Brimington’s pop and jam factory

Two Kirkham & Hebdige bottles, that would have been filled with product at their Coronation Road premises. The left hand bottle is labelled ‘New Brimington’ the right hand one – a Codd bottle – ‘Brimington’. These Codd bottles, a patented design, had a marble in the neck which was pushed up into the the bottle top by the gas in the mineral water, causing a seal to be formed against a rubber ring in the neck. They were a target for children who would break the bottle to get the marble.

Did you know that Brimington once had a mineral (aerated) water and then a jam factory? Both were short-lived early 20th century affairs and probabaly operated from the same premises on Coronation Road.

You’ll sometimes see bottles like the two illustrated here, on sale via Ebay or market stalls. They are embossed ‘Kirkham & Hebdige, New Brimington’ and ‘Kirkham & Hebdige Brimington’. Perhaps confusingly there’s no trade directory entries for this concern and little contemporary evidence that the company ever existed – but we tell the story more fully in our Brimington and Tapton Miscellany 1, which you can download (for free) here.

Close up of the Codd’s bottle. Note the K&H insignia. The black/white ring inside the bottle, which you may be able to see, is the rubber ring against which the neck marble would have formed a seal.

Mineral water was actually aerated water, usually available with flavours such sarsaparilla and kola.

The basic story is that land, on which now stand 70 and 72 Coronation Road (at the Summerfeld Crescent end) was sold to a Frederick Hebdige and Reuban Kirkham in 1903. They appear to have erected a small factory and stable on the land, but by 1919 the property was for sale with the mineral water manufactory out of use.

This photograph is taken from Chesterfield wine and spirit merchant TP Wood’s Almanac for 1900. It shows ‘making soda water – the machines’. This was the basic ingredient of the water, making it fizzy. It would have had favours added. TP Wood’s manufacturing plant would have been much bigger than Kirkham’s & Hebdige’s, but their machine for making soda water may well have been similar to that illustrated here.

The property was sold to a consortium of people, including members of the Hicks family (who were grocers). The partnership was styled as ‘The Corona Fruit Preserving Company’. (There is no connection, incidentally, with the well-known Corona soft drinks company).

William John Piece of Sanforth Street, Newbold, appears to have been the only active partner in the business, excepting another who acted as sole selling agent for the jam. New buildings were added by the partners and the business was successful until 1921, when it made a loss. The partnership was dissolved in June 1921, but Pierce decided to take the whole business on. This was ultimately his undoing as in early 1923 he was filing for bankruptcy. There is no mention of the business in production after that date.

The jam factory, as it became known, was the cause of complaints by the parish council. In early in 1922 it was reported that ‘thick clouds of smoke’ were being emitted from the property, causing a nuisance.

You can find out a lot more about these two businesses in the Miscellany article.

By-the way, we are still a little puzzled by the embosed ‘New Brimington’ on one of the bottles, but explore this in the Miscellany article. A second bottle we have seen and illustrated above, after the original Miscellany article was written, simply has ‘Brimington’ embossed on it.

Another picture from the 1900 Almanac, this time showing ‘filling Codd’s patent bottles by steam filler’. This could be could be a hazardous activity as it was not unknown for the bottles to burst when being filled. Beamish museum has a small mineral water manufactory which it normally operates as part of a chemist. The plant used there would probably be representative of the Brimington enterprise.

We are very grateful to Mr A Parkin for initial information on the site of the mineral water and jam factory, which started our interest in these two little-known Brimington industries.

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