Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bran Tub # 13 : In a Pickle …



Should you have gone down to Soho in the 1800s you would be in for a big surprise … I’m not sure if the Teddy Bears frequented here for their picnic … but the right ingredients – pickles and fields - were very close at hand …

 
Crosse + Blackwell's Piccalilli
… most of what we know today as central London back in the 1500s  was wooded common agricultural land, on the edge of the city … until it was purloined by a King or a Queen for hunting and royal park usage …


… then the Georgians came along (1714 – 1830) … including the emergence of the Industrial Revolution ... factories were built, new products manufactured … spices brought in from British territories and colonies …


British Condiments in 21st century




… thereafter for about 100 years you’d be in a pickle!  Crosse and Blackwell set up their factory – creating condiments and recipes establishing the brand as a firm family favourite.


In 1923 a journalist noted that following closure of the Crosse and Blackwell factory …


‘driving blind-fold through London there are some places that I could always recognise by their distinctive smell …

… one is the Oxford Street end of Charing-cross-road, where for generations Crosse and Blackwell’s pickle factory has given a very distinctive pungency to the surrounding atmosphere.’


A small selection of the finds from the archaeological
dig at Tottenham Court Road tube station - when excavations
needed to be made for the new Crossrail 'Elizabeth' line
Who can resist not writing about pickles being found under Oxford Street in the middle of the London we know today …


I visited the Museum of London Archaeology Corporation’s exhibition in Docklands … to see the various finds – both archaeological (auroch bones – if you remember my A for Auroch, in the A-Z this year) and finds from the pickling factory in the heart of Soho …


London Astoria - just before demolition




Originally demolished to make way for the new entertainment venue of the day – a cinema in the 1920s – then in the late 1960s it was redeveloped to become the London Astoria: that iconic music establishment …





an early advertising plaque -
c/o  Printed British Pottery and
Porcelain company
… now times have changed once again – with London Crossrail rising from the ashes in the form of a new tube station at Tottenham Court Road/ Oxford Street, together with retail, residential and office space …

Archaeologists in the 21st century working on the Crossrail site once again found the whiff of pickle in the air … all quietly forgotten for the last 90 years.  The Crosse and Blackwell factory that had been demolished was newly excavated, this time to a deeper depth …




Showing remains of Crosse + Blackwell's
Preserved Ginger Pots 


… the finds illustrating the ambitions of  one of Victorian Britain’s most prolific and enduring enterprises, as well as evidencing the development of British tastes.


-        Crosse and Blackwell Pickles
-        Mushroom Catsup
-        Mustard
-        Piccalilli
-        Preserved Ginger
-        Pure Orange Marmalade
-        Household Raspberry or Plum jam




History of tastes through the 13,000 items unearthed … from the buried rubble of our industrial past in the middle of London town …


-        Crosse and Blackwell were one of the first companies to receive a Royal Warrant from the newly crowned Queen Victoria in 1837


-       Crosse and Blackwell even sent a representative with the East India Company to the East Indies to bring home new recipes … pickles, curry powders and chutney …


Ploughman's style lunch - with Branston pickle,
Piccalilli and all the accoutrements!
Who thought 21st century Londoners would be commuting over, or perhaps through, an early 18th/19th century pickle factory – by the way: what’s under your feet?




The Crossrail exhibition can be seen at the Museum of London’s  Archaeology site in Docklands



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

76 comments:

Rhodesia said...

Another great post Hilary and I love pickles and I used to always buy Crosses and Blackwell. These days of course I make my own!!
I had to laugh at the place maybe where teddy bears picnicked, that was one of my favourite records as a child that I used to play and my wind up record player. Wow things have changed a lot in my lifetime alone.
Take care and have a good weekend Diane

Elephant's Child said...

Archaeology (and its close cousin history) are two of the areas that I developed a passion for later in life. Thank you so much for indulging that passion and educating me.

bazza said...

I led one of my guided walks through Soho Square a short while ago. I pointed out Manor House at no.21 (the address on the Piccalilli jar) as the former Crosse and Blackwell HQ. Before they took it over in 1838 it was a "high-class brothel"!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s argle-bargular Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Chatty Crone said...

