#GoCosy: Bedtime Drinks

We’ve been getting cosy this winter and what better than hot bedtime drinks to warm us all up?

In January this year, The Mirror newspaper reported that “Stressed-out millennials” were turning to malted milk drinks, like Horlicks, to beat the pressures of modern life after its manufacture announced a sudden spike in sales. Since then, we’ve all been looking for comfort and this got me thinking about cosy bedtime drinks in the Gallery Oldham collection.  

Amongst our many tins, and jars is a vintage jar of Horlicks, once displayed in the replica street that some readers may remember from the Old Museum. Horlicks was invented in the late 1800s by brothers, James and William Horlick. Made from wheat flour, malt and skimmed milk, it was first marketed with the slogan: ‘For infants, invalids, the aged and travellers.’ 

We also possess a 1920s tin of its arch-rival Ovaltine. Ovaltine was originally named Ovomaltine; until a spelling mistake on a patent application gave us the shorter, snappier name. It was invented in Switzerland and launched in Britain in 1909. The Ovaltine company was a pioneer of advertising and marketing. It developed its own farms, using the most up-to-date methods and they often featured in its advertising, along with the landmark art-deco factory it opened in Hertfordshire in 1929. You can see a picture of this impressive factory here.

Ovaltine produced mugs and mixing glasses bearing its logo and famously sponsored the ‘Ovaltiney’s Concert Party’ show on Radio Luxemburg in the 1930s. There was even a children’s club ‘The League of Ovaltineys’ and their ‘We are the Ovaltineys’ jingle was soon being sung in playgrounds across the land. We also have a variety of cocoa tins, including Cadbury’s and Co-op ‘Lutona’, named after Luton, where the CWS (co-operative wholesale society) had their Cocoa and Chocolate works.   

Delicious Barlova gives you go: Oldham’s contribution to the bedtime drinks boom 

Tin of Barlova
Tin of Barlova

Perhaps most surprisingly, we have a tin of Barlova, a malted and chocolate milk drink made here in the Northwest, in Hyde. It was marketed as ‘Nature’s perfect nightcap’ and its distinctive blue and cream, or red and cream tins announced: ‘Made in Hyde, Cheshire, the dairy county’.

In its heyday, Barlova even had its own radio jingle, sung to the tune of ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’, it went: 

Baa baa Barlova, have you any go? 
Yes sir, yes sir, we’ll say so. 
Go for mummy, go for dad, 
Go for sister and go for the lad 
Go for the folks who live next door 
Go for Barlova at your store 
Yes sir, yes sir, we’ll say so 
Delicious Barlova gives you go 

Sadly, Barlova was unable to see off its bigger rivals and ceased production in the 1960s. It’s a shame there was never an Oldhamtine, but it’s still nice to know the Northwest once played a its part in putting the nation to bed.          

Gallery Oldham