Who We Are

The Pilchard Works produces two different MSC certified sardine tins using traditional manufacturing techniques to bring out the wonderful taste of sustainable Cornish sardine stocks. From the moment of capture to the point where fish are processed by the cannery in Douarnenez, Brittany, every effort is made to get the best from the locally caught fish and the labours of the fishermen that catch them.

Ever wonder what the difference is between a sardine and a pilchard? Nothing. Both are Sardina Pilchardus, but the smaller fish tend to be called sardines and those over 15cm long called pilchards.

Our Tins

The Pilchard Works Tinned Pilchards

The Pilchard Works makes two varieties of sustainable sardine tins. High in Omega-3 oils and protein, our traditionally made tins are both tasty and healthy. Many people eat them right out of the tin or on toast as a quick snack.

Caught off the shores of Cornwall by small boats fishing for a few hours at a time, the fish are landed while as fresh as possible. Hauls are often caught within sight of Newlyn in Mount’s Bay. Sometimes a shoal is found so close to the harbour that people can watch the boats at work from the harbour quays, or you can usually see their lights flashing a little further out in the bay. The fish are only taken from the boats when in their best condition – a question of oil content in relation to the body weight of the fish.

At the cannery in Brittany the fish are hand sorted before the canning process begins. The fish are filleted and then flash-fried according to a process that has been developed and used since 1853 when our canners, the oldest sardine cannery in the world came into being. The tins are individually filled by hand before the sauce or marinade is added. The canning process uses a combination of the latest in processing equipment with the most traditional of methods to capture the best flavours. Finally, the tins are checked for content and quality by hand before being sealed.

The recipes used in our tinned fish products have been created exclusively for The Pilchard Works.  Whether preserved in extra virgin olive oil or rich tomato sauce, the flavour of the fish bursts through.

The Pilchard Works Sardines On Toast

Nutritional Information

Cornish Pilchard Fillets in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Per 100g drained product
Energy: 205 kcal / 855 kJ
Protein: 22g
Fats: 13g
Of which saturates: 3.3g
Of which Omega 3: 2.0g
Salt: 1.0g
Cornish pilchard fillets (80%)
Extra virgin olive oil (19%)
Cornish Pilchard Fillets in a rich Tomato Sauce
Per 100g product
Energy: 161 kcal / 673 kJ
Protein: 18g
Fats: 9.1g
Of which saturates: 2.6g
Of which Omega 3: 1.6g
Salt: 1.0g
Cornish pilchard fillets (75%)
Tomato paste (10%)
Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Onions,
Modified corn starch


Cornish sardines – or pilchards, which are just big sardines by another name – caught with traditional small nets by day boats, are my top choice (The Pilchard Works brand is my favourite) The Guardian – Tinned Fish Recipes

The Pilchard Works prides itself on staying true to traditional techniques, hand-grading, flash-frying and hand-filling its beautiful tins – as was the way with the first sardine cannery, back in 1853. These are delicious: a world away from those haunting memories of childhood teas.

I know few chefs who could resist a tin of decent sardines, simply mashed onto hot toast. My favourites are from The Pilchard Works

The tinned pilchards from The Pilchard Works in Cornwall are … good, sweet and succulent and so fine I just eat them straight out of the tin.

Where To Buy

At the Pilchard Works we manufacture and wholesale two different types of MSC certified Cornish Sardine / Pilchard fillet tins. Made in partnership with Britain’s oldest pilchard processors and Brittany’s oldest sardine cannery, we offer mature Cornish Sardines, canned in a traditional way to ensure the best possible taste. Our tins are decorated with Newlyn School paintings by Walter Langley and Frank Bramley.

We use Amazon to allow you to easily purchase 14 tins in a tray direct from us. The tray becomes the presentation display, ready to put on a shop shelf and show off the Newlyn School paintings on the front of the tins. Anyone is welcome to order any quantity of trays from us through our Amazon links below. All orders come with free super-saver delivery or next day delivery for Prime users. Users in most European countries are also able to order from these links too.

Wholesale Orders

If you have a larger order, or want to schedule repeat deliveries, you may be best contacting one of our wholesalers. Both varieties of tin are stocked by Cotswold Fayre in Reading, Westcountry Fruit Sales in Falmouth, Holley’s Fine Foods in Bristol and Taste Traders Ltd (formerly M&D Supplies) in North Wales.

Please contact us directly if you need any help and we will be happy to advise.

Cotswold FayreWestcountry Fruit SalesTaste Traders Ltd
River Barn

14 Tessa Road




Send Email

03452 60 60 60

The Distribution Centre

Higher Argal, Budock


TR11 5PE


Send Email

01326 372 304

41 Mochdre Industrial Estate



SY16 4LE


01686 622 967

Holley’s Fine Foods LtdSmith Sagar Ltd
Unit C, Poplar Park

Poplar Way East, Cabot Park

Avonmouth, Bristol

BS11 0DD


Send Email

0117 938 0084

New Smithfield Market

Whitworth Street East


M11 2WP


Send Email

0161 220 8818 / 07891 636 896

Individual Tins

If you would like to buy just one or a few tins, there are many places you can find them. Many delis around the country stock them along with Waitrose.

Various sellers on Amazon are also selling single tins, such as Simply Cornish Hampers

Waitrose stock the olive and tomato varieties. Use their online store finder to discover the true taste of Cornish fish near you.

You can also simply purchase packs of 14 for yourself from Amazon direct from us, as many happy customers already have.

About Us

Salted Pressed Pilchard Boxes

British Cured Pilchards Ltd or “The Pilchard Works”, as it is now more commonly known, started in 1905  to salt, press and export pilchards from Newlyn, Cornwall to Enrico Borzone in Italy. For over 450 years “Salacche Inglesi” – Cornish salt pilchards – was exported from Cornwall to Italy. As a mainly Catholic country with a necessity to eat fish on Friday, the humble salt pilchard filled the requirement without refrigeration.

In 1982 Nick Howell purchased British Cured Pilchards Ltd and still runs the business today. Traditional salt production continued in exactly the same way. In 1995 EU regulations saw The Pilchard Works capitalise on its traditions by opening as a working museum. We told the story of pilchard fishing and processing in Cornwall with visitors able to soak in the smells, sights and noise of the working salt pilchard pressing room. For 10 years we enjoyed greeting people from all over the world and even had two Royal visits from HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Andrew.

The Pilchard Works was the last remaining Cornish salt pilchard factory. It ceased salted fish production in 2005, but continues to make and sell two types of traditional, unsalted Cornish pilchard fillet tins. Our unique combination of the best Cornish fish and canning techniques perfected since 1853 ensure a wonderful taste.

Available individually from Waitrose and many delicatessens around the country, or in any quantity through our own Amazon store and from our wholesalers.

Salted Pilchard Casks

Contact Us

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British Cured Pilchards Ltd
“The Pilchard Works”

Registered Office:
Ker-avel, Rosehill, Penzance,
Cornwall. TR20 8TE
Tel: 01736 361700

Please use the form above for any queries you may have and we will reply promptly. We are always happy to help with any questions about our products and where to buy them.

VAT Registration Number: GB337229944

UK LTD Company Number: 1547757