I have never heard of Crosses and Blackwell products but I do like condiments. Are you saying they actually built over that company and now they dug it back up and found it? That kind of thing is just amazing to me. History buried. Awesome and again I learned. sandie

Suzanne Furness said...

That last picture reminded me that I haven't had a proper ploughman's lunch in a long time! Nothing like a tasty bit of pickle with cheese.

Joanne said...

pretty amazing as to what is found and still pickled. I prefer dill to sweet pickles. Other pickled products could be questionable. I was amused that the aroma hung in the air even when the place was gone. You dug up quite a bit of information. Now how about the phrase, "I'm in a pickle"...hmmm.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All those old pieces from a pickle factory. Now that is wild.

Michelle Wallace said...

Lots of those condiments look familiar. As you know, we get many Crosse and Blackwell products in South Africa. Their mayonnaise is quite good.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane – yes I love pickles at times too, as well as chutney –but I can believe you’d make your own … and you do – well done. I had one of those record players – except I played The Laughing Policeman … that made me laugh and laugh! But I do have the Teddy Bears picnic song in my head while I’ve been writing this post … and yes haven’t things changed so much –it always amazes me by how much …

@ EC - I remember you like history and archaeology … I enjoy mixing them into my posts – educates me too!

@ Bazza – how fascinating that the factory used to be a brothel – glad it was high-class! Thanks for letting us know this extra titbit … wonderful to do those guided walks …

@ Sandie – they’re a British company – or rather were … yes the first demolition for the cinema occurred in the 1920s when recording our history … now we are desperate for as much as we can glean from these excavations …

It’s wonderful news that large projects are happening – as it means the excavators go deeper … back into history … hence we are finding burials from the Middle Ages… as well as this pickle factory – now 90 years further on …

There’s so much science available to us now … which is great as others of us are kept informed about ‘the finds’ they come across …

@ Suzanne – yes a really good ploughmans is delicious isn’t it – and like you … I have a desire to have one soon!

@ Joanne – my parents made walnut ketchup after the war – that I remember. I’ve always enjoyed an odd pickle, or chutney – not all the time. Yes it does seem strange that the pickle aroma came forth in the 1920s … but with a whole factory demolished, I suppose it makes sense, surprising though it may be.

I’m lucky there’s always wonderful articles around – so I can select a few and draft a post around the information … and add bits and bobs to the story …

@ Alex – I know it’s amazing what we’re finding out as the Crossrail project is nearing its end – the archaeologists have been given access and time to investigate … which means we’ll have a fair amount of information … though it’ll take a few years yet to analyse all the data …

@ Michelle – yes in South Africa – you do have condiments that are similar … I haven’t come across their mayonnaise though …

Thanks for all these comments with the extra thoughts … which add to the post – that’s great to read … cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Hmm, under my feet....I don't think it's pickles:)

Another great post. Thanks for sharing.

Have a great one, Hilary.

Jo said...

Gosh, I haven't had Piccalilli in a very long time. I remember my mother having ginger in attractive jars like that. I had one once - minus the ginger. I hadn't realised that the original factory was in London though. I used to travel through Tottenham Court Road tube station to go to work nearby.

Paula Kaye said...

Loved those bits of ginger jars! And who doesn't love a good pickle!!

Anabel Marsh said...

I had no idea Crosse and Blackwell was such an old company. I used to be very partial to Branson pickle (bring out the Branson! plays instantly in my head) but found it a bit sweet last time I tried it. Obviously, my tastes have changed over time.

Anabel Marsh said...

And I swear I put the ts in Branston but autocorrect always thinks it knows best.....

Claudia Bookwright said...

You reminded me that my grandparents' generation made what they called piccalilli. Sometimes they called it chow-chow. But looking it up on Wikipedia, I discovered that what we called piccalilli in the southern United States is not like y'all's at all. My grandmothers used tomatoes that hadn't had time to ripen, onions, and bell peppers. It was a good way to preserve things before freezers. They pickled the usual cucumbers as dill, sweet, or bread and butter pickles -- plus okra and watermelon and pigs feet. I'll eat almost any kind of pickle except pigs feet.

Out on the prairie said...

