Today, the KP brand is best known for peanuts, crisps and chocolate dip pots.
Charles Kenyon (1832 – 1893) was born at Brierley, South Yorkshire. He served an apprenticeship to a confectioner in Barnsley, before establishing his own business on College Street, Rotherham, from 1853. His principal product was jam.
Kenyon relocated production to Morpeth Street in Rotherham to cope with increasing demand, and was joined by his son, Harry Kenyon (1862 – 1932). He employed 27 people (five men, five boys, eight women and nine girls) by 1881.
Charles Kenyon became an alderman, representing the Liberal party. A keen Wesleyan Methodist, it was through the church that he met Matthew Smith Craven (1845 – 1923), who produced jam at a large factory on Scarborough Street, Hull.
Kenyon and Craven merged their interests in 1891, and the firm was incorporated as Kenyon, Son & Craven. Pickles, sauces and confectionery were produced, as well as jam.
The Hull factory was divested in 1930, and all production was centralised at Rotherham.
Harry Kenyon died in 1932, and left a gross estate valued at £2,081.
Simon Heller (1906 – 1989) of the Leeds-based Hercules Nut Company became chairman in 1943. A new 40,000 sq ft factory at Eastwood, Rotherham was established in 1947. After his own factory in Leeds burned down, Heller acquired Kenyon, Son & Craven in 1948, and began to produce roasted and salted hazelnuts.
KP salted peanuts were introduced from 1953, and soon achieved nationwide distribution.
Kenyon, Son & Craven virtually established the salted peanut category in Britain, and achieved national dominance of KP Nuts with very little advertising.
Manufacture of other products was discontinued in order to concentrate on peanuts.
Kenyon, Son & Craven employed over 1,500 people by 1965.
Kenyon, Son & Craven was acquired by United Biscuits in 1968 in a share exchange which valued the private company at £3.5 million.
Kenyon Son & Craven was the largest nut processor in Europe by 1970.
Simon Heller died in 1989 and left an estate valued at £3.8 million.
H J Packer was the largest low-cost chocolate manufacturer in the world.
Edward Packer (1848 – 1887) was a Quaker who worked for J S Fry & Sons of Bristol, a chocolate manufacturer, in the 1870s.
Edward Packer left Fry to commence chocolate manufacture for himself in 1881. He worked from his house at 11 Armory Square, and was assisted by his wife. Soon he employed eight people.
Packer entered into partnership with Henry John Burrows (born 1853). Unfortunately, trade immediately declined, and all employees other than members of the Packer family had to be laid off. The partnership was dissolved leaving Burrows as sole proprietor from 1884. Burrows added his own initials to the company name, and began trading as H J Packer & Co.
Caleb Bruce Cole (1862 -1912) was a confectionery salesman in Bristol. His contact with H J Packer & Co impressed him, and his father lent him £1,000 to buy the business in 1886. Around nine people were employed.
Cole identified a gap in the market, and began to manufacture high quality chocolate at an affordable price. The chocolates found a keen market among children.
Cole subverted the notion that low-cost food production need sacrifice standards of cleanliness or provision for the workforce.
In 1896 Cole was joined by his brother Horace, and William John Mansfield (1846 -1912) was employed as general manager.
A new factory was opened at Greenbank, Bristol in 1903. It covered four acres and was the largest low-cost chocolate factory in the world. Greenbank was situated on a major railway line, which allowed for convenient distribution. Two large dining halls, each with a capacity of 400 people were erected, and food was available to workers at cost price.
H J Packer & Co became a limited company in 1908.
Carsons Ltd of Glasgow, with a share capital of £50,000, was acquired in January 1912. A high quality manufacturer, Carsons had been the first company to introduce tray chocolates.
Charles Bruce Cole died in June 1912. A progressive man, he was described as quiet and likeable. He left an estate valued at £259,937.
H J Packer & Co had a capital of £750,000 and employed 1,000 people by 1912.
A dedicated Carsons chocolate factory was opened in Bristol in 1913..
By 1922 Packers was the fourth largest chocolate manufacturer in Britain, and the largest manufacturer of low-cost chocolate in the world.
The company struggled during the Great Depression.
Suffering from overcapacity, the Carsons factory was divested in 1960.
The company name was changed to Carsons Ltd in 1962. The Carsons brand had become well known as Britain’s largest producer of chocolate liqueurs, chocolates filled with some of the leading spirits, liqueur and fortified wine brands in the world.
