Louth Leader article (See further down Joyce Marriott’s full description)
1953 – Pop factory closes in Caistor!
HOW MANY people today know a highly successful ‘pop’ factory used to be run from Caistor, using natural spring water from the Wolds?
In 1898, when they won a third prize medal at a national exhibition, Winter & Ainger of Caistor were the owners of the Caistor Table Waters, better known as the ‘Pop Works,’ which they ran from a shop in the Market Place, now a take-away.
The factory for producing the table waters was situated on Plough Hill, where the DIY shop is now, and around 1925, Mr George Borman took the job of driver/salesman.
The owner was by now a Mr Brocklesby, who was in partnership with Bloomers, the solicitors and garage owners in Grimsby, and the foreman was Mr Bill Wright.
The basic ingredient for the ‘pop’ was pure spring water which came from a very deep well right at the top of the yard and which ran underground directly into the factory to a large water wheel, which was set in motion to pump the fresh spring water into the bottling machine, where it was mixed with pure fruit syrups to create the individual flavours.
Each bottle was then given its ‘fizz’, supplied from a large gasometer.
When Bill Wright found things were getting to be a bit too much for him, George Borman would often have to go back in the evenings to get machines going and to fill and label the bottles ready for his round the next day.
His daughter, now Mrs Joyce Marriott of Nettleton, remembers how she used often to go back with him and was absolutely fascinated with all the workings of the factory, especially watching her dad filling the bottles while keeping a close eye to see each bottle got the right amount of syrup, which was syphoned down from the syrup room above the machine, and of course making sure the gas didn’t run out or there would have been flat ‘pop!’
The crushes were the fruit juice and segments of citrus fruits – orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime – which came in one gallon glass carboys, packed in padded wicker hampers.
Well-known Caistor resident Harry Minns remembers being sent by the Grammar School matron to buy bottles of pop to make into jelly for the boarders’ tea!
Washing, labelling and bottle sorting were jobs carried out by boys and girls, who then put them into crates.
On Saturday mornings all the copper and brass pipes were cleaned and flushed out, floors were scrubbed and everything got ready for the start of the new week, and Joyce remembers the sight of the sun shining through the windows onto the gleaming pipes.
Her father took over the management and sales when Bill Wright died and his family moved into the factory house and although Joyce was working in Caistor at the time, she and her mother still managed to help her father out at the factory.
When her father died unexpectedly in 1951, Joyce left her job and went to work in the factory, as she and her mother were particularly concerned they might have to leave their ‘tied’ house.
She had help in showing how to work the machinery but she had to teach herself how to mix the syrups and carbonated water from her father’s recipes.
Around 1953, the factory was sold to a Mr Jones from Cleethorpes and before long everything was dismantled and taken away and the building sold. It was the end of an era.
Our thanks to Joyce Marriott of Nettleton for the information in this slice of Caistor’s history.
The following is Joyce Marriott’s full description:
In 1898 Winter and Ainger of Caistor were the owners of Caistor Table Waters. They were chemists and had a shop in the Market Place. “.. Winetr and Ainger were a very successful company. Their product was sold over a very large area of the Wolds, all the small villages and hamlets were kept supplied…. In recognition of the quality of their product they were awarded a Bronze Medal in 1898 which is inscribed ‘1898 National Exhibition & Market Brewing and Allied Trades Awarded to Winter and Ainger, Caistor, Fermented Non-Alcoholic Beveridge Competition. 3rd Prize”
The factory for producing Table Waters was situated on Plough Hill.
“Around 1925 my father, George Borman, took the job of driver / salesman and was employed by Mr. Brocklesby, the part owner who was in partnership with Bloomers the solicitors and garage owners in Grimsby. The foreman at that time was Mr. Bill Wright. … All the small villages and hamlets were kept supplied, both small shops and private dwellings and my father covered many miles with his bottles of pop together with Smith’s crisp and wafers, nuts and raisins, as far as Grimsby and Scunthorpe he went with his wares….
