’s history, in a fun and interesting way. To engage with history by literally consuming and digesting it!” he said.
Other upcoming locations involved with the project include Aerospace Bristol, Wild Place Project and Tyntesfield. Currently, Zara’s Chocolates is working on a chocolate replica of Concorde. As it was in Filton where all 10 UK-built Concordes were assembled. In October, all five chocolate objects will be brought together for a free public event. Where the objects will be ceremoniously broken and the chocolate shared out.
“I welcome this project, including the decision not to shy away from some of the more difficult and challenging topics Bristolians need to talk about, and address,” said Bristol City Council’s Deputy Mayor Asher Craig. “It’s important that we take the time to learn everything – the good and the bad – about Bristol’s history to ensure future generations are educated and feel connected to this city”.