Harborough Museum

Symington Foods

Symington Foods

William Symington travelled from his home in Dumfries, Scotland and settled in Market Harborough in 1827. A young businessman and inventor, he founded a company selling tea, coffee and groceries, in the streets around St Dionysius’s church. His first shop was a grocery in Adam and Eve Street and later the company opened a coffee roasting mill in Little Bowden.

In 1852, William invented dried pea flour that could be used for making soups and broths just by adding boiling water. It was enormously popular across the country and also during the Crimean War (1853 -1856) as soldiers had to fight and feed themselves in freezing conditions.

A selection of table creams, and powders produced by Symington Foods
A selection of table creams, and powders produced by Symington Foods.

Explorers also recognised the benefits of Symington’s dried foods and in 1901 the company supplied pea flour to Captain Scott’s Discovery Antarctic Expedition. Scott even wrote in his diary: ‘A lot can be done with the addition of a little boiled pea meal’ One of Scott’s food stores was actually discovered fifty years later and incredibly the supplies of Symington’s pea flour was found to be edible!

As well as pea flour, the company expanded the business to make soups, table creams, tea bags and other dried food, many of which you can see in Harborough Museum in the Heritage Gallery cases. Come and visit and see which is your favourite flavour!

A photograph of a monochrome print of William Symington.

Opening hours

Tuesday - Friday: 10am to 6pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Sunday - Monday: Closed

Free entry


Contact details

Tel: 0116 305 3627

Address: The Symington Building, Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT

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Logos for the partners of Harborough Museum including Harborough District Council, Leicestershire County Council, Market Harborough Historical Society and supported by Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity
The Symington Building logo
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