Until 1961 liqueur chocolates could only be sold from licensed premises. This opening up of the market provided an opportunity.
Cavenham Foods, managed by James Goldsmith (1933 – 1997), gained control of Carsons in 1964.
Goldsmith immediately divested all the Carsons chocolate lines except for liqueur chocolates, the only sector of the market which was experiencing a growth in sales. The liqueur chocolate market was largely dominated by imported brands such as Lindt, Ringer, Rademaker and Trumpf.
Carsons held over 29 percent of the liqueur chocolate market by 1966. This was achieved with minimal advertising. Instead Carson’s benefited from the advertising campaigns of spirits brands that were inside their chocolates; names such as Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Hennessey brandy.
By 1966 Carsons liqueurs were being marketed under the Famous Names brand.
Elizabeth Shaw, an upmarket chocolate manufacturer, was acquired in 1968.
Carsons held over 40 percent of the chocolate liqueur market in Britain by the late 1970s.
Cavenham Confectionery was subject to a management buyout in 1981, and the company renamed itself Famous Names Ltd. It was acquired by Imperial Tobacco in 1985.
In 1988 management bought control of Famous Names Ltd, which was renamed Elizabeth Shaw Ltd. In 1990 Elizabeth Shaw Ltd was acquired by Leaf of Finland.
Elizabeth Shaw closed its outdated Greenbank factory in 2006. Production was relocated to factories across Britain and Europe.
Epps was the leading brand of cocoa in Victorian Britain.
James Epps (1821 – 1907) was the son of a Calvinist London merchant.
His brother, Dr John Epps (1805 – 1869), was one of the pioneers of homeopathy in Britain. He established premises at Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, and was joined by his brother James from 1837.
Epps’ cocoa was first sold from 1839 for the use of patients for whom tea and coffee were restricted. It was an instant cocoa powder, made by adding hot water or milk.
The almost prohibitive duty on cocoa was greatly reduced in 1832, allowing the market to grow exponentially. Easily prepared cocoa had been difficult to procure, and the fat in the raw material was unpalatable for many. Dr John Epps discovered a way to make it more appetising, mixing the cocoa with 20 percent West Indies arrowroot and 13 percent sugar.
Dr John Epps was not the first person to invent soluble cocoa powder, but James Epps was largely responsible for presenting the product to the mass market.
He heavily advertised Epps’ Cocoa, and by 1855 had coined a distinctive slogan, “grateful and comforting”.
Epps’ Cocoa was initially produced under contract by Daniel Dunn of Pentonville Road, who had invented instant cocoa powder in 1819.
Epps had established his own factory at 398 Euston Road, London by 1863. He installed his nephew, Hahnemann Epps (1843 – 1916), as manager.
A new steam-powered works was established at Holland Street, Blackfriars in 1878. Epps was the largest cocoa powder producer in Britain, with an output of nearly five million pounds a year. At its peak the firm processed half of all cocoa imports into Britain.
A short and slight man, James Epps kept a low public profile, unlike his gregarious brother John. He was known only for his work in business, and had few outside interests. He allowed his portrait to be taken only once, and not once did he grant an interview or issue a public statement. He was a hard worker, keen on a bargain, and somewhat of a control freak. Despite his massive wealth he lived in an unfashionable area of London.
The business was converted into a private joint stock limited company in 1893 known as James Epps & Co. The directors were James Epps, Hahnemann Epps and James Epps Jr (1856 – 1905), and the company had a capital of £200,000.
Epps’ Cocoa had been overtaken in sales by Dr Tibbles’ Vi-Cocoa and Rowntree by 1898.
James Epps Jr (also known as Willie James Epps), the only son of James Epps, died of a heart attack in Jamaica in 1905. His gross estate was valued at £162,422.
James Epps died in 1907 and his gross estate was valued at £735,387. This was a larger estate than contemporaries in the food industry such as Jeremiah James Colman (1830 – 1898), Alfred Bird (1849 – 1922) or James Horlick (1844 – 1921).
The estate was inherited by his nieces and nephews, principally James Washington Epps (1874 -1955). Hahnemann Epps became chairman and James W Epps became managing director of James Epps & Co.
Taylor Brothers Ltd, a London cocoa manufacturer, was acquired in 1907.