I could smell the brine when you talked about it. I used to enjoy making pickles to use for gifts.I am not much a fan, occasionally I indulge, preferring pickled hot peppers the most.

dolorah said...

I eat at Applebee's and enjoy the pork and chutney sauce.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Alas, there are few factories of any kind left where I live, it has all been outsourced. In Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher novels, set in Melbourne of the 1920s, a job at the pickle factory is seen as liberation for young women who might otherwise have to go into service to get a job. You work for eight hours a day, have a pay packet and don't get harassed by truly dreadful employers with whom you had to live in...

I live in a bayside suburb that used to be swamp, so ray's likely what is under my feet. But in the Melbourne CBD there is a historic shot tower from an old factory which has been preserved inside a shopping mall that has an underground station underneath. That is style! (They were going yo knock it down). And there was an archaeological dig on a CBD street that used to have people living there.

Just Finished Reading...The Handmaid's Tale

Denise Covey - Author said...

That must be the thing living in these old cities--what's under your feet? A relishing tale, Hilary. I'll be tramping around in the olde worlde early September. Wonder what'll be under my feet?

Hope you're well!

Denise :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra – I doubt you have pickles under your feet … I’m fairly certain I have oyster and mussel shells, and trade goods going back over 2,000 years …

@ Jo – I don’t have piccalilli in the flat – occasionally I’ll buy a jar and I used to make it in South Africa. I don’t remember pretty jars of ginger ... perhaps I never noticed – I certainly enjoyed eating it. It was the early days of factories – when they were built in cities/towns … before being pushed into the outskirts or industrial areas. Tottenham Court Road is very different today …

@ Paula – the ginger jars were so pretty; yes I do enjoy a pickle or two …

@ Anabel – autocorrect is a pain … so thanks for reinserting the ‘t’s!! I have Branston pickle – but it’s not often used … so probably like you, I find it a little cloying now …

@ Claudia – names get muddled up (or in a pickle!) for their meaning between English speaking areas … the States, Australia and South Africa … so can believe your realisation.

I think we’d call your vegetable mix ‘a relish’ – but still pickled/ preserved … as you say before freezers. Brawn (pig’s head) and trotters have come back into eating fashion now … I love them.

@ Steve – glad I could send the idea of ‘in a pickle’ over the pond – yes I can smell it as I keep writing the comments, or when I wrote the post up. Pickles are good for using up fruits and veg … I’ll have them on occasions, but not all the time.

@ Donna – I don’t know Applebees … but the pork and chutney sauce sounds interesting …

@ Sue – yes I guess working in a pickle factory might appear to offer better job prospects than being in service … interesting bit of history – it’s just the constant pong of pickle …

I can understand Australia trying to find out more about their neighbourhoods by having archaeological digs. The shot tower being preserved inside the shopping mall, with the underground below – makes for an interesting extra while shopping.

@ Denise - yes .. rather a lot of items from history and pre-history can be found under our feet here in England. Thanks for the 'relishing' tale - a word I forgot to use! That's great you're coming over - I noted mention of the Greek islands ... wonderful part of the world ... I sure hope it's cooled down by then!


Thanks to you all – good to read about the different types of pickles, relishes and chutneys, you remember and the archaeological digs being carried out in Melbourne … cheers Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

A very interesting post. I recognize most of the condiments in the photo; some familiar from my American side and some familiar from my New Zealand side (we are part of the Commonwealth so we get the British foods regularly). Since "European" New Zealand is not that old, archeological finds from 100 to 150 years ago are quite common (similar to the Crosse and Blackwell excavation).

Carole Anne Carr said...

Your posts are always fascinating, Hilary, especially for someone like myself who writes history for children and about to write for grown ups.

mail4rosey said...

Ya' just never know what's under your tootsies. I'm all for a good pickle, so long as it's Dill and not sweet. :)

Jacqui Murray said...

So interesting. Who would know you could write a post about pickles. The Industrial Revolution certainly changed the landscape. I'm reading in the Western genre in America--same timeframe but such a different world.

Susan said...

LOVE this time travel down pickle history lane!

Robert Bennett said...

Huh. I honestly thought the pickle was much older then that. That said: "Bleeeh. Pickles". Haha. Never liked them myself but my wife adores them.

