Minor British Institutions: Bovril
Saturday 22 August 2009
Beef tea. Strange idea, popular still at football matches. But who on earth came up with it? A Scotsman, by the name of John Lawson Johnston, though there appears to be no record of his precise thought process.
Apparently he was offered a contract to supply French armies with beef during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. He didn't send them tins, as perhaps they expected, but a paste that would, with the addition of hot water, become "Johnston's Fluid Beef".
It was renamed Bovril in 1886, the Bov bit coming from bovine, and the "vril" from the name of the "life force" featured in The Coming Race, an early science-fiction novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
The British took to it and it enjoyed success before, in the early part of this century, the BSE scare meant the original beef extract was replaced by a vegetarian base, making it an inferior version of Marmite. However, a couple of years ago, makers Unilever decided to put the beef back in – and Bovril is back.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...