They might just be the unofficial King and Queen of Sheffield – and they were royally pleased with this gift from their grandson.
Ninety-one-year-old Dr Freeman and wife Pamela are the head honchos of Henderson’s Relish. It’s these two who put the sauce on your dinner tables.
And they were delighted when graphic designer grandson Zac Waxman presented them with a painting of their legendary Leavygreave Road factory – done with the brown stuff itself.
It was done for Dr Freeman’s birthday.
Now Zac is hoping the unusual pressie puts him in favour. The 25-year-old, who grew up in Manchester and now lives in London but spent four years studying at Sheffield Hallam University, says he’d like to run the business himself one day. Well, who can blame him?
“That’s the dream,” says the 25-year-old. “I absolutely adore Henderson’s. My mouth’s watering just thinking about it. It’s pretty much the reason I came to Sheffield as a student. So I could tell everyone that my grandparents owned Henderson’s. You tell people that in Manchester or London and no-one knows what you’re talking about. Heathens.
“Mum’s being shown all about the business so she can one day take it over. It’d be great if it then came to me.”
He thinks for a second. “Although I have three brothers and a sister so I might have to kill them. It’s worth it.”
Henderson’s was founded around 1885 by Henry Henderson who sold the sauce from his Broad Lane grocery store. It was later bought by Shaws of Huddersfield who in turn sold it in 1940 to Dr Freeman’s uncle. He himself took over the business 20 years ago – when he retired as a GP. He and Mrs Freeman live in Liverpool but drive over twice a week to keep things ticking over.
Zac came up with the painting idea because he didn’t know what to get his grandad.
“He’s so difficult to buy for,” he says. “Plus this was a bit of a money saver.”
He’d previously done works with cigarette ash and ketchup. “Although that didn’t really work,” he notes. “It was a bit blotchy.”
Now Dr Freeman is planning on putting the picture up at home.
“We were delighted,” he says. “There’s something about Henderson’s which seems to inspire a lot of artists. We have a lot of pictures up around the factory but this was a bit more special.”