Jul 28 2014

Ginger Beer Collection

Dorset, Wiltshire, & The Isle Of Wight Ginger Beer Collection…..

I thought I would share my passion for my new collecting field of ginger beers from Dorset, Wiltshire & The Isle Of Wight, although im keeping the Wiltshire side to mainly Salisbury & Trowbridge. The main aim of this collection is Dorset bottles but as these are quite hard to find these days I decided to broaden it to the other areas mentioned to keep the interest alive, living in the town of Poole in Dorset these would be my main interest…


Mar 4 2013

Groves & Whitnall Of Salford

Groves & Whitnall was founded by William Peer Grimble Groves, his eldest son, William Grimble Groves and his son’s friend, Arthur William Whitnall. Together they raised the £9000 required to purchase the Regent Road Brewery in Salford from Messrs Bathe and Newbold in 1868. From the outset, the partners were determined to make the brewery the most successful in the district. Arthur Whitnall reasoned that the brewery would prosper if it produced the finest ales and beers. He proceeded to find the best beer in the Manchester and Salford district by personally tasting them all ! This was no mean feat as there were approximately 80 breweries in operation at this time. He finally selected the ales produced by Beaumont & Heathcote in Chorlton on Medlock in Manchester . He approached the brewer, Mr Hill , and was able to persuade him to join Groves & Whitnall. In 1875, Mr Hill started producing ales for Groves & Whitnall. Arthur Whitnall’s faith in Mr Hill was soon paying dividends. Groves & Whitnall’s beers began to enjoy an excellent reputation, so much so, that there was a waiting list of would-be-customers. When Groves & Whitnall started up in 1868, they had no tied houses. By 1888 48 licensed outlets were being supplied. By 1898, there were 309 freehold and long leasehold licensed houses, 282 licensed houses on short leases and 748 dwelling houses.


In 1885, a decision was made to enter into the mineral water business. This resulted in the formation of Leigh & Co headed by Charles Henry Leigh, a subsidiary that became wholly owned by Groves & Whitnall by 1899. The enterprising zeal which had set the brewery on the road to success was now focussed on the bottling trade. The new company chose to order mainly light amber glass bottles, which were embossed with the Globe trade mark (the new works went by the name of Globe Works). Coloured glass bottles were more expensive to buy than the usual aqua glass variety. However, as with the brewing of beer, only the best was good enough fro Groves & Whitnall. No doubt the amber glass bottles full of mineral waters would have been an impressive site in a district where only green and aqua bottle were used. The business of Leigh & Co prospered and became one of the largest in the district. In 1899, Groves & Whitnall became a limited company. It was decided to incorporate Leigh & Co entirely into the business. From 1899, all bottles were embossed Groves & Whitnall limited, though the bottles used continued to be in shades of amber. 1899 also saw the acquisition of J Cronshaw’s Alexandra Brewery Manchester, The rapid growth and success of the company slowed considerably after the turn of the century. In 1914, with the outbreak of World War One, the company lost most of its fleet of new lorries as the government of the day commandeered transport. World War Two was to have an even greater impact! On 22nd December 1940 , the brewery offices were destroyed in the Manchester Blitz. The following night, a landmine destroyed much of the mineral plant at Globe works. The war ended, and the brewery returned to normal life. Jewsbury & Brown kept the company supplied with mineral waters due to the war-time destruction of the Globe works. Through the 1950′s some smaller companies were acquired. Groves & Whitnall looked set to celebrate 100 years as an independent brewer. However in 1961, the company became part of the Greenall Whitley Empire, and the name of Groves & Whitnall passed into history.


Fortunately for collectors, the name of Groves & Whitnall lives on, through the many pieces of breweriana that were once used by the brewery and its many tied houses. Such items were once part and parcel of everyday life, like the various bottles, ashtrays, bar jugs and match strikers. There are a large number of Groves & Whitnall bottles, many in collectable amber glass. The choicest example here must be the beautiful honey amber codd bottle embossed with a hand and arrow trade mark. This was used by Groves & Whitnall Hulme but the trade mark once belonged to Cronshaw of Manchester, s accompany absorbed in 1899. A whole range of jugs, match strikers, ashtrays etc bear the name Groves & Whitnall. In 1918, the company celebrated 50 years in business, and match strikers are known , which commemorate this event. In common with many other breweries, Groves had their own “house brand” of whisky for selling at their various outlets. This blend was known by the name G.O.H for short, or Grand Old Highland to give it the full title. Several artefacts have been discovered advertising this blend of whisky, including what is probably Salford ‘s one and only whisky jug. Advertising cards, bottle openers, old labels and old glasses for Groves can also be found. Over a period of  one hundred years, three totally different trade marks were used. The first was the representation of the earth or Globe ,. The second was the hand and arrow trade mark. Last but not least was the Red Rose, seemingly used from about the onset of World War Two. .Groves & Whitnall was a very large and important brewery and presently, we have probably only seen a small fraction of the breweriana that may be available to collectors.

To find out even more about Groves & Whitnall, its founders, and its history visit The Globe Collector, A History Of Groves & Whitnall

Feb 26 2013

Strong & Co Of Romsey


Strong & Co Of Romsey, A Brief History……



The Horsefair Brewery had been in operation many years before it was acquired by David Faber. Details of its early history are a little uncertain, but it is known that in the last quarter of the 18th century the partners owning the brewery were Richard Trodd, who was Mayor of Romsey in 1 778, and Thomas Hall I. The Trodds seem to have been the senior partners, and were said originally to have been maltsters at Cupernham.Apparently Thomas Hall I died sometime before 1795, when his share descended to his nephew Thomas Hall II. The latter and Richard Trodd both died in 1796 when the business was carried on by William Trodd, son of Richard, and Sarah Hall, widow of Thomas Hall II. Unfortunately William died in 1803 leaving only minor children, and there was considerable litigation between the heirs of the Trodds and Halls until 1811, when Sarah died. Consequent upon an Order by the Court of Chancery in August 1811, the Trodd interest was bought out, and the brewing business passed into the hands of two brothers, Thomas Hall III and Charles John Hall, the sons of Thomas Hall II. The heir of the Trodds, William Stewart Trodd, the grandson of Richard, having converted his share of the brewery into cash, seems to have decided that money was for spending, and in this was highly successful. Poor William soon found, as did so many before and since his time, that it was much easier to spend money than to acquire it, and after some exciting and hopeful ventures with racehorses, went bankrupt. His love of horses then led him to obtain employment as the driver of a stage coach. But even this did not seem to last very long, and he is said to have ended his days as a gatekeeper in the employ of the London and South Western Railway at Crampmoor Crossing.

