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Conversation Lozenges


Love Hearts are a type of confectionery manufactured by Swizzels Matlow in the United Kingdom.
They are hard, heart-shaped, slightly fizzy sweets in a variety of fruit flavours, featuring a short, love-related message on one side of the sweet.
They were an updated version of the Victorian era Conversation Lozenges.
Conversation Lozenges were introduced by the firm of Dobson's.
Dobson's started with young Joseph. Joseph Dobson arrived in Elland, Yorkshire, in 1850, having travelled with his young bride Eleanor from their native York.

Aged 21, Joseph had come to collect his inheritance, only to find that the acting solicitor had disappeared with it.
Undaunted and without any capital, Joseph and Eleanor started their business, catering primarily for Victorian family occasions, producing wedding cakes and funeral biscuits.
Orphaned by plague at the age of ten, Joseph had been raised by his grandparents and had worked as a boy for the confectionry firm of Cravens in York.
His bride Eleanor too had connections with the confectionery trade and was the sister of William Charles Berry, confectioner and Freeman of the city of York.
The Berry Family were joint founders of Terrys at the turn of the 18th Century.
The firm of Joseph Dobson still produce excellent retro sweets

Many of the first sweets to be made had medicinal value and some, like the current day Voice Tablets, still remain.
Joseph Dobson's have always been innovative with new essence flavours and sweet design.
The turn of the century saw their introduction of the Conversation Lozenge, adorned with true Victorian values; Take Ye Not To Strong Drink and Honour Your Parents, for example.
Very serious moral advice!


Modern-day messages are less grave and more romantic.
Do you like Love Hearts?
I was given a whole box-full for my 86th birthday.
I am still very fond of them.
When I was a little girl I thought they were quite saucy!
I used to spend ages working out how to rearrange the order of my tube of sweets so that I could send appropriate messages in class to my near or distant friends.....

The sweets are suitable for either chewing or sucking.
The fizz is best if you can be patient and suck gently.
On chewing the sweet quickly disintegrates into a powdery, starchy consistency.
I can't often wait!


Love Hearts currently come in six flavours, each associated with a colour.
White (a plain, sherbet-like, slightly tart vanilla flavour)
Yellow (a sherbet-like flavour with a distinct sharp lemon aftertaste)
Green (a slightly lime flavour with a sherbet-like aftertaste)
Orange (a sweet flavour with a slight orange aftertaste)
Purple (an unusual, slightly perfumed berry-like flavour with a strong aftertaste)
Red (cherry flavour)

This list of flavours starts with the weakest flavouring and progresses to the strongest.

The sweets are small and circular, approximately 19 mm in diameter, and 5 mm in height (including the embossed decorations).
When I was young, they were bigger and the rolls were much longer.
Of course, most sweets were better when I was a child!

On the front of the sweet the embossing is highlighted with a red or purple colouring.
The main body of the sweet is coloured in one of the 6 delicate pastel colours - white, yellow, orange, green, mauve or pink.

There are many different messages which can be found on the front of the sweet, most of which are love related.
The message is written in capitals in a sans serif font of varying size.

There are many, many messages (it is uncommon to find more than 3 repeats in a packet of 20).
These include:

All Yours, Angel Face, Bad Boy, Be Good, Be Mine, Be My Icon,Be My Love,

Big One, Bless You, Blue Eyes, Bonnie Lass, Break Me, Bye Bye, Call Me, Canny Lad,

Catch Me, Cheeky Boy, Cheeky Girl, Cool Dude, Cool Kid, Crazy, Cuddle Me, Cutie Pie,

Date Me, Dear One, Dishy, Doh! Dream Boy, Dream Girl, Dream On, Email Me, Ever Yours,

Ever True, Find Me, First Love, For Ever, For Keeps, Funny Face, Gee Whizz, Good Pals, Great Fun,

Great Guy, Great Lips, Groovy Chick, Grow Up, Guess Who, Happy Birthday, Happy Days,

Heart Desire, Heart Throb, Hello, Hi Baby, Hi Buddy, Hold Me, Hot Lips, How Sweet,  Hug Me, Hunk,

I Like You, I Love You, I Spy, I Surrender, I Want U, I'm Shy, In Love, Its Love, Just Me, Just Say No,

Kiss, Kiss Me, Lazy Bones, Let's Dance, Let's Kiss, Like Me, Like You,Little Kiss, LOL, Love, Love Bug,

Love You, Lover, Lucky Day, Lucky Lips, Lush Lips, Luv U 24/7, Make Up, Marry Me, Meet Me, Miss Me,

My All, My Angel, My Boy, My Girl, My Hero, My Pal, My Pet, My Woman, New Love,

Nice Girl, Only You, Pamper me, Panda, Real Love, Relax, Ring Him, Say Yes, Send Me,

Slick Chick, Smile, Stay Cool, Stud Muffin, Sugar Lips, Sweet Kiss, Sweet You, Take It Easy, Tease Me,

Text Me, Tickle Monster, Too Much, True Lips, Trust Me, U Rock, What A Smile, Wicked, Wild Thing,

Will You, Wow, Yes Bruv, Yes Dear, You And I, You're Fab, You're Gorgeous,

You're Mine, Yours.....

