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Tonbridge Mineral Water

The manufacture and marketing of artificial mineral waters did not start until the late 18th century when in 1772, Joseph Priestly made the discovery of how to put the fizz into "pop". He called his new beverage soda water. Natural mineral waters had been drunk for centuries before this at the famous Spa towns of Britain & Europe & soon companies selling both natural and artificial waters began to spring up all over the country.

The “B” Bridge Mineral Water Company

The 'B' Mineral Water Company began trading the Masonic Buildings, High Street Tonbridge, Kent in 1887 under the proprietorship of John Salkeld", Horsley and Co. In 1891 he was advertising, "The 'B; Mineral Water Company waters obtainable put up in syphons, corked or patent bottles". In the year Mr. Horsley took over the Firm of John William Woods of Sevenoaks. 

The following advertisement was published in the Kent Association of Mineral Water Manufactures Trade Protection Society (Ltd). Journal.
"We beg to notify you that we have purchased and taken possession of that Sevenoaks Mineral Water factory known as Woods and all the bottles or boxes Bering the following legends, they being our property:
Tunbridge Mineral Water Co
Mineral Water Tunbridge,
Mineral Water Co,
Horsley and Co Tunbridge
Tunbridge Mineral Water Co
Horsley and Co Sevenoaks
Brighton and South Coast Mineral Water Co, Seltzers only.
John William Wood’s address was 78 High Street Sevenoaks
A Mr. Hugh B. Nicholl took control of the company in 1893 and continued under the name 'The B' until 1900, when the business was acquired by Messrs. Griffin and Woodcock Co. Ltd. Of Hastings and they registered the rights to all bottles and boxes mark Horsley & Co' and "The 'B' Co. Tonbridge they continued to operate in Tonbridge until 1908 when the works were moved to Hawkhurst and this move marked the end to large scale mineral water manufacturing in Tonbridge. 
The following article appeared in The Courier on September 18th 1896.
Comparatively a short time ago it was a matter of complaints amongst members of the Temperance Party and others who consume various kinds of aerated waters, that ­process of their manufacture was not conducted with the requisite skills and care. The result was the production of beverages anything but tasty to the palate and all but ruinous to the digestive organs.
How greatly things have improved since the days of these well founded complaints may be seen by a glance at the well equipped of the “B” Mineral Water Company in the Centre of the High Street, Tonbridge.
From the order and booking department, through the window' of which The whirling shafts and wheels of the machinery can be seen, down to the bottle washing department, every arrangement is characterised by a neatness and system, as well as an absolute cleanliness, that speaks well for the thoroughness of the supervision. Upstairs is the syrup room where the various flavorings and essences are carefully prepared in enamel pans, spotlessly clean.
On the ground floor is the factory proper, fitted up with the most approved machinery for the purpose the whole being driven by a compact vertical steam engine. At the back is the stabling and coach- house room for the vans needed in this rapidly increasing business. besides stores, where cases and bottles apparently without number are stacked, every ­drop of water used in the preparation of the 'B' Minerals is carefully filtered, and no ingredient that is not of the finest quality procurable is used.
The result is the production of an article of distinctly superior quality, which has elicited many testimonials including one from The Right Hon. Lord Sackville".
The testimonial referred to reads: 
"The Right Hon. Lord Sackville, Knole, Sevenoaks says: "I am perfectly satisfied with the 'B' mineral water".

Another advertisement reads: "
Try the 'B' Mineral Waters, See there is a 'B' on the bottle, Guaranteed to have no bees in the bottle.
Although the company had not traded for long under J. S. Horsley & Co. an astonishing variation of patents and bottle manufacturers were used. These include the Niagra patent bottle Reg. No. 65433 patented by Barnett & Foster in 1887 made by Alfred Alexander & Co., London.
These have been found in aqua, amber and brown glass, embossed 'The B' Mineral Water Co. Tunbridge (with a 'U' & 'O') Horsley & Co. and one embossed 'The B' Mineral Water Co. Sevenoaks Horsley & Co. Other Horsley & Co. bottles are Dobson’s Four- way patent, D. Rylands Reliance, D. Rylands two small indents, Codds patent groove, Sykes Macvay, D. Rylands Premier Codd this being sand blasted with the company's name, and standard Codds. All these other patents have been found in aqua glass only, and incidentally only 10oz colored Niagra patents have come to light so far.
Interesting features on these bottles are the rubber rings in the necks which are sometimes printed with the words' Horsley & Co. Tunbridge'.
The ginger beers for Horsley are brown salt glazed stoneware and impressed with the letter 'B' and the proprietor's name but have no pottery marks.
A few under glazed printed ginger beers are known with the words Ye Stone Ginger Beer of Ye Firm of Horsley & Co. Sevenoaks. These are honey colored with Price Bristol pottery marks.
The known bottles from the Nicholl period are, standard Codds in both aqua and light amber glass. Black glass blob top bottles which we know as black glass ginger beers and under glazed printed salt glazed stoneware ginger beers with the words The 'B' Home Brewed H. B. Nicholl & Co. Tonbridge but no pottery marks.

Quite an abundance of Bottles Patents from one Firm and probably others not mentioned

 The “B” Bridge Mineral Water Company Tunbridge - Tonbridge

Niagra patent Reg. No. 65433  Niagra patent Reg. No. 65433   Niagra patent Reg. No. 65433



B Mineral Water Co. J. S Horsley & co. brown saltglazed impressed

B Mineral Water Co. H. B Nicholl. brown saltglazed round diesign

B Mineral Water Co. H. B Nicholl. black glass imbossed. 

c 1887 -1893

 c 1893 - 1901

  c 1893 - 1901

73A High Street Masonic Buildings