Updated 23 Dec 2007

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 442


D = Main office building seperate detached building from the works, must have been where the accounts/ money was counted or held due to those iron bars set in the windows! Taken after the works closure around the mid-late 60's.

E = Shot of the actual works builings it self, the Main office building can be seen in the background, built around 1900. The works themselves where seemingly rebuilt (EST 1920's?) as the building in this photo do not match to the maps and plans of 1900. Taken around the late - mid 1960's.

Interested in Whittaker's bottles?
Got more info about Whittaker?
Contact Matt Bradbury on ( Matt.Brad @ ntlworld.com )
(who contributed some of the info and photos on this page)

Whittaker's, Matlock Bath

About 1875 Mary Whittaker, wife of John Whittaker, ran Matlock Bath Aereated and Mineral Water Works. An advert reads:

Whittaker's World Famed Derbyshire Mineral Waters.

Special bottles of "Guinness's Stout" (The Harp brand)

Bass and Worthington's Pale Ale.
Allsopp's Lager Beer.
Quinine, Teak and Iron brew.
Soda Water, Lemonade, Ginger Beer.
Champagne Cider &c &c in bottle and syphon.

Extract from Article by Dr Hamilton Seymour in "The Age", August 1904.

"One of the most valuable mineral waters that I have ever examined is produced at the Matlock Bath Mineral Water Works, the property of Mr Whittaker. The reason is that all the water used at this establishment is from the same springs as the famous water at the Baths - of which I intend to speak in another article; for I believe it to be from an all-round medicinal standpoint the most valuable water in Great Britain.

I have personally visited the essences, syrups and system of generation? and bottling of Mr Whittaker's soda water, lemonade, ginger ale etc, and find everything used is of the very highest standard of quality, and the greatest care and clenliness are maintained. I recommend most highly Mr Whittaker's pure and valuable mineral waters".

Ask for Whittaker's mineral waters.

M.Whittaker, Matlock Bath

Whittaker's trademark was:
Two people sat at a bar, their speech bubbles read,
"How's that for a drink?", reply "Immense."

Whittaker's manufactured Tordale Minerals made from the spa water, which drained off Masson Hill (near Masson Mill at Matlock Bath) and also supplied alcoholic drinks under licence up to the 1960s.

Oswald "Ossie" Whittaker, son of John and Mary, became landlord of the Rutland Arms (opposite Masson Mill)

In the Census, the Whittakers can be traced in 1881, 1891 and 1901

Mary WHITTAKER died in 1922. John WHEATCROFT was born 1818 and married Priscilla CARPENTER in 1840. Their children included Priscilla born 1841, William 1843, Mary 1845, Elizabeth 1848, Thersa 1851 and Ernest 1860. Census references are: 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901

See also e-mails sent to the author on the subject.

Photo taken:

Click on photo for enlargement (on CD only)
Have any more information about this photo? 
Please e-mail the author on:

F = advert small text is that already quoted on the webpage.
G = Bottle labels, story has it that the Whittaker's got into a bit of bother with the "High Tor" label as it was already in use in Austraila as a tradename and had to be withdrawn, also "Kitty Kola" was bottled under license due to usage and spelling of the word "Cola" with a "C" upset a certain american giant.....
F Whittaker's advert.

G Tordale labels.

442 Ginger beer bottles.
A A 6 ounce Hamilton.
B A 6 ounce Dobson Codd bottle. "M.Whittaker, Matlock Bath". 20 cms long.
C Another ginger beer bottle.


