The Birth of Tradition
In 1801, KEEN's Mustard founder, Thomas Keen, is born in Camberwell, England. In 1825, Thomas marries Harriett Toulmin. In 1831, they move into The Elms, the Toulmin family home on High Street, Croydon flanked by two breweries: Nalder & Collyer and Crowleys. The home features a one-acre garden, including a heated glasshouse and a large rose garden - all tended to by head gardener, Mr Mason and his three assistants.
Building on a Name
In 1857, Croydon's first church with free pews is built, St Andrews-Chapel-at-Ease, on land donated by Thomas in Southbridge Meadows. In 1861, it becomes St Andrews Parish church. The gesture reflects Thomas' reputation as a community benefactor.
The Passing of Time
In 1862, Thomas Keen dies on 17 February at the age of 61. Reporting on the funeral, The Croydon Chronicle reports "..the arrangements for the funeral of Mr Keen were for those of an English Gentleman. The general closing of the shops during the passage of the procession through the town was a spontaneous tribute to a good man's worth." In that same year, Keen & Sons amalgamates with Robinson & Belville, manufacturers of patented groats and barley, to become Keen Robinson & Company.
Bells of Mustard
In the 1890s, During a lull in traffic, workers at the Keen factory can hear the chimes of the Royal Exchange - set to the well-known song 'The Roast Beef of Old England'. In 1893, Thomas and Harriett's home is demolished to make way for Edridge Road. The driveway becomes Masons Avenue, in honour of The Elms' gardener. A road near St Andrews Church is named Keens Road, in honour of Thomas. In 1903, Keen Robinson & Company is acquired by Colman's of Norwich. It later merges with Reckitt & Sons.
Keen's Mustard Club
In the 1930s, the KEEN'S Mustard Club is created. Members receive a Mustard Club Badge in the shape of a mustard pot and a booklet entitled Inner Secrets of the Mustard Club.
Beyond the Kitchen
In the 1940s, the formula for a mustard footbath appears on the back of KEEN'S tins: "one of mustard, two of flour, leave it on for half an hour."
In 1995, Unilever purchases the condiment side of Reckitt & Colman. Reckitt & Colman retains the Colman part of its name and continues to make mustard - the famous American mustard called French's. Outside of the UK, in places such as Canada and Australia, Colman's still sells its mustard under the KEEN'S name.
Finding a Home with McCormick
In 1998, KEEN'S Mustard finds its home with McCormick Foods Australia. KEEN'S asks Australians to search their homes for nostalgic KEEN'S memorabilia. The search uncovers historic advertisements and even an original mustard powder tin dating back to 1904. In 2000, KEEN'S Mustard takes the memorabilia on tour to share with the rest of Australia.
A Great Australian Tradition
In 2008, a new website launches, as well as the inaugural "KEEN AS" Cup in honour of the mustard with a very spicy history. Today, KEEN'S Mustard continues to be a great tradition in kitchens across Australia.