We are indebted to Beth Scraggs, who responded to the nostalgic feature on food and drink in the 1980s in our summer issue with a few treasured memories of her own.
We’d sung the praises of Sodastream among other great names of yesteryear, but we’d got the decade wrong by a quarter of a century. Beth’s late husband George worked for Sodastream for 10 years from 1946, when the company was able to boast that it was ‘by appointment to George VI’. Indeed one of George’s jobs was to service the Buckingham Palace Sodastream machine, installed in the palace cellars. Unfortunately he was too discreet to say who used it and for what. Beth followed in his footsteps five years ago when she was invited to a Palace Garden Party.
George also put together and appears in an early brochure, which records that a gas cylinder, Sodastream machine, six bottles and accessories could be delivered anywhere in the United Kingdom for £19 12 0 (including ‘purchase tax’). The company’s telephone exchange was GULliver, which covered Kentish Town.
That was some time before Beth (pictured, right in the NAAFI) and George met. Their paths crossed when they both worked for NCR, known then as the National Cash Register company. They were married in 1977 and came to Tring in the following year. ‘He was very happy here, he liked Tring,’ said Beth.
George died in 1999 but Beth, now 91, still contributes to many aspects of Tring life. She’s membership secretary of the Good Companions Club, a sideswoman at St Peter & St Paul where she also helps with the flowers and communion linen, and she attends Oasis Club meetings. She enjoys reminiscing but chats as readily about the present and the future. But I forgot to ask whether she enjoys a fizzy drink…