The basic ingredient for the ‘pop’ was pure spring water which came from a very deep well right at the top of the yard and which ran underground directly into the factory to a very large water wheel which was set in motion to pump the water into the bottling machine where it was mixed with pure fruit syrups to create individual flavours. It was at this stage each bottle was given its ‘fizz’ which was suplied from the large gasometer.
Cleaniness was of the utmost importance and there was a big galvanised tank at the far end of the factory and all the used bottles had to be placed in large crates and washed thoroughly with bottle brushes, each bottle first being scrutinised for any cracks or defects. Any damaged bottles were thrown on the bottle bank and would be taken away periodically to be recycled into new bottles. As my father was also a mechanic he would help out from time to time, when his time permitted, looking after the machinery in the factory.
Mr. Wright, the foreman, began to find things too much for him and my father would often have to go back after tea to get machines going and to fill and label the bottles ready for his round the next day.
I often went back with him and was absolutely fascinated with all the workings of the factory, especially watching dad filling the bottles while keeping a close eye to see each bottle got the right amount of syrup (which was syphoned down from the syrup room above the machine), and that the gas also went into each bottle and, of course making quite sure the gasometer didn’t get too low which would make the ‘pop’ very flat indeed.
The crushes was the fruit juice and segments of citrus orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime. These came in one gallon size glass carboys, packed in padded whicker hampers. One gallon of the juice was emptied into a large vat in the syrup room, sugar was added and it had to be continually stirrred before and during bottling.
The Grammar School Matron would send Mr, Harry Minns to the factory to buy bottles of pop to make into jelly for the boarders’ tea.
The labelling of the bottles was a job I could manage at that time. There were boys and girls employed to do the washing, labelling and sorting the different size bottles to be put into the right crates. These crates were made of wood and wired together and had to be scrubbed. Saturday mornings were set aside as cleaning mornings; there were copper and brass pipes to be cleaned and flushed out, floors to be scrubbed and so on ready for business to begin the next week. One of my vivid memories of those days was the sun shining through the windows onto the copper and brass pipes, it was truly and lovely sight.
When Mr. Wright, the foreman, died my father took over the management and sales and found it very hard work indeed to keep everything going. We moved into the factory house which made things a little easier. I was working in Caistor at the time and mum and I tried to help dad as much as we could, it was a very busy life indeed. Suddenly and unexpectantly my father died in 1951, needless to say my mother and I were absolutely devastated. Apart from the lost of my father, we were also concerned about living in a ‘tied’ house so I left my job in Caistor to work in the factory.
I had help from a retired foreman from Hewitts in Grimsby in showing me how to work the machinery but I had tyo teach myself how to mix the syrups and carbonated water from my father’s recipes.
The company that maintained the machinery and installed new parts, Barnett & Foster Ltd., of Kingston Upon Hull, were very good to me with help and advice during this time.
Barrick “This was my first job on leaving school. Bill Wright was the manager. He told me it would only be for 3 months while the summer season was on. The returned bottles came in the main doors at the top of the yard on the truck driven by George Borman. There were two types – those with screw tops and those with crown caps. I had to sort them out, take all the screw caps off and put the bottles in the washing machine. Any bottles with any damage or oil stains or anything inside was tossed aside as scrap glass. The crates held two dozen bottles and were all washed and stacked eight high for reuse. Bill mixed the essence, all his own ideas – Vimto, Orange and Lemon Chrush were the only ones brought in big glass containers. We would start the Crossley Gas Engine – it pumped the spring water and nitrogen gass into the copper pressure tank and away we would” go. “Two hours on each flavour, Joe Sparrow on the machine, me feeding it and carrying full cases to Willie Wilkinson on the label bench. Bill would fill some Soda Water syphons. I stayed until September. Smiths crisps were delivered once a month in square tins, one and two penny bags.The two penny ones had salt in a blue paper…..”
Around 1953 the factory was sold to a Mr. Jones of Cleethorpes and before long everything was dismantled and taken away – machinery, brass, copper all went and the building itself was sold.” Joyce Marriott