Worcestershire sauce is perhaps the Worcester's most famous product. It was first produced in Worcester by two chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Perrins, and went on sale in 1837. It is still produced in the city today, although the origin of the recipe remains a mystery.
The story goes that Lord Sandys, a local aristocrat who had been Governor of Bengal, visited the chemist shop asking for a recipe he had found in India to be made up. Lea and Perrins made an extra jar for themselves, but found they did not like the concoction and stored it in the cellar. Some time later they retasted the preparation to discover it was delicious.
Although today the ingredients are listed the exact recipe has never been revealed and remains a closely guarded secret.
Lea and Perrins has not been the only Worcestershire sauce to be made. Its early success encouraged other firms to copy the recipe in competition, we know of over 30 in Worcester alone. Sauces were particularly popular during the 19th century as they gave flavour to otherwise plain food and helped tenderise tough cuts of meat.