Mrs Clement’s innovative process for making hot mustard powder sparked welcome fresh business for farmers and potters in northeast England, and is the secret behind the famous Colman’s of Norwich - and their “bull’s head” logo.
IN 1390, Richard II’s chef included a recipe for mustard in his book The Forme of Cury.* Monks on Lindisfarne in Northumberland were grinding their own mustard a century later, and Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire was an early centre of the trade.
But in 1720, an entrepreneur from Durham named Mrs Clements developed a much hotter mustard, using techniques borrowed from flour mills. It so pleased the palate of King George I that it created a London fashion.
Durham farms now made a handsome income growing mustard as a crop, and pottery firms in nearby Gateshead were soon busy supplying jars.
Despite Mrs Clement’s attempts to keep her recipe secret, competitors sprang up immediately all over the country.
Her company, now named Ainsley’s after her son-in-law, was acquired by Colman’s of Norwich, and when Colman’s commissioned a new trademark in 1855, they acknowledged Mrs Clements by choosing the head of the famous Durham ox.
* That is, ‘The Method of Cooking’, from French ‘cuire’, to cook.