Henderson's Relish

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A bottle of Henderson's Relish

Henderson's Relish is a spicy and fruity condiment, produced in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is similar in appearance to Worcestershire sauce, but contains no anchovies. It is made of water, sugar and spirit vinegar with a selection of spices and colouring. It is gluten free, suitable for vegans and is approved by the Vegetarian Society.[1]

Henry Henderson began manufacturing sauce 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 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.

It is widely known in Sheffield as "Hendo's".


Like many similar sauces, Henderson's has a base of spirit vinegar, coloured with caramel and sweetened with sugar and saccharin. Its flavour is derived from tamarind,[i] cayenne pepper and garlic oil. A spice that distinguishes Henderson's from other English sauces is its use of cloves.

It is distinguished from other sauces, in that it does not use anchovies as an ingredient.[1]

Local following[edit]

According to Hendersons, famous fans of the condiment include Sheffield-born celebrities Sean Bean, Def Leppard's Rick Savage, Millie Bright and the late Peter Stringfellow. Politician David Blunkett, also a Sheffield native, used it when he cooked shepherd's pie on chef Gordon Ramsay's The F Word TV cookery programme.[2]

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 clubs' shops.[3]

The singer/songwriter Richard Hawley used specially-labelled bottles of Henderson's Relish to promote his 2005 album 'Coles Corner', and on his 2007 autumn tour, special bottles of the relish were available to promote his then-current album Lady's Bridge. The bottles of relish cost £1.50, with fans purchasing them after the show, owing to glass bottles being banned from most auditoriums.

The Sheffield band The Everly Pregnant Brothers have a song called Hendos, a pastiche of the Coldplay song Yellow[4] and also name check Henderson's Relish or 'Endos in their song "No oven no pie" a pastiche of the Bob Marley song.[5]

The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said of Henderson's Relish that while outsiders think the condiment is Sheffield's answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it is the answer to everything.[6]

Henderson's Relish has been an inspiration to several artists from Sheffield, such as Rick Savage (Def Leppard), who have produced pieces about the product. Pete McKee, Kid Acne and Jim Connolly have all released prints offering their own unique take on the relish. It also featured in the plotline of the second episode of Series 4 of BBC Radio 4's comedy series Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups in September 2016.[6]

A Sheffield-based women’s traditional rapper dance team, who perform a type of traditional northern sword dance with long Sheffield rapper knives, originally wanted to name themselves after Henderson’s Relish, but their approach to the company was rejected. Inspired by the condiment, they dance in costumes of black and orange, but adopted the name ‘Sheffield Steel Rapper’.

A gold-label version was produced to commemorate Jessica Ennis winning the Heptathlon at the 2012 Olympics.[7]


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 Yorkshire and nearby Lincolnshire, although it can be ordered online.

The company has made little effort to market outside Yorkshire, instead preferring to encourage a loyal following nationally through this sense of exclusivity.


Knowledge of Henderson'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,[8] during a parliamentary debate on the Intellectual Property Bill.[9] He had encountered the sauce at a pub in Blackheath, the Hare and Billet, also far outside the usual Henderson's region. Later, he was corrected by comments from Sheffield MPs Paul Blomfield and Nick Clegg.[10] Dowd later toured the Henderson's factory in a peace-making gesture.[11]


Henderson's (Sheffield) Ltd.

After starting in Sheffield over one hundred years ago, until 2013 the 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 opposite what was once Jessop's Hospital for Women, now the Music Department of the University of Sheffield. The building is adjacent to the University of Sheffield Supertram stop, on Leavygreave Road. 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.[12]

In 2013, the manufacturer moved to J.F. Finnegan's 58 acre Sheffield Parkway Business Park.

Sheffield University plans to preserve and redevelop the original building as part of its campus.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tamarind is also a major flavour note in another popular English sauce, HP Sauce.


  1. ^ a b "Hendophant" (PDF). July 2016.
  2. ^ David Blunkett's Shepherd's Pie – Gordon Ramsay on YouTube
  3. ^ "Where to buy". Hendersons Relish. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  4. ^ from their album *Exile on West Street"
  5. ^ From the album "Sheffield Calling"
  6. ^ a b Writers: Tom Wrigglesworth, James Kettle with additional material by Miles Jupp, Producer: Richard Morris (1 September 2016). "Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups, Series 4". Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups. BBC Radio 4.
  7. ^ Jessica Ennis commemorative bottle
  8. ^ "Own brands 'parasitic' says MP". 21 January 2014. Archived from the original on 24 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Daily Hansard – debate". Hansard: Column 56. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Nick Clegg speaks out in defence of Sheffield's Henderson's Relish". 21 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
  11. ^ Molly Lynch (18 February 2014). "'Hendogate': MP shows a lot of bottle". The Star.
  12. ^ Something to relish ... missing half of sign for sale for 50p
  13. ^ "Factory is safe with university". Sheffield Telegraph. 8 October 2014.

External links[edit]