Fizzy Pop and Water

Detail from old bottle label

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Hull had a prosperous soft drinks industry, with 23 makers listed in the 1892 Bulmer's 'Directory of Hull'. A wide range of drinks were made including lemonade, soda, ginger beer, orangeade and 'aerated water'.

Aerated water


One of the most popular drinks during the Victorian period was 'aerated water'. For hundreds of years people had been drinking natural mineral waters for their healing powers. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, scientists discovered a way of artificially producing 'carbonised' mineral water by adding carbonic acid gas to water under pressure.

The first machine for manufacturing 'aerated water' was developed by the Swedish chemist Jacob Schweppe. In the 1790s his company, Schweppes, based in London, was one of the first firms to produce bottled mineral water.

Hull companies

wooden crate
One of the largest companies in Hull making 'aerated water' was 'Hindle's Aerated Waters', which had offices and a factory on Chapel Lane. William Hay the owner of Hay's, based on Anlaby Road, was both chemist and soft drinks maker. As a result, his drinks which included 'Orange Quinine Tonic' and 'Lithia Water' were thought to also have some health benefits.

Some soft drinks makers worked in partnership with public house owners and agents for breweries as this gave them a ready market for their products. Robert Hawkshaw joined with Wheatley & Sons to form 'Robert Hawkshaw Ltd' and established branches in both Hull and Bridlington to make and sell aerated water, squashes and soda.

The firm of Julius Peters which operated from High Street and later from Walker Street, made such drinks as 'Kola Champagne', 'Champagne Ginger', 'Orange Champagne', 'Hop Ale', lemonade and ginger beer. Other soft drink makers in Hull included 'Robinson & Speight', 'J.H. Rhymer' and 'Armstrong's'.

Murden's


The only company in Hull to survive into the twenty first century was that of 'Murden's'. An initial investment of just 100 pounds in the early 1900s was used to buy equipment for making 'aerated water'. By 1910, the firm became a limited company by the 1970s they were producing around 40,000 bottles each week. The company still makes soft drinks but now also makes other types of drinks and fast foods.

Bottles of drinks were transported and delivered by horse-drawn carts until the 1930s when they were replaced by lorries. These belonged to the firms and had the company name and address painted on the outside. The drinks were contained in wooden delivery crates which were also painted in company colours with the company name on the side.