The partnership between Thomas and Charles John Hall lasted until Christmas 1834, when the elder brother retired, leaving Charles John Hall as the sole owner of the business. This he carried on successfully until 1858, when he retired and leased the Brewery with 23 licensed houses to Thomas Strong. He retained the ownership until his death in 1870, when his widow Catherine Hall inherited. After her death in 1875 all the properties were sold in that year by her heirs, Charles Loddington Hall and his wife Emily Hall, to Sir Edward Bates M.P. In July 1883 Sir Edward Bates sold the Brewery and attached houses to Thomas Strong, so that once again ownership and occupation were united. Thomas Strong died three years later, and it was then that the Brewery was acquired by David Faber.



The Bell Street Brewery premises were occupied from 1740 to 1819 by three generations of a family named Comley, but it is not certain when they started to brew, as they were originally maltsters. Thomas Comleyy 1st leased the original premises in 1740 from a family named Wale, and purchased them four years later for £267 .10. Od. His son, John Comley, succeeded, and from him the business passed to the grandson Thomas Comley 2nd, who died in 1819. The latter left his property in trust, desiring that the business should be maintained until his children were 21 years of age, when they were to have the option of taking it over. Charles John Hall, as surviving Trustee, continued the business until 1847, although it seems to have been managed by the Southampton Brewer, William Aldridge. When it was found that all the children refused their option of taking over the business, it was sold to Josiah George the younger, who conducted the Brewery until his death in 1862. The business was managed for some time by the Executors, and was eventually acquired by his nephews, William Bentley George the younger and Samuel Cartwright George, who traded under the style of George Brothers. In 1872 Samuel Cartwright George retired, and 14 years later the business was bought by David Faber. The “Comley” ledger formerly preserved at Horsefair, relates to the period 1770-1788 and shows that the Comleys had a considerable trade over a wide area around Romsey – Victuallers at Gosport, Whiteparish, Winchester etc., being mentioned, as well as local notabilities such as Sir Jacob Woolfe at Melchet Park.



It is not known when this Brewery was founded, but that there was a Brewery in the Hundred in 1781 maybe seen from an advertisement in the “Winchester and Salisbury Journal”, when it was stated to be lately in the occupation of Messrs. Pulling and Rant, common brewers. This Brewery was said to be near the turnpike gate at the junction of the Winchester an& Botley roads, but whether it was identical with Cressey’s Brewery purchased by David Faber in 1886 is not clear. Cressey’s Brewery was certainly in existence in 1855, when it was owned by Mrs. Sarah Jesser who leased it to her son, Alfred Pitt Jesser and her son-in-law, Francis Cressey. Sarah Jesser died in 1864 and left her interest in equal shares to her son and daughter, but the son died in 1865, and Francis Cressey took over control. After the death of Francis Cressey in 1873, the Brewery was managed by his son, Francis Jesser Cressey, but the death of the latter at an early age, and the litigation among the heirs of Sarah Jesser, led to the sale to David Faber in 1886. It is interesting to note that yet another Romsey brewery was merged with Cressey’s, for in 1855 Jesser and Cressey purchased the “newly erected brewery” of William George Lawes, which was situated in Church Street. This property had an interesting history, for it stood on the site of a former mansion of the Marquis of Lansdowne which had been burned down in 1826, and a malthouse belonging to one William Tarver. The Lansdowne property had been developed by a Romsey brewer, Joseph Humby, but later came into the hands of William Lawes, a maltster, the grandfather of William George Lawes, who greatly extended it. After the purchase by Jesser and Cressey the Brewery became redundant, and was used only as a public house, the “Lansdowne Arms”.


The Growth Of Strong’s…….



The early development of Strong’s was divided into three main groups, Romsey, Weyhill and Christchurch. Within two years of absorbing George’s and Cressey’s of Romsey, David Faber acquired Gibbon’s Brewery of Weyhill, and a year later King’s Brewery of Christchurch.

Weyhill near Andover was famous for many centuries for its fair, which was referred to as Wy Fair by Piers Plowman, and during Fair time places of refreshment must have abounded. Many of these were temporary booths erected for the duration of the Fair, but being situated at the junction of eight ancient drove ways across the Downs no doubt led to the permanent establishment of inns and alehouses. It is probable that from one of these the original Weyhill Brewery started, although nothing very definite seems to be known about it until a century ago, when it was owned by Charles Child. He sold it in 1878 to a London Distiller, George Gibbons, who pursued an active policy of development. It appears to have been Gibbons who brought into the Weyhill group two smaller local breweries, one at Chilbolton which had been conducted for some years by a family named Tilbury, and the other at East Cholderton, which was owned by a family with the curious name of Wonfor. When in 1888 George Gibbons ran into financial difficulties, his Brewery at Weyhill together with 27 “licensed” houses were purchased by David Faber. Six years later, when Strong’s became a Limited Company, the Weyhill division controlled fifty houses. The old Weyhill Brewery building is still in existence, but it is now occupied as a school.





