H. Forman and Son

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H. Forman & Son
Industry Food
Founder Harry (Aaron) Forman
Headquarters London, E3
United Kingdom
Products London Cure Smoked Salmon, smoked fish, cured fish
Website www.formans.co.uk

H. Forman & Son is an artisan salmon smokehouse, located in London's East End on Fish Island, Hackney Wick. It is Britain’s oldest original salmon curer and one of the world’s oldest existing producers of smoked salmon.[1]


Early years[edit]

Harry (Aaron) Forman arrived in east London from Odessa at the beginning of the 20th century. He pursued his trade of curing fish by importing salmon in barrels of brine from the Baltic. On discovering fresh Scottish salmon arriving in London at Billingsgate Fish Market, he developed the London Cure.[2]

Harry Forman started the business in Stepney, London. Harry’s son Louis Forman took over the business and continued to run it into the 1960s after his father’s death. He relocated the business to Ridley Road and Marcel Forman superseded him.[3]

Recent history[edit]

Fourth-generation Forman owner Lance Forman joined the business in 1994.[4] He oversaw the company doubling in size in 1996, when it expanded into a neighboring property in Queen's Yard. The new and expanded factory suffered 60% damage from a fire in 1998 and the company continued to operate while rebuilding the premises.[5] In October 2000, the newly refurbished factory was flooded under 3 ft of water when the nearby river River Lea overflowed. The company relocated the factory to Marshgate Lane, Stratford, completing the move in 2002.[6]

2012 London Olympics compulsory purchase order[edit]

H. Forman & Son Headquarters, Fish Island, Hackney Wick, August 2015

In 2003, H. Forman & Son learned of London’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. The company would have to relocate following a Compulsory Purchase Order.[7] Forman’s newly refurbished factory was located on land that was proposed to become the running track of the Olympic Stadium.[8] This relocation was confirmed in July 2005 when London won the bid to host the 2012 Summer games.[9]

Lance Forman founded the Marshgate Lane Business Group, which worked to ensure that 284 businesses facing relocation were fairly treated during the compulsory purchase process.[10] H. Forman & Son was given two years to relocate the business by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).[11] A deal was struck with the authorities in 2006 when Lance Forman was asked by the ODA to withdraw from cross-examining the LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe at a Land Tribunal court hearing.[5]

In the same year, the business identified a new site on Fish Island, Hackney Wick.[12] New premises were designed by Jones East 8 architects[13] to resemble the shape of a darne of salmon, in pink.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, officially opened the finished smokehouse in 2009.[14] The company's headquarters is the closest building (100m distant) to the stadium outside of the Olympic Park.[6]

The premises includes the H. Forman & Son smokehouse and head office, Forman’s London restaurant,[15] Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery and the Forman’s Fish Island venue.[16]

The London Cure[edit]

The London Cure is H. Forman & Son’s trademark smoking process; it is a dry-curing process using only salt, no sugar, followed by a cold-smoking procedure using limited and controlled quantities of smoke, now produced by friction-burning oak logs.[17] The fish is cured, carved, filleted and packaged by hand, following methods introduced by Harry Forman since 1905.[18]

The Forman businesses[edit]

View from Forman's Fish Island Rooftop Terrace
Forman's London Restaurant

H. Forman & Son is also a parent company for four businesses which share its headquarters: Forman & Field, Forman's London restaurant, Forman's Fish Island and Forman's Smokehouse Gallery.[19]

  • Forman & Field was established in 2002. It is the online retail based arm of H. Forman & Son, specialising in British food which are made to order and sourced from small British producers, and selling H. Forman & Son's fish produce.
  • Forman's London Restaurant, serves H. Forman & Son smoked fish alongside bespoke British dishes created by Executive Chef Lloyd Hardwick and a selection of British drinks.[20] The restaurant hosted the BBC Celebrity MasterChef semi-finals in 2012.[21]
  • Forman’s Fish Island is an events venue which has the capacity for up to 1,000 people and includes a large events space overlooking the Olympic Park (also used as Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery) and a rooftop terrace.[22]
  • H. Forman and Son’s Smokehouse Gallery exhibits a variety of artists every year.[19] (Hackney Wick is home to the highest concentration of creative practitioners and artist studios in Europe.)[23]

Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, Lance Forman purchased land adjacent to the headquarters to make way for the temporary Fish Island Riviera venue, which saw corporate parties and the public visiting the Olympics visiting during the course of the games.[24]

In 2013, the brand expanded into the US market through Formans USA.


  1. ^ "'Scottish Salmon - a worldwide success story'". Gov.uk. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Victoria Prever, "Sharing stories of their lives in fish",The Jewish Chronicle Online, February 20, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Spitalfields Life, “At H. Forman & Son, Salmon Smokers”, Spitalfields Life, August 4, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2015
  4. ^ Liz Loxton, "You Shall Have a Fishy", Economia, January 30, 20130. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Else Kvist "Salmon Business on Fish Island is first winner of London Olympics despite ‘disaster’", The Docklands & East London Advertiser, April 27, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Gabriella Griffith "One Year On: ‘They may as well have built the Olympic Park on the Moon ", Management Today, July 29, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Businesses pen IOC protest letter". BBC News. May 5, 2005. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Up in smoke: The firm that lost out in the Olympics", The Independent, October 06, 2005. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "London beats Paris to 2012 Games". BBC News. July 6, 2005. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ Caroline Smith, "Background Paper on the London 2012 Olympics", Games Monitor, November 2011, p.25. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Rick Pendrous (August 15, 2005). "London's Olympics threatens Britain's oldest salmon smokery". Food Manufacture.co.uk. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Fish Factory Saved". BBC News. December 27, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Design Experience". Jones East 8. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Rick Pendrous (January 24, 2009), "Johnson opens new H. Forman & Son site", The Grocer, retrieved June 19, 2015 
  15. ^ Matthew Beard (January 28, 2009). "Smoked Salmon with views of the Olympics". Evening Standard. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ Candice Krieger, "Meet the East Enders Cashing in on the Olympics: Forman’s Fish Island and Go London Tours", The Jewish Chronicle Online, July 19, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  17. ^ Green, Aliza (Jan 1, 2011). The Fishmonger’s Apprentice. Quarry Books. p. 74. ISBN 1610594703. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ Chris Osburn, "Delicious East End Traditions on Fish Island", Great British Chefs, January 22, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Oughton, Jack. "QA – Lance Foreman [Forman & Field]". Tasting Britain. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Sexton, David. "Olympic hope for an old Eastender's restaurant". Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Fletcher, Alex. "'Celeb MasterChef' final three revealed". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Griffith, Gabriella. "ONE YEAR ON: 'They may as well have built the Olympic Park on the moon'". Management Today. 
  23. ^ "About Hackney Wick". Hackney Wick.org. Archived from the original on 2015-07-23. 
  24. ^ "Forman's Fish Island Riviera". Time Out.