A Brief History
Benham & Froud revives the fortunes of the British company that made the "Rolls Royce of jelly moulds", all stamped with a signature orb and cross.
The company was established in Chandos Street in 1785 as a coppersmith and brazier, and has a history that mirrors the rise and fall of jelly as a dish.
In 1821 they made the replacement orb and cross for St Paul’s cathedral and adopted the famous sigil that marks the most remarkable historic copper jelly moulds of yesteryear.
The Glory Days of Jelly
The fortunes of Benham & Froud reflects the glory days of jelly through the 18th and 19th century.
The company authored some of the most innovative and ambitious copper moulds, such as the Alexander Cross and Brunswick Star (in 1863 and 1864 respectively) to celebrate a royal wedding.
These notorious jelly moulds have inserts that allow the pudding to be shot through with a different coloured gel, like a wobbly stick of rock. They are the zenith of master jellying: combining technology and ingenuity, with culinary knowledge, topicality and gentle humour.
In the post-war slide to convenience and value, jellies lost their pedigree and Benham & Froud lost its market. There was no desire for elaborate copper moulds. The company is not found in directories after 1924, the dawn of the jellying dark age of the 20th century.
The horrors of set salads, compounded by terrible, cheap ingredients and the lurid frenetics of children’s parties diminished the pudding’s mystique. Prestige collapsed with instant products.
Now, Benham & Froud is back!
Delivered by today's Jellymongers.
Bompas & Parr started out as an artisanal jelly company in 2007. The initial aim was to launch a jelly product. Along the way the studio was positively distracted by many spirited culinary adventures.
Now, through the launch of Benham & Froud, the true wobbly calling has been rediscovered. While getting to this point there have been numerous quivering highlights…
Authoring the definitive book on making jellies aged 26, Jelly with Bompas & Parr.
Elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts for creative work with the medium of jelly.
Collaborating with Heston Blumenthal, Lord Foster and Lord Rogers to make jelly.
Making the world’s biggest jelly, over 50 tonnes, set around SS Great Britain.
Being barred from WIRED Live for using a series of IEDs to explode jellies.
Creating the world’s first food hologram - an image of Jesus set inside a jelly.
By a strange twist of fate St Paul’s Cathedral was the first architectural jelly mould made by Bompas & Parr to launch the Architectural Jelly Design Competition.
The orb and cross logo of Benham & Froud is drawn from their gilding of the cathedral’s finials.
A note on our hashtag
Whilst looking through the history of the company in the Metropolitan Archives we came across an invoice from 1891 which had the phrase ‘Telegrams –:“BENFRO, LONDON”’.
And, thinking of our future needs, the hashtag BENFRO was born.
with thanks to www.oldcopper.org for historical information