‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness’

128 years and millions of tins later, Lyle’s remains a sweet cupboard staple

When your ginger biscuit or flapjack recipe calls for a spoonful of syrup or treacle, there’s nothing quite like prizing open the shiny metal of a new tin and diving right in. Lyle’s Golden Syrup, with its iconic gold and green packaging and official Royal stamp of approval, has become one of the world’s best-loved baking brands and a cupboard staple for generations of home-cooks. Now, in line with worldwide Jubilee celebrations, it’s getting a ‘happy and glorious’ makeover as a limited edition tin.

It all started in 1883. After setting up his sugar refinery along the Thames, founder Abram Lyle discovered a wonderfully popular by product of his sugar cane refining process; the treacly syrup was affectionately nicknamed Goldie and sold to his employees and local customers from wooden casks.

The syrup became famed as a great sweetener and preserve for cooking and soon appeared on the shelves of London’s grocery stores. The logo, featuring the image of a lion carcass swarmed by bees stems from Abram Lyle’s religious beliefs, referencing a story in the Old Testament in which Samson killed a lion, and then saw that bees had formed a honeycomb in the lion’s carcass. The bible references Samson’s words that also feature on the tin…“Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.

Due to a mass shortage of metal during World War I, the syrup was encased in thick cardboard yet packaging has witnessed only minor changes and The Guinness Book of Records now recognizes the syrup as the world’s oldest brand.

In 1950, its red and black sister Black Treacle arrived, welcoming in a distinctively rich new taste for hand-made toffee, tarts, Christmas cakes and flapjacks. Yet it’s the syrup that pops up time and time again; the sweet glue that binds it all. Good Housekeeping’s Biscuits and Cookies (1955) tell us to warm a spoonful or three with lard and sugar to kick-start some ginger biscuit men, knead into the perfect parkin mixture or stir into lemon juice for some sweet and zesty wafer biscuits.

I like to let a dollop melt in my porridge. I know it’s technically spring-time but while the clouds still loom this remains the ultimate breakfast warmer. Try this slightly boozy old Scots recipe for Cream Crowdie dessert…

Cream Crowdie


50g medium oatmeal

3 tbsp whisky

300ml double cream

350g raspberries

4 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup


1. Place the oatmeal in a grill pan (without the rack) and toast until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Leave for about 15 minutes to cool.

2. Whip the cream until standing in soft peaks. Stir in the Lyle’s Golden Syrup, whisky and cooled toasted oatmeal. Reserve a few raspberries for decoration, then layer the remaining raspberries and cream mixture in four glasses.

As official supplier to the King in 1922, the syrup earned itself a Royal warrant which remains today. Here’s the new tin limited edition in its Jubilee glory but fear not, for the lion will be back soon!

Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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