Epps’ Cocoa powder had been reformulated to include 44 percent sugar, 40 percent cocoa and 16 percent West Indies arrowroot by 1924.
James Epps & Co was acquired by Rowntree of York in 1926 for £70,000. The Epps factory was closed in 1930, and the manufacture of Epps products was transferred to Whitefields Ltd of Plaistow.
Frank Cooper’s is one of the best known marmalade brands in Britain.
Frank Cooper (1844 – 1927), owned a grocery business on 83-84 High Street, Oxford, formerly the premises of the Angel Hotel. His wife Sarah (1848 – 1932) filled the first jars of Frank Cooper marmalade in 1874, using a recipe from her mother.
Sarah Cooper continued to produce the marmalade in the kitchen of the Angel Hotel, Oxford, until she entered into retirement in 1899. Production was relocated to a purpose-built factory on Park End Street, Oxford in 1901.
The business was registered as Frank Cooper Ltd in 1913. The company had a Royal Warrant from the King by 1914.
Sarah Cooper died in 1932. In an obituary the Yorkshire Post described her as the founder of the company.
Frank Cooper Ltd employed about 100 people by 1938.
Production of the marmalade was relocated to Botley Road, Oxford, in the former premises of an ice rink, in 1947.
Secret agent James Bond consumes Frank Cooper’s marmalade in From Russia With Love (1957) by Ian Fleming.
One quarter of the company’s capital of £350,000 was offered to the public in 1961, it’s first public offering.
An eleven acre site was acquired at Wantage to provide additional production capacity in 1963. Around 15 percent of production was exported overseas by 1964.
Frank Cooper Ltd was acquired by Brown & Polson for £866,250 in cash in 1964. The company cited increasing costs and a lack of capital as its motivation for agreeing to the takeover.
Brown & Polson was able to afford Frank Cooper’s range of five marmalades and eleven jams and jellies wider distribution.
Frank Cooper production was relocated to the Brown & Polson factory in Paisley, Scotland in 1967.
Heinz acquired the Frank Cooper’s brand in 1997. By this time the product was manufactured at a site in Redditch, Worcestershire.
Frank Cooper’s was later acquired by Rank Hovis McDougall, a large British consumer foods group. RHM was acquired by Premier Foods in 2006. Premier sold its sweet spreads business to Hain Celestial in 2012.
This article continues from Part I. Part II chronicles the decline of Huntley & Palmer.
George Palmer (1818 – 1897), the driving force behind the firm, died in 1897 and the following year Huntley & Palmer was registered as a private limited company. The company had 4,000 employees in 1899.
Huntley & Palmer was the 38th largest British industrial company in 1905, with a capital of £2.4 million (c. £255 million in 2014). It had 6,500 employees.
Iced gems were introduced in 1910.
Huntley & Palmer, as late as 1910, largely eschewed advertising.
By 1911 the company had a regular staff of 7,000, not counting the additional workers taken on during peak times. That year, Huntley & Palmer was accused of dismissing without notice workers who were affiliated with trade unions, although company officials denied the accusation.
By 1914 almost half of production was exported, 50 percent of which was destined for the Far East and Africa.
The company supplied the British army with hard tack biscuits during the First World War.
The export trade was slow to rebuild after the First World War; in 1924 only 25 percent of output was exported. Meanwhile, domestic sales declined as H&P failed to introduce new products or update existing ones. Marketing was poor, with inadequate advertising, fewer salesman than other firms and no depots outside Reading.
It has been argued that Huntley & Palmer had too many product lines to produce efficiently, and that the Palmer family paid themselves overly generous dividends and salaries, funds which might otherwise have been reinvested into the business.
By 1920 Huntley & Palmer operated 24 acres of factories across 36 acres of floorspace. 90 percent of the thousands of tons of flour used annually was grown and milled in the area around Reading. The Osborne (similar to a digestive) was their most popular biscuit, followed by the Marie (rich tea) and the Ginger Nut.
High income tax and death duties persuaded H&P to merge with Peek Frean of Bermondsey, under a holding company called Associated Biscuit Manufacturers, in 1921. Individual production and marketing strategies were maintained by the two companies.
By neglecting the commodity category of the biscuit market, ABM’s domestic market share had declined to 15 percent.
William Howard Palmer died in 1923 with an estate valued at £536,794.
A factory was opened near Paris in 1923. At the time it was decried in Britain as the transfer of jobs overseas.
