Brooke Bond & Company was founded by Arthur Brooke who was born at 6 George Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England in 1845. He opened his first tea shop in 1869 at 23 Market Street, Manchester. Arthur Brooke chose the name because it was his 'bond' to customers to provide a quality tea, hence Brooke Bond. The firm expanded into wholesale tea sales in the 1870s.
The company opened a packing factory in Goulston Street, Stepney, London in 1911.
Brooke Bond's most famous brand is PG Tips, launched in 1930. By 1957, Brooke Bond was probably the largest tea company in the world, with one third share of both the British and Indian tea markets.
The company merged with Liebig in 1968, becoming Brooke Bond Liebig, which was acquired by Unilever in 1984. The Brooke Bond name has since been significantly decreased by Unilever, however it is possible to still buy boxes of 'Brooke Bond Tea Co' tea in the UK, but not in supermarkets. Gold Crown Foods Ltd is licensed by Unilever to use the Brooke Bond name for the Brooke Bond 'D' and Brooke Bond Choicest brands. The Brooke Bond brand is still used in other countries, especially in India. In Pakistan, Brooke Bond Supreme is the number-one-selling tea brand. Unilever markets it as being stronger than its Lipton Yellow Label blend.
In the 1950s and 1960s, packets of Brooke Bond tea included illustrated cards, usually 50 in a series, which were collected by many children. One of the most famous illustrators of the cards was Charles Tunnicliffe, the internationally acclaimed bird painter. Most of the initial series were wildlife-based, including 'British Wild Animals', 'British Wild Flowers', 'African Wild Life', 'Asian Wild Life', and 'Tropical Birds'. From the late 1960s, they included historical subjects, such as 'British Costume', 'History of the Motor Car', and 'Famous Britons'. Complete sets and albums in good condition are highly sought-after collectors' items. The inclusion of these cards in packets of tea ceased in 1999. There were well over 200 series issued and many of them have since been reprinted.
- "History of PG Tips". English Tea Store. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Stepney Borough Guide, 1960, p62
- "PG Tips: A Manchester brew". BBC. March 1, 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "Global Tea & Commodities Ltd". Globaltea.com. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
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