Historic Ketchup Unearthed at Crossrail's Astoria Digs

By Gary Cutlack on at

The findings dug up during Crossrail works beneath the site of London's old Astoria are so exciting to some that's there now a book about them. The book's called Crosse and Blackwell 1830-1921 - A British Food Manufacturer in London's West End. They found some old jam and assorted preserves.

The story, summarised neatly by Ian of Ian Visits fame, starts when the Astoria site was first turned over after the building's demolition some three years ago. Workers and archaeologists found a vault under the floor that wasn't part of the modern music venue. It belonged to a warehouse that stood on the site that was operated by the Crosse and Blackwell company, and yes, it still had some remnants of the past inside.

Archaeologists dug out ceramic piccalilli pots dating back to the 19th century, bits of old marmalade jars, mushroom ketchup bottles and more, with the Museum of London Archaeology's Nigel -- it had to be a Nigel -- Jeffries saying: "Excavations on Crosse & Blackwell’s Soho factory produced a large and diverse collection of pottery and glass related to their products, with one cistern alone containing nearly three tonnes of Newcastle made marmalade jars with stoneware bottles and jars. We think this is the biggest collection of pottery ever discovered in a single feature from an archaeological site in London." [Ian Visits]


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