Julie Flanders said...

How fun! Makes me wonder what I might be walking or driving over in my own city. I love pickles and this made me hungry to read. Also fun to imagine the Teddy Bear's picnic! :)

Blogoratti said...

A wonderful tale indeed, and pickles are everything and much more. Thanks for the insightful post and warm greetings!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Pickles do have a distinct smell when being processed. I can always tell when I'm near the Mt. Olive Pickle Factory here in NC.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda – yes in the Commonwealth we tend to have the same branded products … but I’d have thought there’d have been more digs finding ‘finds’ going back 500 to 700 (Chinese and British) years ago – much earlier than the Crosse and Blackwell excavations …

@ Carole Anne – that’s great I can perhaps provide snippets of information that you can build in to your history books … it’s a pleasure!

@ Rosey – I suspect I know what’s under my feet here … lots of Roman artefacts … but certain many wouldn’t have an idea. Dill pickles are delicious … but I do quite like chutneys …

@ Jacqui – yeah … well me! The improvement in life in general, the population growing ever more and then the industrial revolution most definitely changed the way we live … I’m sure America developed in pretty much the same way … until the USA overwhelmed us …

@ Susan – good to meet you … and so glad you love this trickle of pickle history down memory lane …

@ Robert – yes pickle is older than this – but the factory and the Crosse and Blackwell brand became well known in the 1800s … marketing coming into its own and expansion over the pond to the States. They are definitely a like it or not so keen on it condiment … me .. I love them!

@ Julie ... I wonder - I think you're in an area that would have been established for a few centuries, even before the European came along. Food - I always feel hungry looking at it .. or writing about it is worse - and a good picnic would be fun right now - well tomorrow, as it's nearly 10 pm!!

@ Blogoratti – thanks – it was a tale waiting to be told … so it was a pleasure visiting the exhibition and writing up the post …

@ Diane – yes factories can still emit an aroma that ties them in to a product … and the Mt Olive Pickle factory is well established in N Carolina …

Cheers to you all ... and thanks for your visits - anyone going on a picnic tomorrow?! Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

I like the idea of the smell of pickles lingering around. Any big city will have layers and layers of buildings that have been built over. Fascinating to think about. The ginger pots look like they could be from a much earlier time, like Ancient Greek!

FinnBadger said...

Crossrail/The Elizabeth Line is such a fascinating project, not just because it has to weave its way through somewhat crowded subterranean London, but also for all the archeological gems it has thrown up. Great blog post chock full of info as always.

DMS said...

I love pickles! I had no idea about the history of pickles in London (or anywhere for that matter). So interesting. I am wondering if the smell of the pickle factory was good. I do think they smell good- but with factories you never can tell. Looks like they are finding lots hidden beneath the surface.

Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I have never liked pickles, Tim does though what I do like is history so yeah I liked this post

Truedessa said...

I do enjoy a pickle or two. I like the dill type. Ok, now I want a pickle. Your posts are always fascinating.

D Biswas said...

Traveling through the history of a pickle factory-- wow. In Singapore, it is pretty common practice to 'reclaim' cemeteries. It is done over decades, and the cemetery is turned into a park first (with the cadevers cremated and remains returned to next of kin). So my home might be built atop a cemetery, for all I know.

Damyanti

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - I suspect the aroman would be rather 'lingering' to have around for a long time ... but incredible when it suddenly becomes apparent. Yes, there are lots of layers of history under our feet here in the UK.

It is thought that the ginger jars were made here and decorated in a Greek style ... so you're right re the Ancient Greek aspect of decoration ...

@ Phillip - the CrossRail project has been a boon in so many ways ... giving us an insight into the expansion of London, and the landscape it used to sit on ... also the archaeological gems it is giving the experts to analyse ... just glad you enjoyed the post...

@ Jess - I love a pickle or two and on occasions chutney. I suspect the smell of the pickle factory was overwhelming after a while ... so a whiff would be alright, but 'for ever' ... not so good. Yes most of the excavation has been done now ...but they are still analysing all the finds.

@ Jo-Anne - they tend to be'love them or hate them' condiments, don't they. Glad your hubby does though - but pleased you enjoy the history around them ...