Swizzels Matlow Ltd once held a competition for new messages to be put on Love Hearts.
Here are the Competition Winning Messages : (some of these are rather odd!)
Granny P
Happy Harry
Heart Baby
Me Julie
Best Mum
Mermaid Eloise
I Luv Alan
Joyful Jo
Juicy Jessie
Kin of U Home
Think Pink
How r u
Thumbs up
Forever Together

Most messages are written in simple horizontal, centrally aligned lines.

Love Hearts are packaged and typically sold in tubular packs of 20.
Alternative package sizes are available under special circumstances, such as the 2006 "silver love heart" competition, where the packet size was temporarily increased.
Different sizes have also been released, including giant and small Love Hearts.
The shelf life (indicated by the best before date) is very long - approximately a year and a half.
Mine dont last five minutes!

Production of Love Hearts began in 1933 with the formation of Swizzels Ltd., initially in factory premises at Star Lane, Canning Town, London, moving later that year to the larger premises at Drivers Avenue, Plaistow, London.
During the Blitz in 1940 production relocated to a disused textile mill in New Mills, Derbyshire, where it has stayed to this day.

The first special edition was produced in 1981 to celebrate Princess Diana's wedding.
Wayne and Coleen Rooney got personalised sweets made up for their wedding which read "Wayne and Coleen".
There was a special edition for Kate and William....

Production of Love Hearts has changed little since 1933, although it has become more mechanised and less labour intensive.
The production is a pressed tablet method, similar to many pharmaceutical products, again demonstrating the original link between medicine and sweets.

Granulated sugar is ground to a very fine powder.
The sugar is separated into lines for each flavour of Love Heart.
Colours, flavourings, and the other ingredients (all fine powders) are added and mixed.
The mixture is fed into a tablet machine where it is compressed under high pressure into a tablet.

[A tablet pressing machine]

This is the stage where the message is imprinted onto the front of the love heart, depending on the mould used for pressing.
The highlights on the front are "painted".
The different colours and flavours are randomly mixed, then the sweets are packaged.

INGREDIENTS [Not sounding very tasty!]
Sugar, Acidity Regulators: Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid; sodium bicarbonate, stearic acid, Modified starch, E470b, Anti-Caking Agent: Magnesium Carbonate; Flavourings, Colours: E100 (turmeric or curcumin), E104 (Quinoline Yellow WS), E110 (Sunset Yellow FCF), E122 (Azorubine), E124 (Ponceau 4R), E129 (Allura Red AC), E132 (Indigo carmine), Elderberry Extract.


UK Supermarket ASDA now produce a brand of sweets called 'Whatevers', in the style of Love Hearts, but with a range of rather less romantic British colloquial terms.

[However, you should know that the sweets are manufactured by Swizzels at the New Mills factory, shown here. Apparently, it's the only outfit with a machine capable of doing the embossed messages!]

27th APRIL 2006
With words like bothered, mint and minger becoming part of British culture ASDA today announced it would be selling its own variety of old favourites ‘Lovehearts,' albeit with a more contemporary slant.
Gone are the ‘sweet nothings’ that normally appear, being replaced with expressions you would expect to hear in every playground across the UK including: Minger, chav, proper, bothered, in it, you what, whatever, mint, respect and as if.
The new, culturally correct, sweets will be called Whatevers, sell for just 24p and will be available nationwide in ASDA’s 302 stores from today."

Not an especially inspiring development!

“We thought it was time to up date this old favourite.
With sayings from characters in shows such as Little Britain and the Catherine Tate Show providing us with more and more contemporary slang we thought we needed some sweets to reflect this.
We think we deserve some ‘proper’,‘respect;'as a result, these sweets are ‘mint',"said James Davies, ASDA’s sweet buyer.

7th FEBRUARY 2013


The review of the exhibition read:
"London artist Zeus has been described as a 3D graffiti pioneer and his latest creation has us fizzing with excitement.
Broken Arted is a brilliant handmade sculpture based on the British confectionary classic the Love Heart.
Each piece is a hand cast and painted model of a giant Love Heart sweet which has then been broken and sealed into a box frame where it is signed and numbered.
The random nature of the break ensures that each of the witty works in this edition of 25 is completely unique.

Zeus majored in sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and his works represent an innovative fusion of graffiti techniques, fine art and sculpture, reflecting both his background on the streets and his formal art school training.
We love the sculptural element of ‘Broken Arted’ and its playful appropriation of the sweetie that says it all is ingenious!"

Apart from the lovely sweet alphabet letters (which when I was small were so much better, with holes in the right places - look at the O, the D and the P!) and the 'writing' in sticks of seaside rock,( about which perhaps a different article?), Love Hearts and Whatevers are the only descendants of Joseph Dobson's Conversation Lozenges I know.

Long may they flourish!

A pity some of our political leaders do not often eat their words......
Perhaps they would not leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.