The Christchurch Breweries have a long and interesting history, and it is a pity that lack of accurate information makes it difficult to tell the whole story. In the latter half of the 18th century there were two brewing businesses in Christchurch, each with several “licensed” houses. One was conducted by John Cook and the other by William Mitchell and William Wing Mitchell. John Cook appears to have been the most enterprising, and erected a new brewhouse in Dolphin Lane, but after his death some of his houses were sold off in 1793 by his widow, Susannah Cook, to the Mitchells. The Cooks must have been prominent citizens of Christchurch, for one of the Executors of Susannah Cook was George Rose, the famous Secretary of the Treasury who was a faithful friend of Pitt and the “Old George Rose” castigated by Cobbett. The new brewery of John Cook, called the Mansion Brewery, and the remaining “licensed” houses were sold in 1796 to the Portsea Distiller, Sir Samuel Spicer, who conveyed them in 1819 to his brother, John Spicer. Spicer sold out in 1834 to John Peerman, who extended his operations, but went bankrupt. The Mansion Brewery then passed to Henry Rowden who sold it in 1845 to Joseph and James King, they being already established as Brewers in Christchurch. The Kings were originally Brewers in Poole, Dorset, but had moved into Christchurch in 1832 when they purchased the brewery previously owned by the Mitchells. William Wing Mitchell had sold his Brewery in 1796 to John Elliott, who sold in 1814 to Ambrose Daw and William Blake. It was the latter’s successor, Thomas Daw, who sold in 1832 to the brothers Joseph and James King of Poole. James King moved to Christchurch to manage the Christchurch side of the business, and by the absorption of the Mansion Brewery in 1845, the Kings established themselves as the leading local Brewers. Both the brothers died in 1852, when the Christchurch business passed to Joseph King, son of James King. For thirty years Joseph King conducted it, but dying unmarried in 1882, control passed to his half brother, John King, who bought out the interests of his brothers and sisters. Nine years later he sold to David Faber.


WETHEREDS, 1945 to 1969…

In 1949 Strong’s business was further strengthened by the acquisition of the well-known brewers Thomas Wethereds & Sons Ltd., a Company which (like Strong’s itself) dates back to the 18th Century. Wethereds Marlow Brewery is thought to have been built in 1758. It was not, however, acquired by Thomas Withered (who had inherited his father George’s brewing business at Marlow) until 1788. That was the year when Thomas leased from one William Clayton premises described as “formerly Miss Freeman’s Boarding School and the Three Tunes Tavern”. Eight years later, when Thomas bought the freehold, mention is made of a “new brewhouse”. That was the start of the business which was to grow into Thomas Wethered & Sons Ltd. The sons were Owen and Lawrence William, who carried on the brewery after Thomas’s retirement in 1845. He died four years later. The business stayed in the hands of the family until it became a limited liability company in 1899, with Owen Peel Wethered, a grandson of Thomas, as Chairman. The start of the 20th century saw big developments in Wethereds. A new bottlery, fermenting room, chimney shaft and electric light plant were installed. Mechanical transport by small steam traction engines towing trailers was instituted in 1905, and six years later petrol lorries were introduced. Over the years, Wethereds expanded and took in other breweries. Birds of Reading was acquired in 1913, adding nine licensed houses to Wethereds properties, and in 1927 Williams’ Royal Stag Brewery at Wooburn, with 35 licensed houses, was bought.The 1949 merger with Strong’s was followed a year later by the acquisition of Stranges’ Aldermaston Brewery, with about 50 licensed houses. In 1953 Higgs Lion Brewery at Reading was acquired, adding a further eight licensed houses.



The final addition to the Strong’s group came in 1965 with the purchase of W. B. Mew, Langton & Co. Ltd., of Newport, Isle of Wight. The Mew family were brewers at Newport from the early 17th century, and by the end of the 18th, Mew & Co. owned prosperous breweries both at Newport and Lymington, Hants. They had a large Army canteen trade, and extended their branches to Aldershot, London, Malta, and the Mediterranean, and even to India and China. In the 19th century Walter Langton became a partner of the Mew Brothers, William Baron and Joseph, and Charles Templeman Mew, William Baron Mew’s eldest son. The final accolade for the firm came in 1850 with the granting of a Royal Warrant to supply Queen Victoria when she was in residence at Osborne.

The firm became a limited liability company in 1887, and continued to expand. A new malthouse was built in 1898, with the latest method of pneumatic malting, and the manufacture of mineral waters was begun in a brand new factory. After the First World War further expansion took place, bringing new houses and plant, and adding a tobacconist’s business in 1931. When Mew, Langton merged with Strong’s in 1965, it brought the groups total of licensed houses to 920. The Chairman of Mew, Langton & Co. Ltd, Lt. Col. Francis T. Mew, M.A., T.D., L.R.I.B.A., became a Director of Strong’s in 1965.



On Friday 26th June 1981 an era came to an end. At approximately 5.45 am 36 quarters of ABM malt were mashed and the final brew at the ROMSEY brewery was begun. Ironically it was not Strong’s Special Ale or Black Bess stout not even Strong Country Bitter but the ubiquitous Whitbread Trophy that was being made. This final brew, Gyle numbers 251 & 252,was fermented in FV’s 35 and 36. The following week it was racked, filtered and kegged. It was the end of an era. All future beers would be brewed at the Portsmouth brewery and the plant at Romsey would subsequently be destroyed. This ended 123 years of constant brewing in Romsey. The site lingered on for about another 5 years taking in rough beer for filtration and kegging. (Bottling had ceased in April 1981). The site finally closed in 1987.

Information taken from http://www.pgsclassof77.co.uk/strongs.htm



Feb 20 2013

The Arctic Lid Dig of 1987

Theres always that moment when digging when you find a damaged item and think “what might have been” this story dates back to 1987 & a dig on a site in Poole, Dorset, a small strip of land had been cleared due to the demolition of some old railway cottages to make way for a new road & entrance into a planned supermarket, on digging was found to date to around 1880 when the cottages were built, this small site proved hard digging with a mixture of ash, brick rubble & glass but produces some amazing early finds.