@ Truedessa - the dill pickles are in a pickling brine ... the chutneys have been cooked ... but there are so many varieties ...

@ Damyanti - well it was one of those funny posts I could write up - that gives us some history ... but evokes a pungency we would know about.

Interesting about your cemeteries ... I'm sure land is incredibly precious there - hence the need to make as much of it as possible. We do sometimes de-consecrate graveyards here ...but it is relatively rare. I wonder if you live atop a cemetery ...

Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts - have a good week - cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Pickles under the feet of Londoners: I never know what you are going to unearth next, Hilary!

Nas said...

Thank you for another great post, Hilary. I liked this pickle and condiment post!

Keith's Ramblings said...

I enjoyed your post for two reasons-

1) I learned a lot about pickles
2) You solved the problem of what to have for lunch today - Ploughman's at my favourite pub!

Thank you Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

Would sure be in a pickle if that was still there haha Neat to find out what is beneath your feet and see how things change.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I remember hearing about that find. We love pickles at our house and almost always have some here.

cleemckenzie said...

The archaeology of the taste bud. Very interesting. I wonder what mushroom catsup tastes like. I'm imagining it would b quite good. And since I'm a huge pickle fan, I'd be very interested in a sample of some of those preserved cucumbers.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - thanks .. another great comment ... hadn't thought of 'unearthing' pieces of pickle, pottery or bones under London - but yes that's what this was about ...

@ Nas - that's great .. thank you so much: delighted it met your approval ...

@ Keith - it's always good to satisfy and to know I've solved your lunch problem ... hope it was good?! Pickles under London was such a fun topic ...

@ Pat - it's good that we can dig lower and find some earlier finds - a pickle factory I guess was a little surprising!

@ Susan - I'm sure the media have been promoting that story .. that's how I heard about it ... but felt I wanted to write it up - make it fun. I think most people have pickles or chutneys around ... as your family does ...

@ Lee - mushroom ketchup is like tomato ketchup but with mushrooms - I used to love it - though haven't had any for years. There were other pickling type factories in the area ... so tastes abounding. I don't suggest you have a sample of those preserved cucumbers ... not a good idea - 100 or more years on!

Amazing to see you all commenting so happily about pickles ... I'm a happy pick(l)er of posts to write about! Cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I'm not so big on condiments. I do eat them however. I can't say that I like pickles. I try to like then since everyone I know loves them. I can almost handle the dill pickle, but if you give me a sweet pickle of any type, I may spit it back at you. Not you. :) If you gave it to me, I would swallow it. hahaha I promise.

Murees Dupé said...

Very interesting. Who would've thought one would still get the whiff of pickles after 90 years;) It is always so fascinating how we always just build over the old buildings or structures, forgetting what lies beneath our feet. I've always loved archaeology.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's amazing what was taking place out of sight and underground!

Lots of fried pickles here in the southern US. :) I love them.

Christine Rains said...

I'm not a pickle fan, but I do love hearing about these histories. And mushroom catsup? I'm cringing and a little curious at the same time! Hope you're having a lovely week. :)

troutbirder said...

I like the historical connotation of how cities change over time. London yes... and Rome also. We actually still can our own dill pickles the old fashioned way...:)

sonia a. mascaro said...

Just interesting post, Hilary. I always have much pleasure to read your posts and I improve my English and learn much things too.

My husband likes pickle and condiments, too.

Thank you for your always lovely comment on my blog. So sweet of you!

Lynn said...

I love that they found all those jars and saved them!

Chrys Fey said...

You just never know what will be found underground where a place was demolished and something else was built on top of it.

Liz A. said...

Yup, they just keep building over and on top of everything. Amazing.

DeeDee said...

The Ginger pot and their lunch caught all of my attention

Click Here to see what Mrs. Dash Says

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa – it is all a matter of taste – and if they’re not your thing … please don’t have one – I’m not sure I could handle being spat at by you … even if it was in joke – pickled splatters … not good! But I’m sure I’d laugh … at both of us … and that’d produce more splatters ….

@ Murees – yes it must have been very surprising – yet I suppose manufacturing industries leave an aroma … I’m thinking soap, brick, salt probably too … Back 120 years or so – they didn’t have the technology we have today to investigate or analyse further.

