Biography of Arthur Edge Mineral Water Manufacturer. Plymouth Avenue Longsight Manchester




Arthur and Vera Edge

Arthur Edge (His Grandfather was also named Arthur Edge)
my Mum & Dad Enjoying a World Cruise
aboard the Oriana

Arthur Edge

Great Grandad Arthur Edge
MmaMabel, Arthur Edge(1),
Lillian Florence Edge
my Dads Mother, Grandfather & Grandmother.

Arthur Edge (2) riding Bobby
Longsight Manchester.

The Vulcan Lorries replaced the horse and carriage's
Tate and Lyle Sugar

MMMmMr Nichols
Managing Director of Vimto.


ClTate and Lyle

Ginger Beer Bottle




These are the words of my late Dad Arthur Edge shared with
Mike Sheridan a bottle collectors magazine "Bottles & Bygones" 1995. 


After leaving Altrincham Grammar School at 16years, I joined my Grandfathers firm on Stockport road Longsight called
              ARTHUR EDGE Mineral Waters.
I had always been interested from a child in the business and
spent many happy hours from as far back to the horse drawn days and helped in the stables and occasionally have a ride on one of the horses in Plymouth Avenue. My grandfather bought the business from his father when it was called Thomas Edge who retired and went to live at Colwyn Bay.

He started the business in Plymouth Grove in 1895.I went through all the aspects from feeding bottles in long trays that were turned round into a detergent tank, and then two operators fed the bottles onto rotating brushes inside and out, the output was very much in the skilful hands of the washers I reckoned two good people could turn out 120 dozen per hour. then the bottles were given a spray rinse and packed into boxes and stacked ready to be filled.
We had two filling machines Marvels from MEADOWCROFTS of Blackburn who supplied with quite a number of spares etc. Two people hand operated these machines and could turn out 70 dozen an hour.
On many occasions we could turn out a 1000 dozen per day.
The cases were then conveyed to the stockroom for labeling
on 2 PURDY labeling machines.
Previously it was all done by hand labeling and with practice
I could label 100 dozen per hour .Taking over after the horses I can remember my grandfather
bought 4 Vulcan  lorries on solid tyres they were sent to HOUSLEYS on Ashton old road to be coach painted in chocolate and yellow and were kept in immaculate condition the driver keeping them spotless.
They served us well till they were replaced gradually by Bedford
three tonners, taking us to the start of the 2nd world war.
I joined the R.A.S C. Territorial Army and was quickly called up
and served 7years as an ambulance driver for the mobile dentist unit. Wartime the trade was grouped and formed the  S.D.I .
Our firm was one of the many to be closed and our customers
were looked after by Slack & COX using our lorries
resources being pooled and divided proportionally.This and the war the house next to ours being hit by a
bomb and ours having to be vacated.Not long later and to follow that I was involved in the Dunkirk.
            Code-named Operation Dynamo,
also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, the evacuation from the
beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the northern France,
between 26 May and 4 June 1940.
I had to make all haste to Dunkirk many miles away. Luckily found a bicycle and made good time. I was allocated a place on
a Motor Torpedo Boat I was so exhausted I fell asleep standing
up waiting for one of the small ships.

It was all too much for my Grandfather he died shortly later.
I received 6 months compassionate leave to straighten out his affairs.
Mother and Grandmother myself and a friend of the family Mr Harrison were executors.
I had to temporally rescinded my duties being called back
into the R.A.S.C for another 4 years.In between we were very fortunate my daughter Christine was born followed in 1944 by my son Anthony.

I received my demobilisation Feb 1946 issued with civilian 
Clothes and 3 months leave, this gave me time to gather up the 
pieces and reform my business.
It was nearly like starting from scratch,
fortunately I had a lot of help from my trusted servant
Bill Payne who had kept the plant in working order throughout 
the war. In a short space of time we were in operation having
our vehicles and customers handed back to us from SLACK & COX.
I appointed Mr Payne as manager, so it gave me free time to
to attend Manchester Association meetings, obtain allocations,
make contact with suppliers, essences, fruit juices, sugar,
bottles, cases, engage staff, some who had been with us when
were forced to close down.