80 percent of the 6,000 strong workforce at the Reading factory went on strike in 1924. The dispute, regarding worker efficiency, was settled within three days after Huntley & Palmer agreed to recognise the worker’s union.
Peek Frean turnover and profits had exceeded those of Huntley & Palmer by 1927. Peek Frean installed automated biscuit plants in the early 1930s, but H&P did not do so until 1938.
ABM employed 7,245 people in 1935.
Two large rivals emerged: the value biscuit manufacturer George Weston had established production volumes that equalled ABM by 1938. In 1948 the Scottish firms McVitie & Price and MacFarlane Lang merged to form United Biscuits, with 3,350 employees.
Factories were opened in Canada, the United States and Australia in 1949. The Reading factory employed 3,000 people in 1954. A new factory was opened in Huyton, Liverpool in 1955.
The Cornish Wafer was H&P’s highest selling biscuit by 1954. Associated Biscuits concentrated on cream, savoury and assorted biscuits. Around 15 to 20 percent of production was exported in 1959.
Jacob’s, the third largest biscuit manufacturer in Britain, was acquired by ABM in 1960. ABM was reorganised as Associated Biscuits in 1969.
AB employed 9,856 people in 1972. From 1972 the company dedicated the vast majority of its advertising spend on the Jacob’s brand. One third of sales came from overseas, with factories in Australia, Canada and India.
Associated Biscuits had an 18 percent share of the British biscuit market by 1976. It was behind United Biscuits with 40 percent. The Reading factory was closed that year, and production was relocated to Liverpool.
In 1982 Associated Biscuits employed over 14,000 people in Britain, and 3,100 overseas.
Nabisco, the American manufacturer of Shredded Wheat and Ritz crackers, acquired Associated Biscuits in 1982. Nabisco was interested in the Huntley & Palmer brand, as well as its worldwide distribution network, particularly in Singapore, Canada, France and Germany.
The Huyton factory was closed in 1984 with the loss of 770 jobs, and production was relocated to Aintree, Liverpool.
Huntley & Palmer was positioned as the Associated Biscuits premium sweet biscuit brand. However it accounted for just five percent of company production by weight by 1988.
Nabisco did not successfully manage their British biscuit operations. Their market share in biscuits declined to 11.7 percent by 1988, and they were forced to reverse their decision to discontinue production of Bath Oliver biscuits following popular protest.
The Peek Frean factory at Bermondsey was closed in 1989 with the loss of 1,022 jobs. The site was closed due to high overheads and traffic congestion. Production was transferred to Aintree and Leicestershire.
Associated Biscuits was acquired by BSN of France in 1989.
The Huntley & Palmer brand was phased out in favour of the Jacob’s name in 1990. It made sense to concentrate resources behind a single brand, and the Jacob’s name was better known, and believed to have a more contemporary image than the Huntley & Palmer brand. Huntley & Palmer products subjected to a re-branding included Romany and Crumbles.
The head office was relocated from Reading to Liverpool in 1996.
BSN (now called Danone) sold its UK and Irish biscuit operations to United Biscuits for £200 million in 2004.
Former Huntley & Palmer products such as Lemon Puffs and Cornish Wafers are still sold under the Jacob’s brand, and Thin Arrowroots under the McVitie’s name.
R S Murray & Co introduced American style caramels to Britain, and is best known for Murray Mints.
Robert Stuart Murray (1854 – 1912), a confectionery salesman from Chicago, Illinois, found a ready sale for his American style caramels, made from milk or cream and sugar, in Victorian England.
Strong demand for the imported caramels saw Murray establish a factory at 67 Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell, London in 1882. He was joined in partnership by Charles Hubbard and Walter Michael Price (1826 – 1919).
£8,000 worth of caramel producing machinery was imported from America. The factory employed 300 workers, and five to six tons of confectionery were produced on a daily basis.
R S Murray & Co was registered as a limited company with a capital of £50,000 in 1900.
The company had diversified into chocolate manufacturing by 1906.
There was a strike at R S Murray & Co in 1911. The largely female strikers were supported by the women’s’ rights campaigner Mary Macarthur (1880 – 1921).
Robert Stuart Murray died in 1912 with an estate valued at £22,844. Herbert John Norton (1874 – 1958) was nominated managing director.
The works covered over three acres by 1914, and a staff of 1,500 to 2,000 was employed.
After the First World War, Norton was nominated chairman.
A chocolate manufacturing subsidiary was established in Australia in 1920, located at De Carle Street, East Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne.
A manufacturing presence was established in Ireland as a joint venture called Clarnico Murray from 1926.
The Australian factory employed over 300 people by 1931. Rowntree of York and Murray merged their Australian interests into a joint venture from 1934.
Hayward’s is the leading pickled vegetable brand in Britain.
Robert Hayward (born 1847) was born in Lambeth, London. He was a dedicated Baptist. Hayward established his pickle manufacturing business at Montford Place, Kennington, in 1869. He initially distributed his wares with a single horse and cart.
Hayward Brothers was established in 1880 when Robert was joined by his brother Henry (1852 – 1925). Three men and five boys were employed at the firm by 1881.
Two nephews of Robert Hayward; George Charles Hayward (died 1931) and Joseph Robert Hayward (1870 – 1933), established a subsidiary at Christchurch, New Zealand in 1890. They sold pickles and sauces under the Flag Brand name. By 1896 it was the largest pickle company in New Zealand with over 50 employees, and exports had commenced to Australia. Factory floor space covered 21,000 square feet by 1903. Hayward Brothers operated the largest malt vinegar brewery in New Zealand by 1908.
A large three storey storehouse on Bowden Street, Kennington, was destroyed by fire in 1895.
Hayward Brothers was incorporated as a limited company in 1898.
The Kennington factory was extended in 1907.
200,000 bottles of Haywards Military Pickle were sold in London in 1905. By this time it was the company’s leading product line. By 1911 it was the highest selling pickle in Britain.
In 1914 Robert Hayward was chairman, and his fellow directors were his brother Henry Hayward, and his two sons, George Joy Hayward (1873 – 1953) and Frank Tresidder Hayward (1876 – 1960).
When Henry Hayward died in 1925 he left an estate valued at £28,719.
A V-1 flying bomb caused significant damage to the factory in 1944.
George J Hayward died in 1953 with an estate valued at £16,384.
Edward Manwaring Ltd acquired the Haywards pickles trademark in 1956. They relocated production to their factory on the Bird in Bush Road, London. The Montford Place factory became the production site for Beefeater London Dry Gin in 1958.
Hayward’s Food Products was acquired by the Melbray Group for £473,000 in 1963. The Manwaring family remained the largest shareholders.
In 1964 Melbray acquired Harry Peck & Co, a canned meat concern, and merged it with Haywards to form Hayward-Peck. Peck’s products were canned tongue, and meat and fish pastes, including own-label produce for Harrod’s.
Hayward-Peck had been mainly based in the South East of England, but a national distribution network was established from 1964.
A new pickle factory was opened at Bury St Edmunds in 1978. The company employed 150 people by 1989.
Haywards Pickles was sold to Hillsdown Holdings (later Premier Foods) in 1989 for an undisclosed price. Haywards was the market leader in the sour pickle market, with a 14 percent share and an annual turnover of around £10 million.
Hayward’s main products were sweet, sour and mixed pickles in 1996. The company employed 120 people and had an annual turnover of around £10 million. Haywards sweet Military Pickle was still available as late as 1997, but has since been discontinued.
Premier Foods sold its vinegar and sour pickles business, including Hayward’s, to Mizkan of Japan for £41 million in 2012.
As of 2016, Haywards vegetables in vinegar are produced at Middleton, Manchester, and Hayward’s pickles are manufactured at Bury St Edmunds.
Edward Manwaring (1842 – 1884) was born in Burwash, Sussex, the son of an innkeeper. He served an apprenticeship with a grocer who dealt in imported foodstuffs.
Manwaring established his own pickles business on Old Kent Road, London in May 1863. He was aided by a £100 loan from the Samuel Wilson Trust. By 1871 he employed eight men and five boys in Camberwell.
Edward Manwaring (1866 – 1931) was born in Camberwell, London. Following the death of his father in 1884 he took over the business.
Edward Manwaring was chairman and managing director of the company until his death in 1931. His estate was valued at £51,431.
Edward Manwaring Limited acquired the Haywards pickles brand in 1956. The company renamed itself Haywards Food Products.
The business was managed by great grandsons of the founder, Edward and Stuart Wade, by the 1960s.
Haywards Food Products was acquired by Melbray Food Group in 1963 for £450,000.