@ Elizabeth – yes – we even find ‘finds’ going back 7,000 years buried under our soil – that’s here in Eastbourne …

I had to look up fried pickles – now I see what you mean … they’d be very moreish – and I suspect I’d love them.

@ Christine – it’s fun adding in the extras – pickles or history … you take your pick with me! Catsup is ketchup but with mushrooms … we used to make it – delicious …

@ Troutbirder – it’s wonderful to know you still make your pickles the old fashioned way … if I was able to … that’s what I’d do. I remember pickled things when I was growing up … walnuts, eggs, mushroom ketchup, etc that my parents had made …

@ Sonia – I’m delighted you come over from Brazil to read my posts … and that you enjoy being here – thanks. It’s great your family enjoy pickles and condiments …

@ Lynn – there was a huge cache of the jars of all sorts – so it was fairly easy to rescue many of them I guess … and then keep some for further analysis …

@ Chrys – I’m fascinated to find out what they can find as each dig is ‘excavated’ …

@ Liz – now we’re being rather more cautious here – giving the archaeologists time to investigate before complete destruction and being built over occurs once again.

@ DeeDee – the ginger pots are very pretty aren’t they … and I had to put a picnic type lunch in as I’d started the post off with a teddy bears’ picnic …

Thanks everyone … it’s good to know these pickle finds have interested you … cheers Hilary

baili said...

What great job to write this post dear Hilary!

very interesting as well as very informative.
Here pickles are so famous and in my youth (when stomach was friendly) ate lot but now i can only see youngsters having it and it hurts ,really!

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Lovely post, Hilary! Which reminds me - we're out of Branston...

Munir said...

My husband is right . understanding what a place is all about is so much more interesting than who ruled that place . I have to thank you for so many hours of joy full reading . Thanks and cheers .

C.D. Gallant-King said...

It's funny you ask what's under your feet when I literally have an ice pack under my foot for a sprain. :-)

I don't know of anything interesting where I work or live now (though I believe there were gallows very close to my office building), however I used to live in an apartment building that was originally a toilet factory.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

No puns from me on this one such as it left me in a bit of a pickle. Crosse and Blackwell products were consumed on a regular basis in our home back in the late fifties and early sixties.

Thanks for another informative post, Hilary.

Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Baili – Many thanks ... it was quite fun to write up and wonder what else might be under our feet – as we walk the streets. Oh yes we sometimes need strong stomachs for our pickle fixations – I imagine your pickles are very hot … I’m relaxed when I eat milder versions … at least I don’t have stomach ache!

@ Mike – well I’m glad I added to your shopping list!

@ Munir – I agree bringing history to life is fascinating … rather than facts and dates – though dates give us the time frame, which help put things into context. Very glad you enjoy reading from the blog …

@ CD – oh gosh an ice pack … hope the sprain goes away! What a funny place to live … in a toilet factory – granted one that used to be … good tale there!

@ Gary – lovely to see you … pickling words is what this post is about … we’ve always had some Crosse and Blackwell products at home too …

Thanks everyone – so good to see you here and commenting on different aspects of the post … cheers Hilary

Marja said...

Fascinating history London in the past comes alive to me. I love pickles In Holland we used them for our salads a lot. I think picked products were very much common in the cellars of my aunts.

RO said...

When I was a kid in school, we were taught about history, but I can't say I paid attention to most of it. Now I love, love, love finding out cool stuff like this, and other things that we sort of take for granted. It's so fascinating to find out these facts. You're the best! Hugs...RO

Jan said...

I am visiting from Sandra Cox's blog today.
You do have a lovely and interesting blog that I will visit again~

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - it bemused me learning about the pickle factory by Tottenham Court Road tube station ... I don't think we use pickles that much in our salads here, but certainly when I was in South Africa there were always pickles around. I'm sure you're right about your aunts and their store of excess produce stored for the future ... I've never had a cellar ...

@ RO - I, too, wasn't that interested in history - it's since I've started the blog that I've taught myself so much - about so many things and history usually comes into each post. So I'm delighted you're enjoying these posts and the similar kind of 'stuff' I put up!

