101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No 8. HP Sauce

It’s made in Holland and named after a London landmark, so of course HP Sauce is the Brummiest thing going. It’s “the best known brown sauce in the United Kingdom” and slavered across sausages the length of the land, despite “brown sauce” sounding more like a euphemism for, well, shit.

If that’s not enough of a sauce based double-entendre for you,  HP Sauce became known as “Wilson’s gravy” in the 1960s and 1970s after Harold Wilson’s wife revealed he “covered everything” with it. Lucky old Mrs Wilson.

What gives it it’s unique taste is tamarind, and when the Midlands Vinegar Company launched the sauce back at the turn of the last century it was in Aston. The vinegar was made on one side of the A38 and piped over the road—you couldn’t get much more Brummie unless the tamarind pods were trod by Rustie Lee.

And then Heinz bought it and buggered off to the Netherlands, which to be fair sounds like a place brown sauce comes out of.

Author: Jon Bounds

Jon was voted the ‘14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ in 2008. Subsequently he has not been placed. He’s been a football referee, venetian blind maker, cellar man, and a losing Labour council candidate: “No, no chance. A complete no-hoper” said a spoilt ballot. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama performed on Twitter when he persuaded a cast including MPs and journalists to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto. But all that is behind him.