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.
Tiger Sauce and Tit Bit Sauce survived until as late as 1994. 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.