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A very good afternoon.
I am contacting you with an unusual request that potentially you may be able to help me with.
I am an archaeologist and whilst working on a dig in Kelham Island, I recovered a bottle of Waterhouses Yorkshireman's Relish. I wondered if you had any information on this company in your archives. This is a serious request, as we will include these details in our report on the site, but so far I am drawing a blank.
Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
All the best
There is such a bottle currently for sale on EBay. The seller says it is about 1905 Sheffield and Rotherham.
A quick look at newspapers on Find My Past shows that Yorkshire Relish, a secret recipe,
Was invented in around 1869 by Leeds based Goodall and Backhouse company. Countrywide newspapers ran thousands of adverts for it over the next 50 plus years. In the early 1900s the company sued several imitators and gained the sole right to use the term Yorkshire Relish.
Sheffield Newspapers in the 1920s report that several small local imitators had for years sold similar products, presumably with modified names
I suspect that Waterhouse was one of these and they used the word Yorkshireman to avoid litigation
Perhaps you should look at all detailed original news items.
Maybe it would be worth looking for litigation.
In order to identify the source of Waterhouse Yorkshireman’s Relish you need to first look at the history of “Yorkshire Relish” made by Goodall Backhouse of Leeds. Their history is well documented and it became an international brand producing tens of million bottles a year. The company fiercely defended its brand with litigation over many years.
Many smaller companies imitated the relish and there are many examples in newspapers of Goodall Backhouse prosecuting.
There is one long report in the Sheffield Evening Telegraph of 17 June 1810 where Yorkshireman’s Relish is mentioned. it is associated with “a man called Waterhouse”.
This man can be identified because Goodall Backhouse are variously described over the years as “manufacturing Chemists” and “Wholesale druggists” .
In addition another famous Sheffield Relish, Hendersons (still in production today), was invented in the late 19th century by Henry Henderson, and he too was variously described as a wholesale druggist or chemist.
All this is well documented on the internet
Of the many wholesale druggists and chemists in Sheffield in the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was only one called Waterhouse. He was Benjamin Waterhouse (1858-1934) born in Hope, Derbyshire, whose factory was in Arundel Street (see the Directories here over to the left).
Clearly he manufactured and sold locally an imitation relish and called it Yorkshireman’s to skirt the trade mark issue. He presumably sold it cheaper, and clearly did not advertise for obvious reasons.
His life is well documented in censuses and a newspaper obituary.