But by far the most exciting find from the site were 3 fragments of an unrecorded pictorial tooth paste pot lid simply marked “Arctic Tooth Paste” with none of the fragments matching to make a complete lid, during the rest of the dig no other fragments or complete lids were ever found, with the latest technology during 2012 a photo of the 2 closest matching halves were sent to a collector who used his Photoshop skills to fill in the blanks and create the image of a complete lid below, I think you will agree this would rate as one of the UK’s most desirable monochrome pictorial lids.


A few other notable finds were as below…..

  • Warner’s Safe Kidney & Liver Cure, Rochester NY.
  • Dorset Mitchell’s Patent Mineral Bottle.
  • Rare Sepia Print Cow Pictorial Cylinder Cream. (Broken While Digging)
  • Bulb Neck Dorset Mineral Codd’s, 6 & 10oz.
  • Various Sizes Of Holloway’s Ointment Lids & Pots.
  • Tea Kettle & Snail Ink Bottles.

The entire site was only approx 80×20 feet and took a week to dig out and would now be in the center of the road shown below, although such a small size this was bar far one of the most exciting digs I’ve ever taken part in, it was more about quality than quantity.


Feb 12 2013

Moorhouse’s Brewery, Burnley, Lancs

When William Moorhouse founded Moorhouse’s in 1865, in premises not far from the present production site, on the opposite side of Accrington Road, he produced mineral waters, which were sold in bottles and half-gallon jars.

By 1870 the business was doing so well that William decided to build his own premises and relocated to the building that we occupy today. This brewery was purpose-built as a drinks-manufacturing site, with the terraced houses on either side being added later to house workers and members of the Moorhouse family. In its original layout, incorporated into the brewery buildings were the stables in which the delivery dray horses were kept.

William died leaving two sons, one of which, Thomas, took over the running of the company. In 1904 an exploding bottle seriously injured him. He never recovered from this accident and later died of his injuries. His elder brother took over Moorhouse’s and developed the Hop Bitters – Old Kent Mild, Old Peter Stout, and Old Boss Bitter – which won two exhibition awards. These Hop Bitters were low in alcohol, less than 2% abv, and deemed to be “non-intoxicating liquours”. They were sold on draught in Temperance bars throughout the North-West and exported in bottles throughout the world, selling particularly well in Muslim countries, where alcohol is banned.

In the 1930’s a decision was made to concentrate on the Hop Bitters sales and production, and so the Minerals side of the business was sold to Thwaites of Blackburn.

The company remained in the hands of the Moorhouse Family until 1978 when it was sold by its last surviving member, Thomas Fawcett.

When Tom Fawcett sold the company, he sold the brewery premises, the brewery plant and the recipe for Hop Bitters. He refused to pass on the recipes for the other products and soft drinks, stating that they were family recipes and as he had no family to pass these on to, they would go with him to the grave. The one recipe that he did pass on was for a Shandy concentrate that is still produced to this day.




He also insisted that, as part of the sale agreement, he would remain on the brewery payroll for the rest of his life. As the new owners were keen to acquire the business and premises and were aware that Tom was 73 at the time and not in the best of health, they agreed. He died in 1995 aged 90!

The purchaser in 1978 was a local builder named Michael Ryan, who had an interest in producing “real ale”. This was no doubt driven by the standard of some of the mass-produced beers available at that time, and it was at this point that Moorhouse’s produced an “alcoholic” beer for the first time, Premier Bitter.

Within twelve months of buying the company, Mr Ryan discovered he couldn’t make it viable and so sold the business on. During the course of the next two years the brewery changed hands four times, with each successive owner failing to make the venture profitable. At this time the brewery was struggling to sell ten barrels of beer a week.

In 1982 a local businessman, Alan Hutchinson, bought the business. Mr Hutchinson owned a chain of Hotels, Bingo Halls and Night Clubs and used the brewery as an independent supplier to his retail estate. With a new brewer in situ and a new brand introduced, Pendle Witches Brew, brewery production grew steadily to a level of 25 barrels of beer a week.

Unfortunately Mr Hutchinson died quite suddenly in 1985 and his business empire was bought en bloc by Apollo Leisure. While the Hotels and Bingo Halls fitted in quite well with the new owner’s existing business, there was little desire to run a small brewery in Burnley, and Moorhouse’s was once again faced with extinction.

Workers at the brewery had already been issued with their redundancy notices when a Manchester businessman, William Parkinson, tried a pint of Pendle Witches Brew during the course of a business lunch. Being originally from Burnley he made enquiries at the bar as he had never heard of the brand before. On being told by the barman of the company’s imminent closure, Mr. Parkinson then made a number of enquiries and within seven days had purchased the brewery.

Since then he has invested significantly in the business, with a new brew plant being installed in 1988 and a new warehouse / distribution depot added in 1995. These additions and improvements have given the brewery the capacity to produce 220 barrels of beer a week, and the installation of more fermenting vessels has increased capacity to 400 barrels a week. There are currently plans underway to treble this capacity by 2010.

The company has six pubs of its own; two in Burnley – The General Scarlett and The Stanley; The Dusty Miller in Bury; The Pendle Witch in Atherton; The Craven Heifer in Rawtenstall; and the Rising Sun in Blacko. In addition to supplying its own outlets, Moorhouse’s supplies beers to approx. 300 Free Trade outlets within a 50-mile radius of the brewery and enjoys national distribution through a comprehensive wholesale network.

Three of Moorhouse’s products are available in bottle, Blond Witch, Pendle Witches Brew and Black Cat. Both are available through Morrisons and Booths. In addition to these domestic sales, the bottles are exported to Canada, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden and Cyprus. Exports to the USA also include Blond Bitch and Owd Ale. Pendle Witches Brew is also brewed under license in Cyprus.

Moorhouse’s now employs in excess of 50 full and part-time employees, almost half of whom are employed directly at the brewery.

Over the years Moorhouse’s beers have won numerous awards at beer festivals up and down the Country. In addition to these Moorhouse’s beers have gained recognition at the Brewing Industry International Awards, the “Oscars” of the brewing industry. This award ceremony takes place every two years and the prizes are keenly fought over by breweries from around the world. In April 2004, Moorhouse’s walked away with a clutch of awards.

