These two metal tins originally contained biscuits. One has a Christmas design, the other a bakery and street scene, which could be sold at other times of year.

The oblong tin was produced by Cadbury Brothers and shows three children dressed for outdoors and possibly carol singing. It contained one pound of Cadbury’s milk chocolate biscuits. This dates the tin to before decimalisation in 1971. At the time of writing, a tin like this was on sale online for £10 and was said to be from the 1950s. The clothing worn by the children could well be from that era. Unlike many modern tins it had a hinged lid.

John Cadbury opened his first shop in Birmingham selling tea, coffee, cocoa and drinking chocolate in 1824. He was later joined by brother Benjamin. John retired in 1861 giving control to his sons Richard and George. The famous factory at the garden village of Bournville opened in 1879 and it was here this tin of biscuits was manufactured by Cadbury Brothers Ltd. The company is now American owned and Cadbury’s products are manufactured in more than ten countries.

The tin would have contained biscuits entirely covered in milk chocolate with such varieties as rings, fingers, crunch, double chocolate and shortcake. The tins being attractive and practical, like the next one, are frequently kept by purchasers or those receiving them as gifts.

The round tin shown held 454 grams, or 1lb, of all butter cookies produced by Danish company Jacobsen’s. This is not immediately obvious looking at the photographs. These show street scenes featuring a bakery on the lid with shops, including a restaurant on the perimeter. The clue to the manufacturer and contents can be seen on an advertising sign next to the restaurant, which reads ‘ Jacobsen’s butter cookies’.  There is a further clue on the side of the lid where there is a ribbon banner on which can be read ‘rane, London’. The full wording can be found on current tins of these biscuits, which still feature the same traditional design on the lid, but with different scenes on the edges of the tin. The wording is ‘Designed by Silver Crane, London’. The current tins form part of a Nostalgia range produced by Jacobsen’s, which is a family run business formed in 1962.

The design appears to be set in the 19th or early 20th centuries. The illustrations show the customers of the bakery in light clothing and this appears to be a Summer or Autumn scene, not one at Christmas. The company makes many attractive ranges of tinned biscuits including some especially for Easter and Christmas. These biscuits can be sold all year round. Butter cookies are crisp, unleavened biscuits made from butter, flour and sugar. They may be unflavoured or with added vanilla, chocolate, coconut or sugar crystal topping.

More information:

Date 1950s, 1960s, 2010s
Material(s) Metal
Item number MBPO280

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Have you kept attractive biscuit tins? if so what do you keep in them?
  • To whom have you given tinned biscuits as a present?
  • Which do you prefer - chocolate biscuits or butter cookies?
  • What other Cadbury's products can you name?

User Stories

Examples of other Jacobsen’s butter cookies Nostalgia range showing the biscuits and how they are packed.


A current tin with the same design on the lid, but bakery rather than street views on the tin

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