Started in 1853 by Elizabeth King. The King’s were distinguished butchers and bakers who had a shop in the old market square in Nottingham. Mrs. King’s was well known as the place to go for baked goods.
By 1853 Elizabeth had set up in business in Lister Gate and had immediate clientele for her sausages and pork pies. After two years she moved to larger premises in Beastmarket Hill where her next door neighbour was Mr. John Player who was selling cigars and tobacco.
Her business prospered and she left it to her niece, who then, upon retirement entrusted it to Mr. John Freckingham, later Sheriff and Mayor of Nottingham. Succeeded by his son Eric, who then invited Kenneth Parr to join him in carrying on the tradition.
In the 1960s, Ken Parr, a master pie baker who owned local bakery, Pork Farms – purchased the brand. Pork Farms had seven shops in Nottingham. The original Mrs. King’s shop closed but a dedicated Mrs. King’s counter was added into each of the Pork Farms shops around Nottingham. Mrs. King’s pork pies were still seen as the best around.
The Hartland brothers, Paul, Ian and Neil joined the business in 1984, learning their trade from Ken Parr (who was the Grandfather of Paul’s wife, Sarah). They then took over the business. They were manufacturing pies first in Cropwell Bishop in Nottinghamshire, and then Cotgrave where the bakery operated until 2019. Still working to a traditional recipe, the pies were hand raised and then frozen for customers to buy and bake at home. As demand grew and the Hartland’s took the pies out to local shows and events, they moved to selling fully baked pies, ready to eat.
In the 1990s, the Hatland’s were busy promoting the Mrs. King’s brand at lots of food fairs and made friends with celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and The 2 Fat Ladies. The 2 Fat Ladies invited Mrs. King’s down to Borough Market to set-up a stall. The brothers jumped at the opportunity, slept in their van overnight and sold out the next day.
Mrs. King’s soon picked up a permanent stall at Borough Market and have been a fixture there ever since. Retail buyers from the likes of Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Forman & Field along with local delis and shops from London became aware of the brand at Borough and listed it in their stores. London has become a home for Mrs. King’s where it’s known as the premium pork pie brand.
Samworth Brothers purchased the brand in 2017. Manufacturing moved into Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray in 2019 with the Hartland brothers still involved. Paul Hartland retired around this time and his brother Neil is now our Master Baker.