Jan 19 2013

Cannington Shaw Glass Works

The towns (St Helens) pre-eminence as a glass making centre was further emphasised by the rapid development of local bottle making. This branch of the industry started to expand rapidly about 1870 and in the following 30 years the three firms at St Helens made great progress. By 1889 Cannington, Shaw and Company were employing 870 people at their Sherdley Glass Works, Nuttall and Co. at Ravenhead, 450, and Lyon Brothers of the Peasley Glass Works about 200 (ref source 1) Lyon Brothers became a limited company in 1886 with a share capital of £60,000 (ref source 2) They attempted to reduce the wages in the following year by introducing foreign workmen whom they brought over specially from Sweden. The arrival of the Swedes was the signal for a strike of the local bottle makers and within a fortnight the foreign contingent was on its way home again, its repatriation having been financed by the bottle makers union (ref source 3) Lyon Brothers Ltd showed a loss of £200 on this year’s working and the deficit grew to £2,600 in 1888 (ref source 4) In October, 1890, the Lyons finally admitted defeat and went out of business, their Peasley Glass works being purchased by Cannington, Shaw and Company (ref source 5) In 1892, when Cannington, Shaw acquired limited liability with a share capital of £250,000 (ref source 6) they were employing 1,188 men and women (ref source 7) it was described later in the same year as the largest works of its kind in the world (ref source 8)

Although bottle making machinery had already by the end of the 1880′s reached the stage when it could be used commercially, the Lancashire bottle makers resolutely refused to countenance it’s introduction into their district. When in 1897 Cannington, Shaw and Co finally decided to install machinery at Sherdley, the union at first forbad its members to work in the factory. But it was a little late in the day for such demonstrations. Negotiations followed, and three months afterwards the union agreed to the introduction of bottle making machines “so long as they are not injurious to us as workmen” (ref source 9) This new machinery caused the proprietor of a local engineering firm to enter the bottle industry. John Foster, who had served his apprenticeship at Robinson and Cook’s and had been in business on his own account as iron founder and engineer first at Grove Street and then in Atlas Street, obtained the British rights for a semi – automatic bottle making machine. The bottle manufacturers, however, were very reluctant to use it, so Foster, rather than admit defeat, erected one in part of his works. The venture proved a great success, so much so, in fact, that he was later able to take over the vacant Union Plate glass works nearby for bottle making purposes.


Reference Sources…

A Merseyside Town 1870 – 1900.

1. St Helens Lantern 15,22 March 1889.
2. St Helen N 23 Jan 1886.
3. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade, St Helen Lantern 3 February 1887.
4. St Helens Lantern 31 October 1890.
5. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade.
6. Chem Trade Journal 13 February 1892.
7. Royal Commission on Labour Group C 1892
8. Chem Trade Journal 12 March 1892.
9. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade.


Ref Source London Gazette 27th May 1913

The Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908
Cannington, Shaw And Company Limited.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above named Company, duly convened, and held at Sherdley Glass Works, St Helens, on the 2nd day of May 1913, the following Special Resolution was duly passed ; and at a subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting of the said Company, also duly convened and held at the same address, on the 19th day of May, 1913, the following Special Resolution was duly confirmed, namely :–

“That for the purpose of reconstitution the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that John Schofield Cannington, of Exchange Chamber, Liverpool, a director of the Company, be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding up”

Dated this 21st day of May, 1913.
J.S Cannington, Chairman.


Ref Source London Gazette

Nuttall And Co (St Helens) Limited.

On account of the recent amalgamation and for the purpose of reconstitution it has been resolved that Nuttall and Co. (St Helens) Limited be wound up.

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to section 188 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908, that a Meeting of the creditors of Nuttall and Co (St Helens) Limited will be held at the offices of the Company, St Helens, on Thursday, the 26th day of June, 1913, at 11 o’clock in the forenoon, for the purposes provided for the said section.

Dated the 14th day of June, 1913.
Fred W. Marsh, Liquidator.


Other Notes.

Cannington, Shaw & Company Limited joined together in 1913 with Nuttall & Company, Alfred Alexander & Company and Robert Cavendish & Son, to form The United Glass Bottle Manufacturers – U.G.B.

Jan 12 2013

Glassmaking in Knottingley

I attended the local Gloucestershire Sunday evening where I was surprised to see a couple of colored Codds on display, a dumpy amber Ross’s Weston Super Mare in outstanding original condition (not polished) also a rather nice 10oz W.A Major Peterboro four way pourer (also in excellent condition) the Peterborough example was manufactured by “Ashley’s” a glassworks which I’m not familiar with. A quick look at google produced this little lot, interesting reading.



Glass making in Yorkshire dates back to the seventeenth century, but it was not until the nineteenth century that Yorkshire became the dominant area of glass producers. During the latter part of the nineteenth century the West Riding became the most important manufacturing area in the country. It exercised leadership not only in the actual production of glass products, but also in the movement of men and employers, and in the invention and development of machinery.

In an address to the Yorkshire Section of the Society of Glass Technology in 1953, Dr. F. W. Hodkin a director of Bagley & Co. said:

“The earliest definite knowledge of glass making in Yorkshire takes us back no further than the middle of the seventeenth century. As a seeker after truth I freely admit that glass making flourished in London, Newcastle, Stourbridge and Bristol before it did so in Yorkshire.”

In 1827 Dr. Stanley Bertram Bagley’s grandfather James was apprenticed to the Bower family works in Hunslet, and it was here that quite a number of locally based glass makers began their careers.

Glasshouses flourished in Castleford in the first half of the nineteenth century, and then in the late 1860′s Edgar Brefitt who owned the Aire & Calder Bottle Company took the lease on the glass house at Ferrybridge (opposite the Golden Lion). Being on the opposing bank of the River Aire it was in actual fact in Brotherton. Anthony Thatcher had established the Yorkshire Bottle Company here before moving to the North East.In 1869 Brefitt persuaded William Bagley to take up the position of works manager. Two years later in 1871 William Bagley in partnership with his cousin John William Bagley established a single pot furnace on a site next to the canal in the Bendles, Knottingley.

