William Hay

Regent House, 183 Ferensway, HU1 3UA. Grid B3

William Hay was born in Lincolnshire in 1826, and attended the Hull and East Riding School of Medicine and Anatomy. He established his druggist business in Salthouse Lane in 1848, moving to 4 Regent’s Terrace (where Regent House is now) in 1870. In addition to running his druggist business, William established Hay’s Aerated Waters at the back of his shop, using processes developed by Joseph Schweppe in Sweden in the 1790s. William became the first person to distil the soluble essence of Jamaican ginger, which he began marketing in 1878, and which became widely used in the industry. William established his soluble essence factory in Walmsley Street in 1891, and the company was eventually taken over by Unilever, moving to Cheshire in 1966.