@ Jan - lovely to meet you and to know you came via Sandra's blog. I'm thrilled you've taken to the blog and I'll be seeing you again ...

Cheers to the three of you - thanks for the visits and comments - Hilary

Elsie Amata said...

We love pickles in our house. We used to buy them from a deli guy who sold them out of a wooden barrel. Those were the best!

Enjoy the rest of your week!
Elsie

Sandra Cox said...

Wink. Wink, Hilary:)

diedre Knight said...

Captivating post, Hilary! You’ve lifted interesting bits of history from age-old pages and brought them to life with tastes and smells in a most tantalizing way.
Beneath my feet in one of the longest continuously inhabited regions in the United States one might find artifacts such as native Hohokam and Apache arrowheads, Spanish Jesuit pottery and utensils, and rusted hardware from US Cavalry stagecoaches. However, considering that one entire wall in my home consists of silver, or gold-flecked rocks from my yard, that may be all one would find.
It doesn’t smell like pickles around here, but I’m craving one just the same ;-)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Good old Crosse & Blackwell! Another fascinating trip into the past. London really has changed - I never would have thought a factory would be in that location.

Birgit said...

I came over from Sandra's blog and enjoyed reading this and didn't know about the history but love archeology and what they found.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elsie - I think so many of us enjoy a pickle or two and being able to select them from a specialist deli chap is a great way to select them ... you too enjoy today before the weekend comes around ...

@ Sandra - thanks for the shout - out ...

@ Diedre - many thanks ... just glad you can 'see' the history here and with those aromas sometimes found in our streets. I imagine there's a lot of history in your part of the world - arizona/mexico way with the Hohokam occupation. Rocks are beautiful - that wall sounds a delight to sit by and see the silver, or gold-flecks in it. I hope you found a pickle or two and could satisfy your taste buds.

@ Annalisa - so much has happened in London over the centuries - this was just one extraordinary find ... briefly - it was the industrial heartland until people occupation became a priority ... but still the pockets of green fields remained.

@ Birgit - good to see you again ... and am delighted you enjoyed this - thanks ...

Cheers to you and thank you for coming by and commenting ... Hilary

M Pax said...

Is mushroom ketchup still made? I'm quite curious about it. Too bad the pickle factory isn't still there. I love pickles. Great post. Lava is under my feet, and perhaps some fossils from the old eruption.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Where I grew up in the Baltimore area, the Crosse and Blackwell company was within smelling distance. So was McCormick's, which made all kinds of spices. I'd almost forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder. :)

I went to our local Taste of Britain store earlier this week to get my favorite super-sized box of PG tips tea bags, (240 bags in a box!) and while I was there, I saw jars of piccalili on the shelf. I remembered eating it as a child, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember if I liked it or not. Maybe I'll have to get a jar next time just to remind my taste buds. :)

bookworm said...

It amazes me that history can be so easily lost - in less than 100 years. I grew up with pickles in New York City - fermented the old fashioned way and purchased from a huge pickle barrel in a local "appetizing store". The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mary - yes ... mushroom ketchup is still available in this country - I haven't had any for years ... but we used to have it all the time when I was a child. Well in some ways I'm glad the pickle factory isn't there - half of London wouldn't have been able to expand. Ah - lava under your feet and I'm sure some fossils from the ancient eruption ...

@ Susan - oh what fun to know .. yes they did expand over the pond; while McCormick's was started nearby ... they 'fed' off each other - there were other pickle factories in that part of London.

How fun to know you shop for British goodies ... PG tips ... 240 bags not a bad haul! Now I know where I can get tea. I have piccalili occasionally and will definitely have it when it's available elsewhere. It's very piquant ... and I'll enjoy that jar - then not have it around. Interesting to see what you think ...

@ Bookworm - development occurred ... and it's only in the last 70 years or so - that we've learnt that we need to protect sites, while we investigate them and particularly now analyse what's found. I imagine NYC was the centre for pickles - lots of immigrants, who'd have loved the taste of home - post WW1 and WW2.

Brilliant - thanks everyone so much - so amazed that pickles can happily make a post - cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Such a great post!
I feel sad when I read about these iconic old buildings being torn down.
And now I'm hungry :-)