‘Among the things which are associated with Helensburgh and which have made it famous throughout the kingdom is it’s manufacture of aerated waters…’ Helensburgh And Gareloch Times, June 26, 1895

James A.Reid, from Bathgate, came to Helensburgh c.1880 and set up as a chemist and aerated water manufacturer, with a shop, Apothecaries Hall, and a factory, at different addresses on Clyde Street. In 1895, Reid moved his enterprise to a new factory at 67-69 James Street. Water, supplied to an exquisite spring-house, came from 500ft down- a record at the time! Descriptions of the spring-house, taken from the Helensburgh and Gareloch Times, read as follows:

‘The interior of the spring or pump-house is decidedly Oriental in appearance, and together with it’s workmanship of unsurpassed order, and the bright, substantial and enduring finish of its artistic contour, to say nothing of the fathoms deep which divide the fountain from the source, the “Lily Springs” are unrivalled in the United Kingdom’

and

‘The pumping machinery is partly worked here, especially the shaft to the gear of which is attached a unique white metal spray fountain with nine small water jets and lilies, from which the water emerges by stealth, rises, curves and falls into a large tiled opening……..’

The suitability of “Lily Springs” for the export trade meant that large orders were dispatched far and wide, from Spain to America. The factory was eventually taken over by Garvies lemonade manufacturers, who moved production to Milngavie in 1957, due to alleged contamination of the water.

The “Lily Springs” bottle on display in Colquhoun Square has been generously donated by archaeologist Fiona Baker, who excavated it at the Bottle Dump site at Colgrain, Helensburgh, where Waitrose is now located.