Factory for British & Foreign Aerated Water Co. Ltd

M137 Factory for British & Foreign Aerated Water Co. Ltd

Address: 22, Farnell Street, Glasgow G4 9SE
Date: 1897–1899
Client: British & Foreign Aerated Water Co. Ltd
Authorship: Authorship category 3 (Office with Mackintosh) (Office with Mackintosh)

Colour photograph of former mineral water factory from N.W.

Context and authorship

This factory for the manufacture of 'aerated' or 'mineral' waters (fizzy drinks such as lemonade and soda water) lies 1.5 km N.W. of Glasgow city centre, just 100 metres from the industrial artery of the Forth & Clyde Canal. John Honeyman & Keppie's client, the British & Foreign Aerated Water Co. Ltd, previously operated from premises in nearby New City Road. Its new factory seems to have been erected in phases, beginning in July 1897 with the W. wing, but construction evidently proceeded slowly, and final payments to the principal contractors were not made until January and February 1899. 1

In 1903 the factory was described as having been designed by John Keppie. 2 Mackintosh wrote numerous notes relating to ironwork and sewerage on the drawings approved by the Dean of Guild Court in March 1897, which indicates that he was directly involved in the project, but the extent of his contribution is not clear. The factory was included on a list of Mackintosh's works compiled in the 1930s by Ronald Harrison, an early student of his architecture who had access to the records of John Honeyman & Keppie. It seems Harrison believed that Mackintosh was reponsible for 'two fireplaces' at the factory, and in another list he recorded making a tracing of a half-inch scale drawing of one of these. No fireplaces survive in the building today (2012), and the whereabouts of Harrison's tracing and the original fireplace drawing are unknown.

Design

The two-storey factory lies along the S. side of Farnell Street (formerly known as Fleming Street), which slopes upwards towards the canal, so that the sills of the ground-floor windows become higher from W. to E. The rear, including the former loading bay, is in parallel Caithness Street. A cross wing at the W. end originally contained a beer store and beer bottling department, while at the E. end were the engine house and stables, with caretaker's house above. In the long middle section, the ground floor comprised rooms for bottling and packing mineral water, plus small public and private offices, while on the floor above were the laboratory and a large storage area.

The design is completely utilitarian. External walls are of brick (the Farnell Street elevation was rendered at some time in the late 20th or early 21st century), with square-headed windows – many now bricked-up – divided by unmoulded red sandstone mullions. Inside, iron columns and beams support the timber floors. The roof trusses are also of iron.

Colour photograph of former mineral water factory from N.W.Colour photograph of former mineral water factory from S.Colour photograph of interior of former mineral water factory

Later history

On 2 June 1903, the owners went into voluntary liquidation. 3 The factory was advertised for sale in December that year (when John Keppie was named as its architect). 4 It was acquired by Messrs Packham & Co., another mineral water manufacturer, and photographs showing the building in use by its new owners were published in the Victualling Trades Review in 1905. 5 In the later 20th century, the factory was occupied by Argyle Cycles and the Scottish Adhesives Co. Ltd.

Photograph of 'Packham & Co. (Glasgow) Limited.' 'Victualling Trades' Review', 20, no. 240, June 1905, p. 110Photograph of 'Packham & Co. (Glasgow) Limited.' 'Victualling Trades' Review', 20, no. 240, June 1905, p. 111

Notes:

1: Glasgow City Archives Collection: Glasgow Dean of Guild Court, Register of Inspections, D-OPW 25/63, p. 131; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh job book, GLAHA 53061, pp. 99–104.

2: Scotsman, 8 December 1903, p. 1.

3: Edinburgh Gazette, 5 June 1903, p. 589.

4: Scotsman, 8 December 1903, p. 1.

5: Victualling Trades Review, 20, no. 240, June 1905, pp. 110–12.