Plenty of bottle: Fletcher’s Sauce of Selby

Fletcher’s was best known for its Tit-Bits and Tiger bottled sauces. Fletchers sauce was sold in Britain into the 1990s.

Joshua Percy Fletcher (1879 – 1960) was the son of a prosperous coal merchant in Silsden, West Yorkshire. He had established himself as a drysalter (pickle manufacturer) by 1901.

Fletcher initially produced sauce at the Airedale Works in Shipley. He also had a glass bottle manufacturing plant in Leeds.

Fletchers (Shipley) Ltd was registered with a share capital of £20,000 in 1907.

J P Fletcher described his principal occupation as sauce manufacturing by 1911.

Fletcher’s acquired the rights to produce the popular Tit-Bits sauce from Stamp, Bointon, Junior & Co in 1913.

The sauce and bottling works were transferred to a model garden factory at Selby near York in 1915.

An employee profit-sharing scheme was introduced in 1917. This followed a larger scheme of employee welfare work, such as the encouragement of gardening and other outside interests.

Millions of bottles of Tiger Indian Sauce were sold each year by 1922. A fruity brown sauce, it was so-named because it used spices from the Indian subcontinent.

Arthur Lambert Foster (1880 – 1955) was managing director by 1931, with J P Fletcher assuming the role of chairman.

Foster was later joined in management by  Tom Byass Fletcher (1912 – 1994), the only son of J P Fletcher.

HP Sauce of Birmingham acquired Fletcher’s Sauce Co Ltd in 1947. HP was motivated by the opportunity to increase its presence in the North of England, particularly Yorkshire. The management of A L Foster and T B Fletcher was continued.

J P Fletcher left a net estate of £93,324 in 1960.

Fletcher’s was a leading brown sauce in the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire as late as the 1970s.

HP sold the Selby site to Hazlewood Foods in 1982, and transferred the production of Fletcher’s sauces (to which they retained the rights) to their Birmingham site. Hazlewood manufactured pickles and cooking sauces at Selby.

The Selby pickle factory as of 2006

Tiger Sauce was discontinued in the 1980s, and Tit Bit sauce was discontinued in the early 1990s. HP may have discovered that Fletcher’s sauces were cannibalising sales of HP Sauce, and there were synergies involved in concentrating on their leading product.

Meanwhile, Hazlewood was acquired by Greencore in 2000, who continue to operate the factory at Selby. It is the largest manufacturer of private label pickles and sauces in the UK.


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13 thoughts on “Plenty of bottle: Fletcher’s Sauce of Selby”

  1. I so dream of the days when Tiger was in the cupboard in plentiful supply. Can we get someone to produce it once more. The kids today don’t know what they ar missing.

    1. Hi Keith can you tell me a little bit about what Tiger Sauce tasted like, where was it sold, and when did you last see it?

      Cheers, Tom

  2. Hi,
    It was not as strong as HP and a sweeter taste, I think I write to the company when I couldn’t get it anymore and I believe they said that it was marketed as Chop-Sauce. This is nothing like Tiger.
    I know so many people that would buy this sauce for the memory and that’s not counting on the new customers.
    One of my fathers friends used to call me Tiger and did so up to him passing. It’s still used by some of my family.

    1. Thanks Keith very interesting. Do you remember when you last bought Tiger Sauce? I’m keen to establish when it was discontinued. Cheers, Tom

      1. When all the major supermarkets stopped selling tiger sauce i stumbled across a back street corner shop/off license in Salford & I bought the remaining 6 bottles [ they did`nt last long ] so i wrote to i think it was H.P.asking what’s happened to the best sauce in the world & all i got back was We,ve stopped production due to poor demand. I could,nt believe what i’d Been told . The nearest taste i’ve found to tiger is Daddy’s i think production ceased around 1986

  3. I find Branston rich and fruity to be the nearest but what I find strange is I can’t find an image for the Tiger Sauce from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

  4. Hello Keith,

    This is a fascinating site! Was there any relation between Tit-Bits Sauce and the famous Victorian magazine of the same name? Cheers, Stephen

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