White Hart Hotel &

Mineral Water Works

    It is said that the scientist and philosopher Joseph Priestly, who is widely credited as being the "Father of the mineral water industry" for his discovery that water could be impregnated with "fixed air" (or carbon dioxide), was inspired by his observations whilst living at Calne. This is certainly true as can be seen by the following quote, however he had gained the knowledge of how to produce artificial mineral waters a little while before moving here which he had published in a small pamphlet intended for mariners, for he believed it cured scurvy.

 "I shall conclude this letter with observing, that I have found a remarkable difference in different kinds of water, with respect to their effect on common air agitated in them, and which I am not yet able to account for. If I agitate common air in the water of a deep well, near my house in Calne, which is hard, but clear and sweet, a candle will not burn in it after three minutes. The same is the case with the rain-water, which I get from the roof of my house. But in distilled water, or the water of a spring-well near the house, I must agitate the air about 20 minutes, before it will be so much injured."

(Priestley, Joseph. Experiments and observations on Fixed Air. London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1774. p.200.  See also: Directions for impregnating water with fixed air; in order to communicate to it the peculiar spirit and virtues of Pyrmont water, and other mineral waters of a similar nature. London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1772).

    William Bleaden (I have used Bleaden rather than Bleadon because it was the most commonly used spelling) was born in Calne in 1786, bapt. 30th March, son of Richard Bleaden and Martha May who married by license in Calne on 2nd July 1775. William married Louisa Cross in Calne on 20th May 1841, although he had already had at least 2 children by her: William (b. about 1828); Louisa (b. 1829, bapt. 25th Nov.) and there was also Martha (b. 1842, bapt. 29th Apr.).

    Louisa Cross died in August 1850 and was buried on the 24th in Calne and William Bleadon senior died on 23rd Nov. 1862.

    William Bleaden jnr. & Martha Bleaden his sister continued to run the hotel in partnership until the end of 1865. On 21st Jan 1864 at Calne, William married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the late Mr. George Bleaden of Calne. Likewise on Oct. 31st 1865, at Calne, Martha marries John Ryall, only son of the late Mr. William Ryall of Westbury (on Trym), Gloucestershire. On 22nd Dec. 1865 the partnership between brother and sister was dissolved. Martha and John quit the partnership, leaving William Bleadon at the White Hart until his death on 3rd Oct. 1876 aged 48. By 1901 William's widow Elizabeth appears in the census, after vanishing from the records for some years, living in Chepstow at Beaufort Square, where she dies on 10th April 1905, leaving her estate to her daughter Mary Elizabeth.

1 Gallon Saltglaze Stone Jar bleadon1.jpg
Impressed: Wm. Bleadon / White Hart / Calne.

No potters mark but likely Bristol.
Photo credit: private collection.

    James Edward Sell was born in Wantage, Berks. in 1834, bapt. 13th Apr., son of William John Sell & Emma. He married Elizabeth Ann Eaton, of Edinburgh, Scotland, at St. Dunstan in the West, London on 5th Dec. 1855. He appears at the White Hart in the 1881 census. James died on 8th Sept.1901 at Lambourne, Berks.

  In September 1886, Henry Mead of the Oak Brewery, Westbury, Wilts. applied for a temporary license for the White Hart, likely granted Friday 1st Oct. On Monday 15th Nov. 1886 the license was formally transferred from James Edward Sell to Edward Watson Mead, formerly of Westbury.

  Arthur Robert Ashton was born in Penzance, Cornwall on 13th Jan. 1859, in 1881 he was an accountant aboard the "Sir Francis Drake" in Penzance, moving from Southampton to Calne around 1889, but by 1896 he was running the Great Western Hotel, Station Road, Swindon. The White Hart, together with its Aerated Water Manufacturing business, came up for let in May 1895. The Licence for the Great Western was transferred from James Mitchell to Arthur R. Ashton in September 1896. He was at the Great Western until around June 1907 when he took over the Queen's Hotel, Teignmouth. He was here until the family emigrated to Canada in 1910. Arthur died in Ontario, Canada on 10th Jan. 1923.

6 & 10oz Hamilton Bottles Ashton1.jpgAshton4.jpg
Embossing: ARTHUR R. ASHTON / WHITE / HART / HOTEL / CALNE. Glassmakers: not marked. Length: 7.5" & 9.25".

Stone Ginger Beer Bottle Image not available

Potter: Price, Bristol. Height: 6.6".

6oz & 10oz Codd Bottles Ashton2.jpgAshton5.jpg

Glassmakers: Powell & Ricketts, Bristol. Height: 7.7". Image on right courtesy Codd Tony.

10oz Codd Bottle Ford1.jpg

Glassmakers: not marked but "N" on base. Height: 9".

6oz Codd Bottle Ford2.jpg

Glassmakers: not marked but "N" on base.
Image courtesy Codd Tony.

