Born in 1847, Francis Hartridge was pivatol in the formation of the soft drinks company that exists today.
Whilst working for his father at the family brewery in Kent, he trained as a brewer and ran the business upon his father's death, gaining valuable experience until 1868.
At the age of 35, he then purchased the Alliance Brewery, an independent brewery in Hambledon, Hampshire and The Hartridges Soft Drinks Company was born.
The geographical position of Hartridges within the chalk downs of Hampshire afforded it with a water supply of such quality that Francis saw the potential for its use in more than just beer.
By the early 20th century, Hartridges were selling their ales and soft drinks in a wide geographical area and a fleet of dray horses had to be employed. Even the much loved family pony Bess was used to make local deliveries.
During the war
During the First World War, the Hartridges’ horses were requisitioned by the military for war duties, leaving Hartridges without means of transport, other than little Bess.
Shortly after the 1918 armistice, Francis invested in his first petrol driven lorry, a Thorneycroft. The lorry had been designed to specifically carry Hartridge products and was equipped with racks at the back to carry jars of ale and a compartment to transport bottles of soft drinks.
By 1936 the business under the control of Francis' sons, Edward and Austin had expanded its fleet of lorries to supply the growing demand for their quality products. Hartridges continued to expand their highly successful business as other breweries and soft drinks companies throughout the the region closed.
A TWIST OF FATE
The business continued to thrive until a fateful night in 1940 during the Second World War, when a German
bomber, returning from a night raid on Portsmouth, dropped its bombs onto Hambledon. Most of the factory
was destroyed along with the brewing equipment, whilst the soft drinks plant was spared.
Post War Expansion
Edward's son Geoffrey Hartridge took over the business in 1952. The austere post war years were difficult but with the family traits of vigour and insight, Geoffrey rebuilt and expanded the soft drinks business. During the following decades, with the advances in the industry and improved road networks, Hartridges products were being sold throughout the United Kingdom.
Although the products have evolved since the days of Francis Hartridge, the company still uphold his strong beliefs in customer commitment, innovation, and pride in the products that carry the family name.
Today, the company continues to flourish under the fourth & fifth generation of Hartridges, who take a huge amount of pride in their ancestors.
Edward Hartridge (5th Generation)