H small hamilton bottle with added blob top C1873 - earliest form of bottle yet found, showing early "How's that for a drink?" trademark, Also included on embossing is Ashford, that of Ashford in the water near Bakewell, as a distribution point / small works? also existed there. It is only included on these earliest bottles, whereafter it is not embossed.
J = C1940-1950ish small pop bottle with open with a coin embossed around the neck. Embossed with "Whittaker's (MB) Matlock Bath Ltd" In Mary Whittakers will 1922 she wished the buisness to become "Ltd" This seems to have been done as she requested, also a rebuilding of the plant was undertaken around the same era (1920's - 1930's?)
I = beer bottle with same trademark.....somewhat crude!
K = c1960 "Tordale Soft Drinks" renaming....although still embossed around base with "Whittaker's (MB)Ltd Matlock Bath" Family sized pop bottle.....a change in the trend of the bottling industry from small bottles to family economy ones!
L = Early Codd bottle "How's that for a drink" Trademark
M = Beer bottle c1900, dropping of the trademark and Ashford embossing
N = Small pop bottle with Trademark, Ashford embossing with bottle top cap! C1880?
O = Beer bottle c1900,dropping of trademark and Ashford embossing. Still with internal screw-thread cork!
P = Small "Tordale Soft Drinks" Pop bottle C1950 - 1960
Q = Tordale fammily sized bottle with bakalite internal screw top C1960
R = C1950 family sized "Whittakers (MB) Ltd" internal screw top
S = Thought to be Whittaker related, as found two on site....no embossing rather cheap quality, last bottles to be used before closure? C- late 1960's
T = I'm still finding examples! Small "Whittaker's (MB) Ltd" C1950-1960 and family sized Tordale Soft drinks example C1960
U = Early Codd bottle, "How's that for a drink" trademark. Solid marble in neck, maker's Dobson and Nall of Barnsley, 8 inches tall, about 1880.
V = Soda syphon dating to around 1930's. "Whittaker's High Class Mineral Waters Matlock Bath." Contributed by Matt Bradbury.

Emails on the subject

    Kevin Marples writes:
    "Ossie" Whittaker was my uncle and he ran the Rutland Arms at Matlock Bath up until the early 1960s with his wife Gertrude Whittaker (nee McIntyre) when they moved to Lytham St Annes. The pub and houses along that row were demolished shortly afterwards to make way for road widening.

    Carl Shillito writes:
    Hi John & Matt

    Thank you both for your replies to my enquiry about John Wheatcroft and the Whittaker's soft drink business.

    Firstly John's details re John Wheatcroft tally with mine more or less. He, his wife and their first child are on the 1841 census at Hurst Castle in Hampshire. I can't decipher whether Thersa was really Theresa or even Thirza, but I haven't got access to the BMD Index at the moment so I can't cross check. I believe that Ernest was actually a nephew who lived with them since he was a baby. He was born at Burton on Trent in 1859. I have a BMD reference so I will be able to find out who his parents were. I believe that he went to Sheffield to work as an analytical chemist. I would like to know aout John Wheatcroft's siblings if you have those details.

    Secondly, I have had a conversation with my father bearing in mind the new information that I have and I think I can clarify things as follows:

    My great grandmother Mary Smith (nee Wheatcroft) remembered travelling to Matlock Bath from Sheffield in the 1880s to see her grandfather John Wheatcroft and other members of her family (her brother, John, lived with his grandparents and worked as a telegraph boy). Her grandfather was something of a character. Born in Wirksworth in 1818 he had worked on the coastal defences around the Solent before returning to Matlock Bath and establishing himself as a cavern guide. My great grandmother's visits probably took place after the original concern that John Wheatcroft had started around 1873 with his daughter Mary (the Matlock Bath Mineral Water Company) had been relaunched as Whittaker's, but he was still involved with the business at that time. He used to rouse the girl employees (wenches, he called them) who had lodgings either above or adjacent to the factory (possibly in the upper floors of Derwent House where the Whittaker's lived). She remembered that the business was supervised by a formidable lady dressed in black. This could only have been Mary Whittaker. I saw the works in the late 1960's after they had been sold, at which time I am sure that there was a "Vimto" sign above the entrance. John Wheatcroft was described as a property owner in 1891, and living on his own means in 1901. I believe he left a will on his death in 1905 but I am not aware that my own branch of the family inherited anything from him, or from the Whittakers. In any case Mary Whittaker was unlikely to have approved of my great great grandfather William (her brother). A notorious figure in the Woodside Lane district of Sheffield, "Derbyshire Bill" was undoubtedly fond of beer, but not the ginger variety!

    Please feel free to use this information as you wish.

    Thanks again

    Carl Shillito

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