Bit of info from the Derby Telegraph Saturday, March 10, 2012, plus I have added some:)
Burrows and Sturgess was founded in 1850 by Christopher Pritchard (who was formerly employed by J Schweppes of Friargate, Derby), who sold homemade ginger beer in brown stoneware bottles or large flagons to passing traffic from the old Toll House on Kedleston Road.
From there, a man called Harry Sturgess appears to have succeeded to the business before joining forces with W E Burrows, the head of a rival firm.
Other developments included the absorption of the bottling firm of Websters and an amalgamation with Severns, a large-scale wine and spirits merchant. For some years, they operated out of Woods Lane, Derby, with the last of the Sturgess family dying in around 1963.
Burrows and Sturgess Ltd might have had a long history in Derby but their timeline at their Slack Lane soft drinks factory was brief, from the dawn of the 1960s until 1968. By 1960, Burrows and Sturgess had long owned the bottling plant on the Ashbourne Road site of the former Strettons Brewery, but the major part of the business was by then the soft drinks factory on the south side of Slack Lane. It occupied land between an outpost of Rolls-Royce up to the rough access road to what was then Pelapone Ltd, which crossed the LNER railway line before heading up towards the Rowditch Brickworks. Before this time, the factory had been used for many years by Jones Tannery. On the Ordinance Survey street map of 1901 it is shown (with the house) and marked "Skin Works" and "Granby Works" (leather and parchment).
Jack Southall, was factory manager there from around 1962 to early 1969, Burrows and Sturgess having been taken over by R L Jones of Mansfield (later Mandora) late in the previous year. From 1958, he had been employed by Burrows and Sturgess at their Tividale depot, near Dudley, which was formerly Lissimores, themselves taken over by Burrows and Sturgess in 1957. Indeed, the company had depots at Lichfield, Leicester, Ilkeston and Mansfield, as well as a shop at Cromford and a wine and spirits merchants in Curzon Street (Severns).
However, Derby was the headquarters and boasted a huge fleet of delivery lorries. These ranged from giant vehicles such as AEC Monarchs and Merryweathers, Guy Invincibles and Warriors, right down to Kommer Bantams and electric-powered vehicles. They had a fleet garage on Manchester Street.
The most well-known pop was probably their orangeade, called Sunblaze, which won several Gold Medal awards at UK trade shows. Lim-Lem was their lemon and lime fizzy offering, and Jollipop, a long-vanished red coloured fruity bottle of energy! I don't think Burrows and Sturgess produced a Coke-type drink in those times – they apparently didn't think it would catch on!
The LNER railway line out of Friar Gate ran immediately at the back of the factory, where the company had its own siding, receiving fruit as late as the mid-1960s.
The offices, a short distance east along Slack Lane, almost opposite Arnold Street, disappeared in the early 1970s when R L Jones ceased production.Much of the factory building remained, later used by Littleover Transport, until early on the morning of February 9, 1978, when the site went up in flames.
The Ashbourne Road site produced a lot of Shandy there in the 1960s. The Burrows and Sturgess Social Club stood on the opposite side of Ashbourne Road, on the site later occupied by the petrol station, that has now closed dewn. It was once a stables building. A good source said it was a favourite after-hours drinking haunt of the local constabulary! The club was demolished in about 1969.
Burrows and Sturgess employed many characters. One of the general managers was J P Lissimore and other names were Arthur Morgan, Gene Hunter, Jack Billings and Alice Strange.
The firm also used to offer summer jobs to Derby County players in the pre-Clough days and several local stars could be seen helping out at the factory. Apparently one of the players had to go, as a result of incidents involving some disappearing pop!
It is understood the company once claimed to have invented Iron Brew. That may not be true, but at least they could spell it correctly!