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 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Jack the Ripper's final victim set to be exhumed following new theory on the killer's identity
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...