Playing ketchup: Geo Watkins

Geo Watkins is the only remaining national producer of mushroom ketchup in Britain.

George Watkins founded his grocery business in 1830. The Watkins family were Quakers.

A George William Watkins is described as an oilman/Italian warehouseman of 308 Oxford Street, London in 1843.

The firm of George Watkins was based at Kentish Town by 1850.

The grocers and Italian warehousemen partnership of George Watkins, Alfred Robinson and George William Watkins of 4 Portland Place, St John’s Wood, was dissolved in 1857.

The firm was best known for its Winchester Sauce in the 1860s.

The firm was based at 116 Bayham Street, Camden Town by 1867.

Crosse & Blackwell distributed the firm’s products in export markets by 1870.

Digestive Relish, a pickle, was their best known product from the 1870s. Digestive Relish was still being advertised as late as 1923.

Presumably, the firm entered into receivership around 1923, in what was a difficult time for food manufacturers.

G Costa & Co of Aylesford, Kent, best known for Blue Dragon oriental sauces, relaunched the Geo Watkins brand in 1985, as a range of traditional English sauces.

A Geo Watkins piccalilli was available until 1996. A Geo Watkins brown sauce was discontinued in the 2000s.

G Costa was acquired by Associated British Foods, owner of Patak’s and Levi Roots ethnic sauces, in 2003.

Two products are manufactured under the Geo Watkins brand as of 2016; mushroom ketchup and anchovy sauce.

 

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