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.

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

By 1850 the firm of George Watkins was based at Kentish Town.

In 1857 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 the 1860s the firm was best known for its Winchester Sauce.

By 1867 the firm was based at 116 Bayham Street, Camden Town.

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

From the 1870s Digestive Relish, a pickle, was their best known product. 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.

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

In 2003 G Costa was acquired by Associated British Foods, who owned Patak’s and Levi Roots ethnic sauces.

As of 2015 only two products are manufactured under the Geo Watkins brand; mushroom ketchup and anchovy sauce.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *