Plenty of bottle: Fletcher’s Sauce of Selby

Fletcher’s was best known for its Tit-Bits and Tiger bottled sauces. Fletchers sauce was sold in Britain into the 1990s.

J P Fletcher establishes the business
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.

Fletcher’s (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.

Fletcher’s is acquired by HP Sauce
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 died in 1960 and left an estate valued at £93,324.

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.

The Selby pickle factory as of 2006

Tiger Sauce and Tit-Bits 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.


18 thoughts on “Plenty of bottle: Fletcher’s Sauce of Selby”

  1. I so dream of the days when Tiger was in the cupboard in plentiful supply. Can we get someone to produce it once more. The kids today don’t know what they ar missing.

    1. Hi Keith can you tell me a little bit about what Tiger Sauce tasted like, where was it sold, and when did you last see it?

      Cheers, Tom

  2. Hi,
    It was not as strong as HP and a sweeter taste, I think I write to the company when I couldn’t get it anymore and I believe they said that it was marketed as Chop-Sauce. This is nothing like Tiger.
    I know so many people that would buy this sauce for the memory and that’s not counting on the new customers.
    One of my fathers friends used to call me Tiger and did so up to him passing. It’s still used by some of my family.

    1. Thanks Keith very interesting. Do you remember when you last bought Tiger Sauce? I’m keen to establish when it was discontinued. Cheers, Tom

      1. When all the major supermarkets stopped selling tiger sauce i stumbled across a back street corner shop/off license in Salford & I bought the remaining 6 bottles [ they did`nt last long ] so i wrote to i think it was H.P.asking what’s happened to the best sauce in the world & all i got back was We,ve stopped production due to poor demand. I could,nt believe what i’d Been told . The nearest taste i’ve found to tiger is Daddy’s i think production ceased around 1986

  3. I find Branston rich and fruity to be the nearest but what I find strange is I can’t find an image for the Tiger Sauce from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

  4. Hello Keith,

    This is a fascinating site! Was there any relation between Tit-Bits Sauce and the famous Victorian magazine of the same name? Cheers, Stephen

  5. I moved from Shipley to the south of England in 1970, and I had totally forgotten Tiger Sauce – until we were visiting the Welsh National Museum of History at St Fagans, and I saw two bottles on a shelf in an old shop. I recognised the label immediately, and subsequently found this interesting website. If you email me, I could send you a photo that I took.
    I had not realised that Tiger Sauce was a regional product. I was surprised that there is no mention on the website of one regional sauce that is still going strong in South Yorkshire – Henderson’s Relish, manufactured in Sheffield since 1885.

  6. Glad I am not the only one to remember Tiger sauce. I moved down south in 1980 but used to stock up everytime I went back to Hull. My last bottles came from Swansea which a friend kindly brought back from their holiday. Since the sauce seemed to sell out so quickly I am surprised the manufacturer says there was no demand.

  7. Hi Tom
    I have a great photo I’d like to share with you for this page, of my Victorian Fletchers Tiger Special Indian Sauce bottle with its original label, that I’ve had in my collection for many years now. What is your email address?


  8. My wife took a bottle on every holiday we went on. There may be bottles in Kenya, Egypt and Spain etc.
    She was devastated when they stopped selling it and no other brown sauce would do.
    Just recently she has started using “Aldi’s” which will never replace “Tiger” but it will do Just.
    Put both of us down for the revolution.

  9. We have lived in this house (near Witney, Oxfordshire ) since August 1977 and I’ve never known anything about Fletchers Sauces. Yesterday our young puppy appeared in the kitchen with a bottle that she had dug up in the garden and when I washed it up and cleaned it out I came across the name on the side, and here I am! It isn’t a very big bottle and can’t have lasted very long. It seems that years ago the people who lived in these farm cottages didn’t have rubbish collections and threw bottles and cans down the bottom of the garden. We don’t often come across a whole bottle though, but maybe we are about to as this is the second whole bottle to have been brought in by the dog in a week!

Leave a Reply

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