Colman's

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Colman's
Buckinghamshire Railway Colmans advert.jpg
An old Colman's advert at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
Product type Mustard
Owner Unilever
Country United Kingdom
Introduced 1814
Previous owners Reckitt Benckiser

Colman's is a British manufacturer of mustard and various other sauces, based at Carrow, in Norwich, Norfolk. Presently an operational division of the multinational Unilever company, Colman's is one of the oldest existing food brands, famous for a limited range of products, almost all varieties of mustard.

History[edit]

Jeremiah Colman began making mustard at a water mill near Norwich in the village of Bawburgh. To create a tangy flavour, he blended brown mustard (Brassica juncea) with white mustard (Sinapis alba).

Stoke Holy Cross Mill was the home of Colman's mustard from 1814 to 1862

Jeremiah founded Colman's of Norwich in 1814, at the Stoke Holy Cross mill on the River Tas, four miles south of Norwich.[1] In 1823 he took his adopted nephew, James, into the business which became J. & J. Colman.[1]

In 1851 J.J. Colman took over the business.[1] By 1865 production had transferred to a large factory at Carrow on land bought from the Norfolk Railway to the south of Norwich,[1] where the firm still operates today.

From 1855 the firm introduced its distinctive yellow packaging and bull's head logo, and in 1866 was granted the Royal Warrant as manufacturers of mustard to Queen Victoria.[1] Her Majesty’s household still uses Colman’s today.

The Colman family's pioneering achievements in social welfare are part of Norwich's history. In 1857 a school was opened for the employees' children,[1] while in 1864 the firm employed a nurse to help sick members of staff - a social revolution at the time.[1]

From 1896 Sir Jeremiah Colman became Chairman:[2] in 1903, under his leadership, the firm took over rival mustard maker Keen Robinson & Company (makers of Keen's Mustard),[1] through which it also acquired the Robinsons Lemon Barley Water brand and baby food business. In 1938 it merged with Reckitts to form the Reckitt & Colman household products conglomerate (now Reckitt Benckiser).[1]

From 1997 to 2001, Colman's were the main sponsors of Norwich City F.C..

The Colman's part of the business was demerged in 1995 and Colman's became part of Unilever UK Ltd.[1] As well as mustard, it applies its name to condiments, sauces and other foodstuffs. Unilever engaged in aggressive cost-cutting, getting rid of the agronomy department, which had looked after plant breeding and seed development. [3]

Colman's is one of the British icon brands sold around the world through network of distributors managed by Unilever International based in Leatherhead, UK. and Singapore.

Colman's maintains links with Norwich. The founding family are commemorated in street names such as Colman Road (part of the A140 inner ring road), on which is situated Colman's First and Middle Schools. In addition, the Colman House residence at the University of East Anglia is named after the company and Jeremiah Colman.

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum[edit]

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum in the Royal Arcade, Norwich UK.
Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum in The Royal Arcade, Norwich UK.
Schools' display cabinet showing ingredients for Colman's manufacture. Produced between 1900—1939. On display in Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum.

Since 1973, The Mustard Shop has been trading in Norwich, offering exclusive Colman's products to local customers and visitors to the city. The shop was originally opened in Bridewell Alley, to mark the 150th anniversary of Jeremiah Colman taking his nephew James into partnership,[1] and has since become "one of the city's most popular heritage attractions, cherished by local people and visitors alike."[4]

In 1999, the shop was relocated to Norwich's art nouveau Royal Arcade, where it is currently. The shop in the Royal Arcade is a careful replica of a Victorian era trade premises, and features displays illustrating the history of mustard production in the city, as well as classic Colman's advertisements and memorabilia.

Less than a decade after opening here, owners Unilever UK & Ireland decided to cease trading at the shop. Norwich Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust took over the shop in 2009, making it both a retail operation and tourism attraction.[5]

Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum launched an e-commerce online shop in 2011.

Publicity[edit]

In the 1920s Dorothy L. Sayers worked on their account and media slogans such as "Come on Colman's, light my fire" appeared in the late 20th century. Sayers was employed by S. H. Benson, her collaboration with artist John Gilroy resulted in "The Mustard Club" for Colman's Mustard.[6]

Product range (21st century)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Colman's History
  2. ^ Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
  3. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/19370526
  4. ^ "Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum - Visit Norfolk - E&A Details". Visit Norfolk. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  5. ^ http://www.heritagecity.org/user_files/downloads/heart_annualreport_art-final.pdf
  6. ^ Barbara Reynolds. Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul. NY: St Martin's Griffin, 1997. P. 164-165
  7. ^ "Food & Drink, Our Exclusive Mustards". Mustardshopnorwich.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 

External links[edit]