The Fortrose Aerated Water Works was located in Station Square, Fortrose

Inside the Fortrose Aerated Water Works;
John Grant (left) and George Knight (centre) with their younger workers when the factory was owned by James Reid, 1890s or 1900s

Above:  J Grant & Co bottle; John took over the business around 1913

Right: Meadowcroft Modern Aerated Water Machinery Trade Catalogue, No. 2 Conqueror

Pop History
The local manufacture of ‘aerated water’ – water to which air is added to make soft drinks – was a labour-intensive business. Very different to the multi-million pound, highly mechanised and merchandised sodas of the modern era. Distribution was often through town chemists, grocers and newsagents.

Meadowcroft Modern Aerated Water Machinery Trade Catalogue, No. 2 Conqueror

Fortrose Lemonade
Look closely at the photograph of the Fortrose pop makers standing proudly next to their aeration machine. You’ll see it is a Meadowcroft rotary power bottle filler. The equipment was made by a company in Lancashire. In their trade catalogue, it is listed as ‘The Six-Headed Conqueror’.  A later version, the No 2 Conqueror, had 12 heads in response to the demand for greater output.

Inside the Fortrose Aerated Water Works,
1890s or 1900s  (detail)

Message in a Bottle
Triggered by a chance finding of a lemonade bottle, artists Clive A Brandon and Cat Meighan began looking into the lost industry of pop making. At one time there had been a proliferation of aerated water companies and lemonade producers across the inner Moray Firth area. The result of their exploring the historical contexts of these places, and the journey to find them, was an installation as part of the Trace Ingredients exhibition at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery in 2017.

Listen to an Interview with Clive and Cat about their search for the lost lemonade factories of the Moray Firth.

Bottles used by Reid, the first owner of the Fortrose manufactory, and then Grant; dating to between the 1890s and 1910s

Groam House Museum has a few of the glass bottles used by the lemonade makers. 
Have you found any?

A Victorian ‘Codd’ bottle manufactured for J Reid of Fortrose elsewhere in Scotland in the 1890s 


Have a go at an online jigsaw of our proud lemonade manufacturers – the details are fascinating!

Make Fizzy Lemonade

Sadly, the aerated water factory is no more. Why not have a go at making your own fizzy pop. Great fun with the kids.