Baking point: George Borwick & Sons

Borwick’s was the highest selling baking powder in the world.

George Borwick (1807 – 1889) was born in Cartmel, Lancashire. He worked as a teacher in West Bromwich and married Jane Hudson (1807 – 1868), the daughter of a Congregationalist minister, in 1831.

Borwick’s brother in law, Robert Spear Hudson (1812 – 1884), had introduced the first successful commercial soap powder in 1837. A trained chemist, Hudson gifted his baking powder formula to Borwick.

Borwick relocated to 18 Aldermanbury, London to work as a wholesale agent selling Hudson’s washing and bleaching powder as well as his new baking powder, from 1844.

“Borwick’s German Baking Powder” received a recommendation from the private baker to Queen Victoria in 1849.

The firm traded as Borwick & Priestley, wholesale druggists and drysalters of 24 and 25 London Wall, London, between 1850 and 1852.

Borwick also introduced a successful egg powder.

Dr Hassall (1817 – 1894) analysed Borwick’s baking powder in 1855 and found it to consist of tartaric acid, soda (or maybe potassium carbonate), ground rice, a small amount of wheat flour and possibly a little sugar.

Borwick’s returns averaged £12,000 to £14,000 a year between 1845 and 1857.

Borwick’s baking powder and egg powder became some of the first widely known consumer products in Britain.

George Borwick employed 75 men and boys and 8 girls in 1861.

Growing sales saw premises relocated to 24 Chiswell Street, Finsbury from 1864.

Robert Hudson Borwick (1845 – 1936) and Joseph Cooksey Borwick (1847 – 1913), sons of George Borwick, entered the business in 1865 after a brief period working as manufacturing confectioners. They were made partners by 1870, and the firm traded as George Borwick & Sons.

George Borwick & Sons was awarded a Royal Warrant for baking powder from the Queen of the Netherlands in 1870.

Borwick’s baking powder won its fifth gold medal at an International Exhibition in 1882.

George Borwick had retired to Devon by 1881, and he died in 1889. The value of his personal estate was estimated at £259,740. The firm was left to Robert and Joseph, whilst his eldest son Alfred (born 1837) inherited his estate at Walthamstow.

600,000 packets of Borwick’s baking powder were sold every week by 1896.

Robert Borwick was knighted in 1902.

George Borwick & Sons was registered as a limited liability company with a capital of £100,000 in 1902.

Joseph Borwick died with property valued at £159,419 in 1913.

Robert Borwick was elevated to the peerage in 1922.

George Borwick & Sons had its premises at 42-44 Croydon Road, London by 1949.

H J Green & Co of Brighton, manufacturer of sponge mix, acquired George Borwick & Sons in 1955. Both were traditional family businesses.

H J Green had been acquired by Pillsbury by 1984. Pillsbury was taken over by Grand Metropolitan in 1989. Green’s of Brighton was sold to Dalgety in 1990. Dalgety sold its food ingredients business, including Green’s, to Kerry Group of Ireland in 1998.

As of 2016, Borwick’s baking powder is manufactured by Kerry Foods at its facility in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

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5 thoughts on “Baking point: George Borwick & Sons”

    1. I know and the website is incorrect. It was the trained chemist and brother in law, and not the Congregationalist minister father in law who developed the formula.

  1. I worked for H J Green from 1977 onwards and Borwicks was produced in Lancing in a small sub unit of the main Hove factory, so it was owned pre-1984, at least before 1977.

  2. According to their newspaper adverts, Borwick & Priestley traded from 1849 to 1853. Their partnership was dissolved in early 1854. George Borwick kept the London Wall premises and Samuel Priestley took the Leeds and Birmingham operations.

    Samuel Priestley was my 2x great grandfather. I’d be interested to learn any more about their partnership and why it ended.

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