When we had things working smoothly I became more interested
in the Association, and was elected to the committee together
with Mr Lennie from Stafford’s of Denton we became quite friendly and compared notes quite a lot.
Eventually I was made President of the Manchester Association
and also was made a Director of the National Association making monthly journeys to London for the meetings, and an overnight
at a hotel expenses paid.
Once or twice we had some very good summers and we had quite a difficulty coping with the demand we had to work all night
to provide enough stock to supply our lorries for next day.
Eventually Mr Lennie suggested Mr Stafford would like a chat, the result being an amalgamation of our firms.
I joined Stafford’s and looked after my customers, this we agreed gave me chance to sell all my plant and materials.
and also maintain the goodwill of my firm with Stafford’s.
This worked out quite well for a couple of years till Corona took over Stafford’s offering myself and Mr Lennie jobs but Not Mr Stafford. This was the period in the soft drinks Trade when a number of firms amalgamated notably Stotherts of Warrington,
Barrs of Glasgow & Pickup of Manchester {TIZER}.
This of course greatly reduced the number of firms in the
Manchester area, therefore the turnover at the bottle exchange
was greatly reduced so the premises were put up for sale and closed down after operating for many years also the Manchester Association assets were handed over to the National Association.
Corona had a depot at Denton and Stafford’s premises were vacated
J.N Nichols the firm of VIMTO started to expand they bought
Smiths of Chorley then expanded into the can market and opening a factory at Haydock and a factory in Wythenshawe.
In the early days my grandfather met Mr Nichols at a Brewers
Exhibition where the were showing VIMTO cordial at Belle Vue
and it was suggested it would be nice to carbonate some in
small bottles that proved a huge success. From then on it
was taken up by supplying VIMTO concentrate to most manufacturers In 25 gal casks to turn out split 6oz bottles carbonated.
This backed up with plenty of advertising showcards, labels,school books and toys and were much sort after by the children.

The Mineral Water Manufacturing Plant.

The last stage in the process of manufacture is of course the
most important water after filtration is carbonation this
is achieved by mixing carbon dioxide gas pumped under pressure
with water to 60 lbs pressure in a machine called a carbonator
and fed direct to the filling machines this together with the
syrup makes the finished bottled mineral water.

Just one other process to describe is the syphon filler which
the syphons are fed into the machine upside down and as it
moves round the handle is lifted and the soda water is fed
in through the spout it takes three what is called snifts
to fill a syphon at about 120 lbs pressure TO EXTRACT THE AIR.
The bicarbonate of soda was mixed in the slate water tank
upstairs and the filtered water closed down.
I should like to describe the original carbonator, it was
about three times the size of the one we eventually changed to and very much more compact. It comprised of a large fly wheel
driven by shafting operating a 3inch pump forcing pressure into
a large brass cylinder about 4feet long by about 18 inches in
diameter the C02 gas mixing with the  water to form areated water
This was my grandfather’s pride and joy and one of the staff had
to polish the brass work every morning it looked beautiful.
The carbon dioxide came in 28 lb cylinders and fed into a large copper bell stood over an oak tank filled with water the bell was suspended by a rope and filled with gas and stood in the water to keep out the air.
This was eventually superseded by a modern carbonator very
compact, we also replaced the copper sugar boiler for a
stainless steel cold water sugar mixer.
I also replaced the bottle washer to a DAWSON automatic washer
capable of 200 dozen per hour and fed straight on to a stainless steel belt and picked up and by hand to the 12 head Marvel filler where the syrup was pumped down BLOCK TIN PIPING
from the syrup room.
Ginger root was boiled for half an hour in the copper boiler and filtered off into the oak tank where sugar and oil of lemon had been added hot water was then introduced plus Citric acid, this allowed to cool to 70 degrees and then brewers yeast mixed in a stainless bucket with the liquor then covered over to keep the temperature till it started to work (froth), about three dayaccording to the weather, we had not to go over 2% proof.

The Syrup Room.

Upstairs above the stock room was the syrup room containing a
row of large enamel pans of different sizes and up another
flight of stairs was a large copper pan with an outer casing
fed by steam to boil the sugar 1cwt at a time to make the
syrup this had to be stirred to dissolve the mixture it was
quite hot work in the summer, when completed it was piped
into to large pans just below, and in turn measured into the
row of pans so that the various flavours could be mixed
starting with lemonade and finishing with dandelion & burdock.
block tin piping was fed to the filling machines and measured
doses were pumped into the bottles according to the
size. Upstairs a water filter with 12 large candles fed
the water into 2 200 gal slate making the water clear without any sediment.
Also we had another oak tank holding 200 gals for brewing
ginger beer made from the real ginger root and brewed
with brewers yeast. We had a copper pan above to boil the
ginger and the yeast added at the right temperature.


The Best Fruit Cordial in the World
How much do you know about Vimto? If your knowledge stops at that it’s purple, fruity and fun to shlurple, it’s time to find out more. Now pay attention because there’ll be a test afterwards. Ok, not, really. But this is the bestest, yummiest and most purpliest history lesson ever… Sorry, history teachers but it’s true!       



photographs | Mabel Edge | 8mm film info |


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