In 1895, Brummie Harry Vincent set up a toffee making company and started to do very well in the confectionary trade. Based in his Birmingham factory, he began to sell his 'Harvino' branded toffee, but after watching a play called The Blue Bird of Happiness decided rename his toffee brand to 'Blue Bird'. Little was he to know then, that Blue Bird would soon become one of the country's largest confectionary brands, rubbing shoulders with established stalwarts Rowntree and Cadbury.
In fact, Vincent had more in common with his competitors than just sweeties. By 1925, he could afford to relocate the Blue Bird company to Worcestershire and build not only a new factory, but a model village for his employees along the lines of those constructed by Rowntree and Cadbury.
Anyone who's ever seen Robert Opie's amazing and historically valuable collection of tins and packaging, will be familiar with the brightly coloured and stunning graphic designs that adorned tins for all sorts of foodstuffs from the early twentieth century onwards. It was logos such as the Blue Bird swallow that established brand identity to consumers, especially important when the tin designs changed throughout the year in order to keep the product 'fresh' and visually ahead of the company's confectionary competitors.
It was after Vincent's death in 1952 that Blue Bird began its sad decline, strung out over the following decades. After the ravages of asset strippers and various buyouts, the Blue Bird company left its purpose made factory in Hunnington and became part of Needlers in 1998, thus being known as 'Needler-Bluebird'. This alliance did not last long as in 2002, Needler-Bluebird was brought by Ashbury Confectionary.
Ashbury still produces toffee with the Blue Bird logo and many of the lines such as 'Blue Bird Rum and Butter Toffee' and 'Blue Bird Dairy Toffee' can be brought from online shops selling 'traditional' style sweets.