Slough Observer reported last week that the original red lettering of the iconic Horlick Factory will be used as part of the major redevelopment, following fears the signage will be lost forever.

In December 2020, developer Berkeley announced it was removing the signage above the factory in Stoke Poges Lane to prevent them from being destroyed during the works.

Dave Taylor, design director at Berkley Homes, added they were removed due to “structural issues” but replaced the lettering with new signage in the same font and red colouring.

Slough Museum have been working with Berkley Homes to connect the community to the heritage of the site and of this malted milk drink that has offered comfort – from infants to explorers – for over a hundred years.

The Horlicks factory in Stoke Poges Lane is perhaps the most beautiful historical industrial building still standing in Slough.

The idea to build in Slough occurred in 1906, when James Horlick bought a green field site from Eton College, but the building was not operational until 1908.

Slough Observer: The Horlicks Factory in all its glory The Horlicks Factory in all its glory (Image: Slough Museum)

The entire project cost £28,800 and by 1969, the extended factory produced 30 million pounds of powder a year.

Unlike the Mars Bar, Horlicks Malted Milk was not born in Britain, but originated in the United States.

In 1873 James and William Horlick took a trip from the Forest of Dean to Chicago and started to manufacture a patented malt drink made especially for infants.

In 1883 the famous drink we know today was born. However, it took until 1890 for Horlicks to be marketed in Britain.

Since the Slough factory was built, the firm has spread globally. In 1935 a factory was built in Australia and in 1960 a factory was built in the Indian Punjab to make Horlicks from buffalo milk.

Slough Observer: The Chimney outside the factory The Chimney outside the factory (Image: Newsquest)

The success of the company also led it to buy other companies, including Slough’s own Elliman, Sons & Co. in 1961.

In 1930 Horlicks even had an Antarctic mountain named after it, though this was mainly due to the company sponsoring the explorer who named it. In 1969, Horlicks was bought up by the Beechams.

There are many Horlicks-related artifacts, photographs, and ephemera in the museum’s collection, and we are proud to be working with Berkeley Homes it gives us a warm feeling that the famous factory will have a rich future as well as a past.