Pearce Duff is the leading blancmange powder brand in Britain.
The firm was established by William Pearce and William Henry Duff (1793 – 1874), a Hampshire-born cook, in 1847. Initially the business was operated from a private home. Baking powder and egg substitute powder were the first products.
Pearce Duff were advertising their wares by 1866. By this time the firm was based at 42 Long Lane, Borough, London.
Control of the firm had passed to George Pearce and Daniel Duff (1837 – 1917) by 1884.
The business was relocated to Rouel Road, Bermondsey on the former premises of Young & Co, a glue manufacturer, from 1890.
In 1914 the partners were Daniel Duff, Mrs Elizabeth Jane Duff (born 1870), Daniel Duff Jr (1879 – 1953), James Thomas Hosking (1856 – 1922) and Leslie George Cockhead (1861 – 1947). Nearly 500 people were employed at Rouel Road factory, which spanned five storeys.
Elizabeth Jane Duff was the granddaughter of William Pearce.
J T Hosking retired from the partnership in 1916.
Daniel Duff died in 1917 with an estate valued at £65,091.
Pearce Duff & Co had been registered as a private limited company by 1937.
Daniel Duff Jr was managing director of Pearce Duff & Co by 1939.
L G Cockhead died in 1947 with an estate valued at £90,327. His nurse, with whom he was romantically involved, was granted an inheritance of £20,000.
Daniel Duff Jr died in 1953 with an estate valued at £165,026.
Mechanisation and automation of the factory was completed in the mid 1950s. A fully-automated plant for manufacturing custard powder was installed in 1957. Products were exported to 77 countries.
The business remained family-owned, and in the late 1950s four members of the Duff family sat on the board of directors.
H G Green & Co Ltd of Brighton, manufacturer of cake mixes and George Borwick baking powder, proposed a merger in 1961. However the amalgamation was abandoned following insufficient shareholder support.
Nearly 30 percent of production was exported by 1962.
A factory was acquired at Annan, Dumfriesshire to manufacture jellies in 1965.
Hugh Bidwell (1934 -2013) became managing director of Pearce & Duff in 1970, and was chairman from 1971.
Marela Ltd was acquired from W R Grace of New York in 1973. Marela manufactured pickles and Fardon’s sauces and vinegar. In return, W R Grace and Barings Bank took a 40 percent stake in Pearce Duff. The acquisition gave Pearce Duff an annual turnover of around £4.5 million.
The Bermondsey and Annan factories were closed in 1974, and production was relocated to a new factory at Dunstable, near Luton. 50 jobs were relocated to the new location, but 250 jobs were lost. The Dunstable site employed 250 people.
Pearce Duff won a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1979.
James Ashby & Sons, tea and coffee importers of London, was acquired in 1983. The purchase took Pearce Duff annual turnover to over £16 million.
Hugh Bidwell and Sir Kenneth Cork had acquired the majority of Pearce Duff when it was sold to Gill & Duffus, the largest cocoa trader in the world, for £4 million in 1984.
Dalgety acquired Gill & Duffus the following year. Dalgety merged Pearce Duff with its own Spillers Homepride division.
Dalgety sold its food ingredients business, including Pearce Duff, to Kerry Group of Ireland in 1998.
Pearce Duff blancmange powder is manufactured in Rotherham, Yorkshire, and as of 2006 sells 700,000 units a year, worth £0.5 million in retail sales.
Pearce Duff custard powder is also sold in Pakistan and Spain.
Pearce Duff is the leading brand of baking powder in West Africa and the Middle East.
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.
His 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 moved to 18 Aldermanbury, London in 1844 to work as a wholesale agent selling Hudson’s washing and bleaching powder as well as his new baking powder.
“Borwick’s German Baking Powder” received a recommendation from the private baker to Queen Victoria in 1849.
Between 1850 and 1852 the firm was trading as Borwick & Priestley, wholesale druggists and drysalters of 24 and 25 London Wall, London.
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 in 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. By 1870 they were partners, and the firm traded as George Borwick & Sons.
In 1870 the firm was awarded a Royal Warrant for baking powder from the Queen of the Netherlands.
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 H Borwick was knighted in 1902.
George Borwick & Sons was registered as a limited liability company in 1902 with a capital of £100,000.
Joseph C Borwick died in 1913 with property valued at £159,419.
Robert H 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.