Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Minerals as in pop

Jewsbury & Brown
The advert is for J and B Mineral Waters by the veritable Manchester institution of Jewsbury and Brown who had their main factory and laboratories at Ardwick Green. It was a short walk around the corner to the M and S Equitable Co-Op's head office and central stores on Downing Street, Manchester. The Victorian building remains reduced to the three storeys from the glory of five storeys.

They sold aerated waters, colloquially we call it "pop", soda water, ginger beer and cordials throughout Lancashire. It merged into Schweppes in 1964. Their old bottles and other memorabilia are sought after by collectors of such ephemera.

Jewsbury & Brown
Henry Jewsbury and Mr. Whitelow were two young chemists and druggists who went into partnership in 1826. Mr. Jewsbury was then 23 years old. They had a shop at 52 Market Street, and later moved into newly built premises at 113 Market Street. They supplied the booming city of Manchester with non-alcoholic drinks, medications and perfumes.

To thirsty souls the name be ever dear
Of Jewsbury's "Celebrated Ginger Beer;"
And let the meed of cool-tongu'd praise be paid
To Whitelow's "effervescing lemonade"

The partnership was dissolved in 1846, with Mr. Whitelow going to Liverpool. Mr. Jewsbury formed a partnership with their apprentice William Scott Brown. Business was good the company sold drinks in Lancashire and beyond. They also made a celebrated "Oriental Tooth Paste", distributed and advertised thoughout Britain and the Empire.

Now a couple of chemists putting carbon dioxide into water isn't that strange. It was pioneering chemists, as in scientists, with their experiments into gases that started this fizzy drinks industry.

You have to go back to Joseph Priestley in Leeds with his 'Directions for Impregnating Water with Fixed Air' in 1772. They had yet to understand the concept of carbon dioxide. Thomas Henry a Manchester apothecary developed a method of carbonating water in 1781 and had a recipe to produce an artifical version of Pyrmont (Germany) spa water. His son William Henry MD FRS was the first to produce a carbonated mineral water in Manchester in 1802. It took place in a narrow street off Deansgate called Cupid's Alley, now called Atkinson Street.

Now to make some points :
i) Co-operative written history tends to overlook the fact that the local Co-Op store has always sold brands other than produced in CWS factories. The CWS factories overshadow your Pears soap, Gales honey and your J&B mineral waters.

ii) Whilst researching this I discovered that bottled waters and non-alcoholic fizzy drinks have a complex history. We think of selling bottled water in Britain as a recent fashion but for the middle class customer it has been purchased since the 19th Century. J and B were selling Stretton Hills spring water from near Church Stretton, Shropshire. This was first bottled in 1883.

iii) There were local manufacturers is a theme that runs through the history of the soft drink industry.
Now the regional companies have virtually disappeared to be overtaken by multi-national corporations which spend serious big money on international promotions - the likes of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola. A.G.Barr can still claim to be associated with Scotland. Founded in 1875 in Falkirk, and makers of Irn-Bru since 1901, originally called Iron Brew. They also now own "Tizer" a distinctive red-coloured fizzy drink that was first made in Manchester in 1924.

Carbonated water, sugar, carbon-dioxide and something the makers always claim are secret ingredients add up to billion pound industry. A long way from some pharmacists bottling their wondrous brews.

Adverts :
Advert from Manchester and Salford Co-operative Herald page 321, 1932
Older advert of Jewsbury and Brown's building in Ardwick is from 'A Practical Cook Book', circa 1890-1900. It is a battered and tatty slim volume and was published in Manchester. A treasured old book in the archives.

References - hey you can do this for yourself:
1. The Races (1823) a poem in 'Gimrackiana or Fugitive Pieces of Manchester', John Stanley Gregson published in Manchester in 1833. Here.

Reminiscences of Manchester Fifty Years Ago (1881) J.T.Slugg. Here

The Victorian Society in Manchester Spring Newsletter 2011 PDF which has an article about Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury, a successful Mancunian novelist, contemporary of Elizabeth Gaskill, and sister of Henry Jewsbury. You can download her romantic fiction in e-books formats for free.

Have a look at Jewsbury & Brown shop in 1880 at the Manchester Libraries Image Archive.

Bottled Water, Spas, and Early Water Chemistry (PDF)

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