Henderson's Relish, known locally as Hendo's, 'Hendies' 'Enderson's or simply "Relish", is a spicy and fruity condiment, similar in appearance to Worcestershire sauce, but as it contains no anchovies, it is vegan. It is essentially made of water, sugar and spirit vinegar with a selection of spices and colouring. Some adherents favour it due to its unique taste, its acceptability to vegetarians and vegans, and some out of regional loyalty.
It was Henry Henderson who first began manufacturing his own special type of sauce back in the latter part of the 19th century. Originally manufactured at 35 Broad Lane in Sheffield, Henderson’s Relish is still being made and was in uninterrupted production within half a mile of the site from which the first bottle was filled until the move to a new food production factory in 2013. The company was bought by Shaws of Huddersfield in 1910 who, incidentally, still supply Hendersons with vinegar. In 1940 Charles Hinksman formed the present company of Hendersons (Sheffield) Ltd., the control of which has remained with the family. Kenneth Freeman, the nephew of the late Charles Hinksman, became the Managing Director and Chairman in 1991 and has overseen many important changes in the company’s profile.
As for many similar sauces, it has a base of spirit vinegar, coloured with caramel and sweetened. Its flavour is derived from tamarind,[note 1] cayenne pepper and garlic oil. A spice that distinguishes Henderson's from other English sauces is its use of cloves.
According to Henderson's, famous fans of the condiment include Sheffield-born celebrities Sean Bean, Peter Stringfellow and Def Leppard's Rick Savage. David Blunkett also used it when he cooked shepherd's pie on The F Word TV cookery programme.
In 1993, two special-edition labels were produced to celebrate the FA Cup semi-final. Sheffield's two league clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, both then in the Premier League, contested the match at Wembley. The bottles were produced with labels in both red and white stripes (United's colours) and blue and white stripes (Wednesday's colours). These labels are still available in the respective club's shops.
The singer/songwriter Richard Hawley used specially-labelled bottles of Henderson's Relish to promote his 2005 album 'Coles Corner'. Also on his 2007 autumn tour, special bottles of the relish were available to promote current album Lady's Bridge. The bottles of relish cost £1.50, with fans generally having to purchase them after the show, due to glass bottles being banned from most auditoriums.
Henderson's Relish has been an inspiration to several Sheffield artists who have produced pieces about the product. Artists such as Pete McKee, Kid Acne and Jim Connolly have all released prints offering their own unique take on the cult relish.
It can be found in local fish and chip shops and almost every supermarket and grocers in the city, yet is almost unavailable anywhere outside South Yorkshire (although it can now be ordered online in multiples of a litre).
The company has made little effort to market outside Yorkshire, instead preferring to encourage a loyal following nationally through this sense of exclusivity. Although often available throughout the UK, this has been due to the efforts of individual shops, and loyal Yorkshiremen smugglers, to obtain small quantities for their local clientele.
Knowledge of Hendo's is so limited outside Yorkshire that Lewisham MP Jim Dowd misunderstood it as a copy of the anchovy-based Lea and Perrins and described it as "parasitic packaging" in an attempt to pass off one sauce as another, during a parliamentary debate on the Intellectual Property Bill. He had encountered the sauce at a pub in Blackheath, the Hare and Billet, also far outside the usual Hendo's region. Later, he was corrected by comments from Sheffield MPs Paul Blomfield and Nick Clegg. Dowd later toured the Henderson's factory in a peace-making gesture.
After starting life in Sheffield over one hundred years ago, until 2013 the spicy condiment Henderson's Relish was in uninterrupted production within half a mile of the original site on Broad Lane from which the first bottle was filled. The Henderson's factory was located adjacent to the 'University' Supertram stop, on Leavygreave Road until mid-2013. In September 2008, the sign that had adorned the side of the historic Henderson's Relish building was stolen, and shortly afterwards was placed for sale on a local Sheffield blog. In 2013, the manufacturer moved into a new home at J.F. Finnegan's 58 acre Sheffield Parkway Business Park, a double hybrid unit 2A/B comprising around 5,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art food production space including offices and warehouse facilities on Site 5 of Sheffield Parkway Business Park to ensure it has the best, modern facilities to meet the increasing levels of demand for the popular product.
- Tamarind is also a major flavour note in another popular English sauce, HP Sauce
- David Blunkett's Shepherd's Pie – Gordon Ramsay on YouTube
- "Where to buy". Hendersons Relish. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Jessica Ennis commemorative bottle
- "Own brands 'parasitic' says MP". 21 January 2014.
- "Daily Hansard – debate". Hansard: Column 56. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "Nick Clegg speaks out in defence of Sheffield's Henderson's Relish". 21 January 2014.
- Molly Lynch (18 February 2014). "‘Hendogate’: MP shows a lot of bottle". The Star.
- Something to relish ... missing half of sign for sale for 50p