Another artisan glassmaker John Wild together with John Metcalfe and John Curtis were also associated with the business.

William Bagley (or Mr. William as he became respectfully known) was born in Hunslet in 1842 and began his association with the glass industry in 1850 at the age of 8 when he was employed at Pilkington Bros. of St. Helens. As a young man he went to Castleford and during the 1860′s was known to be living in Welbeck Street. It was here that he made his mark and on 13 July, 1867 he became secretary of the Yorkshire Glass Makers Trade Protection Society.

In the Lord Mayors Show of 1875 in London, William Bagley witnessed the flag belonging to the Glass Makers Trade Union being carried at the head of the Coopers Co., of which company Edgar Brefitt, Sheriff of London, was a member.

The employees were strongly organised within the Union and it was impossible to be employed in the industry without being a member. In 1876 William Bagley made great efforts that led to the formation of the Yorkshire Glass Bottle Manufacturers Association, and later in 1891 the Yorkshire Flint Glass Manufacturers Association was formed in Leeds.

In 1866 Josiah Arnall, the postmaster at Ferrybridge, submitted an idea to Edgar Brefitt for the mechanical production of glass bottles, but it was either too crude or revolutionary to prove convincing. Some twenty years later, H. M. Ashley, the manager of the iron foundry in Ferrybridge, went to live with Arnall and together they patented the first mechanical device, known as the ‘plank machine’ on July 2 1886.

Traditions and fixed habits were tenacious and machines were totally opposed by the Yorkshire Glass Makers Society, indeed on of the rules stated:

‘Bottle making machines shall not be put into the bottle house amongst the bottle hands and members shall not be displaced for machines’

Plank machines were installed at Sykes & McVay of Castleford and the Leeds Mercury of December 18 described its first sight of the machine thus:

“Another familiar landmark is going. The Glass Bottle Trade is in process of being melted down into new parisons without blow pipes and blowers, and instead of five men being necessary to evolve an imperial receptacle for beer or aerated water it almost looks as if five innocently occupied adults might discover pastime in watching the conjoint labours of a machine in placing bottles at the service of good liquor as fast as they can be counted. Never since the days of the Pharaohs has anything so clever in glass making been designed, nor anything so simple. It has remained for a Yorkshireman, Mr. H. M. Ashley of Ferrybridge to revolutionise the trade.”

By around 1882 Ashley had ten 3 header rotary machines at work in Castleford. Each machine required two men to operate and was capable of producing 180 dozen bottles per day. Those companies that failed to accept the importance of the machine and the fact that mouth blowing was about to disappear simply fell by the wayside.

Following the death of John William Bagley in 1897 the company embarked on a programme of modernisation which was to place it at the fore-front of glass making for many years.

In June of 1898, Bagley & Co. registered as a private limited company with a working capital of £60,000 in shares of £10 each and William Bagley was appointed Chairman and managing Director. The following year they purchased the patent rights of the Ashley-Arnall bottle making machine, and later sold half the shares in the machine to a Lancashire firm.

Probably the most outstanding advance was achieved around 1905 when the Owens Automatic Bottle machine was invented in America. the European rights to the Owens machine were purchased by Bagley’s. It was considered to be one of the most wonderful inventions of the age, being entirely automatic and resulted in the ultimate decline of mouth blowing. In 1913 Bagley & Co embarked on a new enterprise making white flint confectionary jars, which at the time were being imported from the continent. During the war this work was suspended and they were making electric light bulbs, tubing and rod as well as tumblers for canteens. After the war production was adapted to cover a variety of domestic household ware, both utilitarian and decorative. Craftsmen from the North East came down to Knottingley and passed on their knowledge to a locally recruited workforce and this subsidiary business opened under the trade name of ‘Crystal Glass Co.’

William Bagley died on Wednesday January 16 1924 and was remembered with great respect and undoubted affection by the last generation of his workmen. Some of them recalled his way of using his walking stick upon naughty boys and his breaking and emptying of bottles of beer when he had given instructions that they should not be brought into his factory. He had been an active elected member of the Knottingley Urban District Council and on January 1 1894 had been appointed Justice of the Peace for the West Riding, a position he held for the next 30 years until shortly before his death.

By the 1930′s the company was run by Percy and Stanley Bertram Bagley, sons of the founders John William and William Bagley. Percy was regarded as the practical glassmaker whilst Bert was the businessman and administrator. This progressive company had committed itself to automatic production with the Owens machines and undoubtedly these massive ten-arm machines some 12 feet in diameter, gathering glass by suction from a revolutionary refractory pot were their pride and joy. Bagley and Co. became one of the principal employers in Knottingley, at one time having some 800 employees.

During World War Two there was little opportunity for capital investment but after the war ended new markets began to open and there was a rush to modernise and install new equipment to cater for the increased demand Fusion cast refractories ensured longer life furnaces and there was a move from coal to oil fired furnaces. The Independent Section (IS) feeder fed machines were being widely used, but Bagley A Co., having established its reputation with the Owens machine, were slow to realise its potential. There was no ‘settle wave’ in bottles produced on the Owens machine and the general appearance was considered superior to the bottles made on IS machines. However, the Owens machine compared unfavourably with IS machines on three counts:

i) Because the Owens was a suction machine there was an unsightly cut off scar on the base which was also an area of potential weakness when subjected to thermal shock.

ii) The suction machine blank mould had zero over capacity and a significant counter blow. The resulting bottles tended to have too much glass in the base and not enough in the shoulders.

iii) Because the temperature of glass entering the blank mould was approximately 100 degrees centrigrade higher than feeder fed machines the relative machine speeds were lower.