George Alfred Bradford was born in Avening, Gloucestershire in 1864, son of John & Emma who were proprietors of the George Hotel in George Street, Avening, Stroud. The White Hart was advertised for let again in the Western Gazette - Friday 11 June 1897. It is likely this is when George took on the hotel.

    The funeral of George Bradford (Western Daily Press - Thursday 27 January 1898) - "Yesterday afternoon the remains of Mr. George Bradford, of the White Hart Hotel, Calne, and son of Mrs. Bradford, late of the George Hotel, Stroud, were interred at Stroud Cemetary, a large number of tradesmen following the hearse. The coffin, which was covered in flowers, was taken direct from the Great Western Railway station." George had died on January 21st. George is possibly the source of "Ford aerated water works".

    It is likely that Henry Grindel was brought in by the Brewery to manage the hotel.

    Henry Grindel was born in Banbury, Oxon in 1847.his father was an Irish soldier in the 25th Regmt. and later a Yeoman Warder at the tower of London (1861). Henry married Minnie Clara from Halifax, Nova Scotia around 1890 and in 1891 he is running the Conservative club in Bradford West End, Yorks. He is at the White Hart in Calne for a short 1898 appearance in the directory for that year, and by 1901 he is a retired hotel keeper living in Devizes, Wilts.

    Albert John Collins Eaton was born Poole, Dorset in 1859, bapt.  20th July, son of John Eaton and Jane Jego Symonds. 

    Albert married Hilda Tapper Hulbert in Torrington, Devon, in 1895. Hilda Tapper Hulbert née Snell, born Upper Edmonton, Middx. in 1865, was a former landlady of the Mermaid Hotel, High Street, Yeovil with her late husband Frank (1891). Hilda had married Frank on the 4th April 1888 at All Saints, Edmonton. They took possession of the Mermaid in Yeovil on 21st June 1888. Frank died from complications manifesting from a cold and an internal disorder on the morning of Christmas Eve 1892.

    Albert died at the White Hart on 22nd April 1899, aged 39. Mrs. Hilda Eaton carried on running the pub as Mrs. J. Eaton but she was summoned for allowing gambling on the premises after hours in March 1901 and the license was endorsed at the Petty Sessions of the 14th March and she was fined £3. Shortly after this in 1901 Hilda Tapper Eaton married George Frederick Heath.

6oz & 10 oz Codd Bottles Eaton1.jpg

Glassmakers: Powell & Ricketts, Bristol. Height: 7.7".

    George Frederick Heath was born in 1875 in Calne, son of Alfred Heath and Mary Rose Pontin Hitchcock. His father was a printer, bookseller and stationer who, in 1881, was living in Park St. East, St. Augustine, Bristol. By 1891 the family were back in Calne, at The Bridge, High Street. In 1901 George was a clerk at the family's book shop. Later that year he married Hilda Tapper Eaton who was resident landlady of the White Hart.
    In the Western Gazette - Friday 10 May 1901, the White Hart was advertised to let, by Frome United Breweries Co., Ltd., Frome, Somerset. It also stated "There is also a Mineral Water Manufactory attached." G. F. Heath and Hilda took up the lease at this date. Hilda died on 1st December 1908.

    Edward S. Hunt took over the lease around 1919 but was under adjudication for bankruptcy by April 1923 and the lease was once again offered by the Frome brewery on 20th April 1923.


(Western Daily Press - Tuesday 08 March 1932)

    The funeral of Mr. George F. Heath (57), who died at Chippenham, took place at Heddington, Calne, yesterday, the Rev. E. J. Clifton officiating.

    The mourners were the widow, Messrs John, Robert, and Harry Heath (brothers), Mrs Sutton and Miss L. Heath (sisters).

    Among those present were Colonel E. P. Awdry, Mr & Mrs C. Cole, Mr Percy Cole, Messrs W. A. Cartridge, George J. Phelps and F. P. Barton (representing the West of England Commission Agents' Association), Messrs R. Bennett and H. Appleton (Bristol), Messrs J. Powell, S. W. Mann, C. Harvey, J. Harvey, R. Bailey, A. M. Portch, W. Cockram, W. Dickenson, G. Ferris and H. J. Pocock.

6oz & 10oz Codd Bottles Heath1.jpg
Embossing: TO BE USED / ONLY BY / G. F. HEATH / CALNE. Glassmakers: Powell & Ricketts, Bristol. Height: 7.75".

2 Gallon Stoneware Flagon Heath2.jpg
Impressed: G. F. HEATH / CALNE.

Powell, Bristol / 2
Image courtesy Codd Tony.

6oz Codd Bottle WhiteHart1.jpg
Etched in small circle: WHITE HART / HOTEL / CALNE.

Glassmakers: Powell & Ricketts, Makers, Bristol. Height: 7.3".

Return to Town Index