A Century of Christmas cracker production in Norwich is coming to a close, with the loss of over 170 jobs. Tom Smith Crackers, founded by cracker inventor Tom Smith, is closing after the loss of a major customer and several other smaller customers.
Daily Mirror, 30th July 1998
Royal Cracker Company to Close - The Christmas cracker firm that has supplied the Royal Family with paper hats, novelties and excruciating jokes for almost a century is to close.
Only a small group of Tom Smith staff who roll up the Queen's crackers by hand know their contents and are sworn to secrecy. All that has been given away is that the crackers bound for Sandringham conceal "small but valuable" gifts. None of the mottos or corny riddles that leave royal diners groaning have ever been revealed. Disappointment was expected at Buckingham Palace last night but officials were still awaiting confirmation of the closure. A spokesman for the Tom Smith Crackers said: "I have no doubt that the Royal Family will be very disappointed. They always write thanking us for the Christmas crackers that we provide for them every year and it has always been an important part of our company tradition.
Sunday Telegraph, 26th July 1998
Your Crackers Have Gone Bang, Ma'am - Around 175 workers will lose their jobs at Tom Smith Crackers, of Norwich, Norfolk, when it closes later this year. The company has made the Royal crackers since 1906 - and one of the workers' last tasks will be to hand-make a special, farewell batch. A company spokesman said: "Generations of Royals have worn our Christmas paper hats and laughed at our jokes. We deliver them to all the Royal palaces. "The staff are always sworn to secrecy about the contents and I have no doubt the family will be very disappointed we are closing. They always write thanking us."
Sunday Mirror, 26th July 1998
The Party's Over - Britain's best-known maker of Christmas crackers is to close after 150 years. More than 170 people will lose their jobs at Norwich-based Tom Smith Crackers
Daily Record, 24th July 1998
The firm that invented the Christmas cracker 150 years ago, Tom Smith Crackers of Norwich, announced it is closing with the loss of 175 jobs. The pound has all but seen off its export business.
Daily Mail, 24th July 1998