It was not until 1947 that Bagley’s installed their first IS machine. Further trials and experiments in the early 1960′s saw the introduction of double gob (dual moulds) and coupled with the constant light weighting of containers it was possible to increase the machine speeds. Now in the 21st century, triple gob production has developed and small 25cl continental beer bottles are being produced at the rate of 570 bottles per minute. What would the old flint hands have made of this!

In 1962 the Bagley Company was taken over by Jackson Brothers, another concern built up and owned by local industrialists. Jackson’s in turn was taken over in 1968 by Rockware Glass, and a succession of National and International mergers or take-overs saw the disappearance of local founders.

A new era dawned in 1994 when the Bagley factory in Knottingley was acquired by Austrian based company Stolzle Oberglas AG who formed a subsidiary of this group under the name ‘Stolzle Flacconage’ They commenced a huge investment programme and no expense was spared in installing the most advanced regenerative furnace with a capacity of 108 tonnes and a life span of 8 years. Production commenced in 1995 and today they operate four IS machines, a combination of both double and single gob, producing between 55 and 60 thousand bottles each day with a labour force of 180-200 people. Emphasis is concentrated on producing high quality ware and the company proudly claims to be the leader in the manufacture of superior quality glass mainly for the cosmetic industry. Their impressive list of associates includes Revlon, L’Oreal, Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent and Bourjois.

Gregg’s Glassworks…

In 1874 a partnership was formed between three glassblowers and a blacksmith. Isaac Burdin, George Popplewell, G. W. Barton and T. Bilsbrough. Together they built a ’round house’ on a site at Low Green, Knottingley adjacent to the canal. The partnership lasted only for a short time and was sold in 1876 to Andrew Mooney of Pontefract. Isaac Burdin set up his own business at the Headlands, Knottingley where he made carboys.

A story is told that Mooney found himself in financial difficulties and wagered all his assets on a horse called Robert The Devil to win the St. Ledger at Doncaster in 1880. After the horse had duly obliged he was able to continue his business until 1893 when he sold the concern to Samuel Addingley. It was at this time that ‘Hope Glass Works’ appeared. It was sold to Peter Gilson, J. W. Chadwick and Jabez Gregg, three glass makers who had operated in Hunslet. In 1905 it became known as Gregg’s Glassworks with three of the four partners being Jabez, Henry and Alfred Gregg. Production of glass continues at the site to the present day.

Jackson’s Glassworks…

Tom and John Jackson both served apprenticeships at the Bagley factory and in 1893 with very little capital they decided to embark on a manufacturing base of their own. Their code of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ enabled them to continue through a bleak initial period. Mr. John, as he was affectionately known, once recalled having seventeen meals in succession sent to him on site as he worked continuously On one occasion there was a complaint by the men to the union and the secretary came to see Tom and John one Saturday evening. He found them making stoppers and realised that not only did they work alongside the men, they also worked longer hours and the complaint was duly taken no further. Mr. John also recalled that the coal slack being used to heat the glory holes proved difficult to obtain the required temperatures, so boys were sent to the railway sidings adjoining the premises. Here they would annoy the engine drivers who would respond by throwing large lumps of coal at them which were gleefully collected and returned to fire the glory holes.

In 1912 the firm was formed into a private limited company and investments were made in modern machines such as the Schiller from Germany and the O’Neill (christened the Peggy) from the USA. the adjacent concern of Burdin’s was taken over with a view to continuing production of carboys but the plant was obsolete and never worked again.

After World War Two, Jackson’s were ambitious and anticipated new markets with increased demand, so realising the potential of the IS machines they built the new works and eventually took over the concern of Bagley & Co. in 1962. John Jackson was actively involved in local affairs and served continuously as an elected member of Knottingley Urban District Council for 62 years, a remarkable achievement.

A new machine with two parisons and a finishing mould was developed and by reason of the new type mounting became known as the pillar and table machine.

In 1897 Thomas Turner’s of Dewsbury operated a machine designed by an American named Haley who entered the service of Jackson’s Bros. in 1899 and constructed for them a similar press and blow machine. Joshua Horne built a number of machines for the Ashley Bottle Company, made changes in the design and then in 1901 took out a patent of his own. many of these machines were introduced in the glass industry in England between 1901-1917 when the firm came to an end. The Simpson Bradshaw machine was developed by John Lumb & Co. for producing narrow mouth bottles.

Dec 18 2012

Warners Safe Cure

Hulbert Harrington Warner came to Rochester in 1870. He started his career as a fireproof safe salesman, but his business really began to boom when he started selling his own brand of remedies. He was considered the “patent medicine king” with products like Warner’s Safe Liver Pills and Warner’s Safe Kidney Cure. He erected the Warner Building on St. Paul Street for his factory. He built a grandiose $150,000 mansion on East Avenue, the likes of which Rochester had never seen. In 1882 Warner built the Warner Observatory for the use of Professor Lewis Swift. Warner served as the first president of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Once considered a millionaire, he lost his fortune in a poor mining speculation in the Panic of 1893. Warner moved out of Rochester and lived the rest of his live in relative obscurity in Minnesota.


Hulbert Harrington Warner

Hulbert Harrington Warner


This is the exterior of the H.H. Warner house at 269 East Avenue, the southeast corner of East Avenue and Goodman Street. The sign “Seneca Club Property” is on the lawn. The design of the house was inspired by Rhineland castles. Warner was the first president of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and was the owner of Warner’s Safe Remedies, patent medicine products. The house was purchased by Leon Grisheimer in 1893, whose daughter resided here before it was demolished in 1929. The site was donated by Edward Bausch to the Rochester Museum and Science Center in 1941 and the property was used for parking in 2000.


The H.H. Warner house at 269 East Avenue

The H.H. Warner house at 269 East Avenue

Warner’s “Safe” Cure….

