The story of how HP sauce was invented in a Nottingham back garden

Workers and supporters from Birmingham's HP Sauce company march outside the factory against closure on June 3, 2006,Workers and supporters from Birmingham's HP Sauce company march outside the factory against closure on June 3, 2006,
Workers and supporters from Birmingham's HP Sauce company march outside the factory against closure on June 3, 2006, | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The iconic brown savoury sauce has been a mainstay in UK households for 129 years, but did you know it was invented in Nottingham?

Here in the UK certain foodstuffs have become a mainstay in our kitchens over the decades. 

You know, the ones we all miss the most when we’re on holiday abroad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For many of us these include, but are by no means limited to, PG Tips, Heinz Baked Beans and Walkers crisps. 

READ MORE: Your Nottingham

It’s also fair to throw HP Sauce into that bracket (or Heinz Tomato Ketchup, if that’s more your thing). 

For the millions of traditional English breakfast fans across the country, the delicacy wouldn’t be complete without a good dollop of HP sauce on their plate. 

The iconic brown savoury sauce is consumed by millions of us every year, but did you know that it was invented right here in Nottingham

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Are you a HP sauce or Heinz Ketchup person? Are you a HP sauce or Heinz Ketchup person?
Are you a HP sauce or Heinz Ketchup person? | James Petts / Wikimedia Commons

In the 1890s, grocer Frederick Gibson Garton had a small shop in Milton Street, where he sold many of the basic provisions people living at the time relied upon. 

It’s thought that Garton was given a recipe for brown sauce by one of his suppliers who had recently returned from India, although there is no documentation to prove this. 

Its ingredients were vinegar, water, tomato puree, garlic, tamarind, ground mace, cloves and ginger, shallots, cayenne pepper, raisins, soy, and flour.

Garton then refined and developed the recipe at the pickling factory behind his house, at 47 Sandon Street in Basford. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Garton registered the name HP Sauce in 1895, choosing it because he had heard a rumour that a restaurant in the Houses of Parliament had begun serving the condiment.

Four years later, Garton was unable to settle a debt with his vinegar suppliers, the Midland Vinegar Company of Aston Cross, Birmingham. 

Sadly for Garton, he was forced to hand over the name and recipe of HP Sauce for just £150. 

Want to keep up to date with the latest features, lifestyle and food and drink news from across Nottingham? Then sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter, with this week's hot headlines straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.