Monday, 12 October 2009

Brand identity

38 years ago when I worked for the National Westminster Bank at their staff training college at Heythrop Hall in Oxfordshire I said something about “Worcester Sauce”. Fellow-tutor David R. Poole immediately corrected me. “It’s Worcestershire Sauce”. He, being from Worcestershire knew what he was talking about!


The very name “Worcestershire Sauce” is eponymous with “Lea and Perrins”.

I opened a new bottle of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce this evening to add a bit of zest to some stir-fry. Of course the bottle was clad in that familiar brown paper wrapper.

I read the fine print. The product was created in Worcester U.K. in 1835. It was being exported by 1837. In New York City it became the special ingredient in “Bloody Mary” drinks.

The Lea and Perrins firm is now owned by H.J. Heinz. There are two varieties.

American made sauce uses high fructose corn syrup and white vinegar.

English made sauce uses sugar and malt vinegar.



(Send me some English made immediately. It’s available in Canada.)


Both versions use anchovies.

Lea and Perrins claim that their sauce is healthier than soy sauce.


There is an urban myth in England that former Premier Harold Wilson loved “H.P.” sauce. The “H.P.” sauce people made much of this in their advertising. It transpires that in fact his favourite sauce was “Worcestershire”.


Back to Heythrop Hall.


It was completed circa 1718 for Charles Talbot, the first Duke of Shrewsbury.

After a later fire it was rebuilt and acquired by the Brassey family in 1871.

From 1926-1969 it was a Jesuit College.

The National Westminster Bank bought it from the Jesuits in 1969 and it became the Bank’s staff training college. (That’s why I worked there as a residential staff tutor).

Nat West sold Heythrop Hall in 1969 and it is now a very fancy Hotel and Country Club.


Here is a photo' of Heythrop Hall. Just to think - I lived and worked there!



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