Warner’s Safe Cure bottles are accepted as classics all around the bottle world and every bottler seems to appreciate them. Very few bottle collectors really know very much about them though. Sure, they might know something of the company history, and have a few words of wisdom on the famous Mr Warner himself. But what about the bottle? What did it really contain ? How much were the bottles sold for? Exactly how did the medicine work ? Read on, as we provide for you the essential background knowledge, that helps you to enjoy your bottles that little bit more…………………………….


liverkidneynyfc7               londonwarnersra1



“Pure blood can be obtained by the use of Warners Safe Cure”
Warners Safe Cure bottles contained a preparation that was marketed as a cure for all diseases and problems relating to the kidneys and the liver. H H Warner seemed to have no problem tracing all types of disease back to problems with these two organs- even malaria ! This was quite a clever idea, for the kidneys and liver do indeed function to remove wastes and toxins form the bloodstream, and in theory, keeping then in good condition had to be a good idea. However, Mr Warner went ever so slightly over the top with the wild claims for his medicine. Read now some samples from a Warners Almanac from 1888, setting out the theories that were literally swallowed by a gullible middle class…


Kidney Disease is the most insidious malady that attacks the human frame. It may be present for a long period of time without manifesting itself. It is the cause of nearly all diseases, no matter where located or by what name called……Treatment – Neglected kidney disease always results in Bright’s Disease.. Kidney affections are very common and their very commonness encourages fatal neglect. To effect a cure, a high class scientific compound such as Warner’s Safe Cure should alone be taken, as it frees the system of poisonous uric acid, strengthens the blood vessels which are inflamed and prevents the albumen (or life of the blood ) from escape. It should be taken as directed on the bottle in sufficient quantities and will be found to prove a specific


All disorders connected with the liver are exceedingly troublesome. The following list of symptoms will enable anyone to detect whether their liver is out of order;
Boils, Vertigo ,Pimples Dizziness, Heart Burn, Moth patches, Sour stomach,, Dry hacking cough
Treatment – The liver and kidneys are in such intimate union that one organ cannot be affected without the other becoming diseased ; therefore a remedy must be so compounded as to act both upon the liver and kidneys at once…….
As well as claiming to cure Kidney, Liver and Bright?s Disease, Warner?s Safe Cure would also help with, Jaundice, Gravel, Stone,, Catarrh of Bladder, Pain in back, Headache, Dropsy, Dyspepsia, Inflammation of the Kidneys, Liver & Urinary organs, Tumours, Abscesses, irregular periods and convulsions, Female Complaints, Change of Life, Beneficial in Gestation, Debility, Malaria, Heart, Blood, Skin and other diseases caused by deranged kidneys and livers.
Not bad value at ONLY four shillings and sixpence for a large bottle and two shillings and ninepence for a small size.?


The fully labelled bottle of Warner’s Safe Cure came complete with explicit instructions;
DOSE for ADULTS; One tablespoonful six or eight times a day, taken neat. Discard all drugs and medicines during treatment CLOTHING; Wear flannel or warm underclothing. avoid all exposure and give the body a thorough rubbing over once a day, taking care not to take cold
DIET ; Do not use fresh or salt meats, or pork, spirits ,beer, wine coffee, tea, tobacco, hot bread, pies, pastry or any rich, greasy substances. Eat sparingly. ; fresh fish, soft baked potatoes, boiled onions, raw oysters, milk if agreeable, simple broths, corn and brown bread, tomatoes, asparagus, celery, fruits, moderately in season…
Sounds more like a spell at a health farm, than medicine , doesn’t it ?


By now, you may well be wondering what type of idiot was gullible enough to fall for all this hype. Well, you must remember that there was no national health service in 1888, all medicines and treatment had to be paid for. Many people regarded doctors with some suspicion, and buying a remedy from a chemist or apothecary was standard practise. Hubert H Warner also used advertising to great effect. His almanacs, distributed by post contained a wonderful selling aid – testimonials. These would explain to the amazed reader how taking Warners Safe cure really could change your life, for example…



3, Woolford Terrace, Eccles, Manchester , England . July 1 1887 – I was a sad sufferer for two years. was off my business duties, tried everything under several hospitals as well as private doctors without ant benefit at all. I was prostate, my body swollen twice its size, I could scarcely move, and my urine was like brickdust, and burnt like fire; in fact I was given up as past cure until I got Warner’s Safe Cure, when after taking it according to directions it was like a saving angel. I was after three months, restored to perfect health and strength for which I feel no pen can describe my everlasting thanks.
I W Cowe

Having dug on the tip at Eccles, Manchester, and having dug two one pint Warner’s Safe Cures there, it occurs to me that I may have recovered Mr Cowe’s bottles – that is if he ever existed at all !! The Almanac actually invites “doubting Thomas?s? to write off to all of the writers of the testimonials, claiming not to use fictitious testimonials. It appears that Warner?s Safe Cure was certainly good enough for a Mr Howell, Bicycle champion of the World, along with Sister Teresa of the St Mary’s Convent, Allahabad, India .. Champion Sculler of the World, William Beach of Sydney, Australia felt quite unwell during training so his trainer got him some Warner’s Safe Cure!

Judging by the number of Warner’s Safe cure bottles there are around, Warner’s medicine was hugely popular. He was able to operate in an age where wild claims could be made without any possibility of checks being made to see if such claims could be substantiated. He spent a fortune on advertising; indeed his advertising budget was greater than the total income of some of his competitors. H H Warner built up a worldwide empire based on his various bottled medicines. There were large plants at Rochester, Toronto, London , Frankfurt , Melbourne and later at Pressburg and Dunedin. Warner’s Safe Cure bottles are known from all but the last mentioned city. The base for operations in London was a large five floored building at 36 Clerkenwell Road, E C

So just exactly what was inside this wonder medicine? The formula for Warner?s Safe Cure was ;

Extract lyceums Virginia 308 grains
Extract liverwort 322 grains
Extract Wintergreen 7.5 grains
Potassium Nitrate 39 grains
Glycerine 10 drams
Alcohol ( 90%) 2.5 ounces
Water sufficient to make … 1pint

If you know anything about the kidneys, Potassium and alcohol are actually kidney irritants .. and consuming all that alcohol would not do the liver a lot of good either!


Above Article Copyright @ Mike Sheridan 1994