PUBLISHED: 09:18 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:18 19 January 2015
Ahead of his visit to Norwich, rapper Professor Green talks about his music and his marriage to the confectionery heir Millie Mackintosh.
Having grown up on an estate in Hackney, award-winning musician Professor Green’s childhood could not be further removed from that of his wife Millie Mackintosh.
He plays the University of East Anglia on December 7, in Norwich the city synonymous with the famous confectionary brand Mackintosh, which was founded by Millie’s family.
Last September, he married former Made in Chelsea star Millie, heir to the Mackintosh family fortune and who has recently launched her own clothing line.
Her great-great grandparents John and Violet founded Mackintosh confectionary in Halifax in 1890, with Violet inventing a new chewier type of toffee that the couple successfully produced and promoted. It wasn’t long before John was being called The Toffee King of England!
In Norwich, meanwhile Albert Jarman Caley was building up a diverse business that began as a mineral water and soft drinks firm but which developed into making cocoa, chocolate and crackers. Caley’s Marching Chocolate was, of course, a favourite with the troops in the First World War with thousands of bars sent out to fortify the soldiers. A J Caley’s was sold to the African and Eastern Trading Corporation, and in 1932 John Mackintosh and Sons bought the Norwich company which had its factory at Chapelfield.
Rolos, Easter eggs and Quality Street were among the popular products from Mackintosh’s, which employed hundreds of Norfolk people and was responsible for the delicious smell of chocolate which would often waft through the city’s streets. It merged with Rowntree in 1969, and Nestlé acquired the business in 1988 though the Norwich factory closed in the mid-1990s.
Despite the very different backgrounds that Millie Mackintosh and her musician husband brought to their relationship, Professor Green – real name Stephen Manderson – dismisses the issue as not being important. At 18 he lost his father to suicide and was brought up by his grandmother. It is her advice he draws on, as he has said in the past “class isn’t dictated by what you have in the bank but how you treat people”.
The couple have just celebrated their first anniversary and Professor Green’s third album, Growing Up In Public, is out now. The couple are considering a fashion collaboration. “We’re about to start dropping pieces,” he says, and Millie has hinted that the next few years will see a move to the country – but there is no word on whether it might be to Norfolk.