Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,450 pages of information and 233,880 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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November 1946.

Tetley, a fully-owned subsidiary of Tata Tea Limited, is the world's second largest manufacturer and distributor of tea. Owned by India's Tata Group, Tetley's manufacturing and distribution business is spread across 40 countries and sells over 60 branded tea bags. It is the largest tea company in the United Kingdom and Canada and the second largest in the United States by volume.

1822 Two brothers, Joseph and Edward Tetley started to sell salt from a pack horse in Yorkshire.

1837 They started to sell tea as well and became such a success that they set up as tea merchants, Joseph Tetley and Co.

1856 The brothers relocated to London and set up Joseph Tetley and Company, Wholesale Tea Dealers.

1871 Joseph Tetley Jnr joined the business.

By 1888 Tetley Tea had expanded into the USA.

1889 Joseph Tetley Jnr took over the business after the death of his father.

1913 Tetley Tea plants were established in New York.

1930s Tetley persisted with the idea of tea-bags despite them only amounting to about 5% of the Tetley Tea company sales.

1953 Tetley was the first company that launched tea in tea-bags in the United Kingdom.

1995 The Tetley Group was created in July as a result of a buy-in management buy-out, when a group of investors bought this world-wide beverage business from Allied Domecq.

2000 The Tetley Group was purchased by India's Tata Group in February for £271m. It was one of the largest overseas acquisitions by an Indian company at that time. Tata Group is one of India's business conglomerates which encompass more than 90 companies including Tata Tea. The acquisition has greatly helped Tata Tea's business ambitions to become a global tea company. Moreover, as India continues to reduce import duties on tea, Tata Tea was able offset its reduced share in domestic market by its gains in Europe and North America. After Tetley was purchased by the Tata Group, most of its business in Asia has been integrated with Tata Tea. The new merged group, Tata Tea Group, is the second largest tea brand in the world after Unilever.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] Tea Infusion
  • [3] Tetley UK website