Shaws celebrate their 130th anniversary by giving away 130 jars of ‘the best piccalilli in the world’ to the good people of Huddersfield

Shaws pony and trap with the workers in background
Shaws pony and trap with the workers in background

From 12 midday until 3pm on Friday 6th September at the Old Market Hall Gate Courtyard, Wakefield Road, Huddersfield HD5 9AN*

As a thank you to the town that has been home for 130 years, Shaws will be handing out a free jar of their famous Piccalilli to the first 130 people to come to their Old Market Hall Gates from 12 midday on 6th September. It is part of an afternoon of anniversary games, quizzes and celebrations, hosted by the Shaws team, in the courtyard of the former Victorian wool mill that they have occupied since 1913.

130 jars of Piccalilli going down the line
130 jars of Piccalilli going down the line

“We’ve been a part of Huddersfield history since 1889. We are part of its fabric, history and community,” says Shaws MD Jan Docker, proudly. “A birthday celebration wouldn’t be complete without gifts and without including the people of Huddersfield; and our piccalilli – a Victorian high tea staple, particularly well loved with a stand (pork) pie – was the obvious choice.”

“We have always made a version of piccalilli, just as all “northern town” picklers did,” she continues. “Our current one is based on an original Shaws family recipe, which we updated in 2012 to reflect changing tastes for smoothness, rather than acidity, but were careful to keep the crunchy vegetables of the original. We have been told that it is the ‘best piccalilli in the world’. We tend to agree.”

Still family owned and recently joined by Annie Shaw, the sixth generation of the pickling dynasty, Shaws chutneys and relishes was started by teetotal insurance broker George Shaw, who opened his first Relish Works in Huddersfield’s Fitzwilliam Street. From here he sold an extraordinary array of products, besides the original Shaws Relish, including baking powder, patented medicines, marrowfat peas and face creams. All were delivered by immaculate skewbald pony and traps, known locally as “Shaws Circus”. In 1913, they moved to the larger premises of Storths Mill in Wakefield Road, where they still manufacture all their products. There was never any question of moving out of Huddersfield. Nor is there 130 years later.

“Throwing the anniversary party in our Old Market Gates Courtyard was the natural choice too,” explains Docker, “Just 10 years younger than Shaws, they were built in 1879 and stood at Huddersfield’s Old Market Hall in Victoria Lane until 1971, when they, along with the building, were earmarked for demolition. My uncle, Terence Peace, rescued them and reinstated them at the factory, further sealing our place at the heart of Huddersfield’s industrial history.”

Drop by the Old Market Hall Gates on 6th September, early enough to grab your free jar of Piccalilli, and say “Happy Birthday” to the Shaws team.

* first come, first served, while stocks last


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