Derbyshire Museums Manager Ros Westwood has been provided with more fascinating information about a well-known product to add to her original blog.
Last time I asked if anyone could help the museum with more information about the Buxton Mineral Water Company, and over the weekend a local researcher has done just that. Huge thanks to her for her help. Here is what she has found:
The first reference to Buxton Water being bottled and sold is in a copy of the Morning Advertiser, a London newspaper for Tuesday 17th April 1855. Someone in the town had paid for four front page adverts. In those days the classified adverts were on the front page of the paper, printed in dense columns – and one of them reads:
Buxton Mineral Waters. – Bottled by authority at St. Ann’s Springs. – Sold in Pint Bottles, with direction for Use, by Francis E. Nielson, Pharmaceutical Chemist, the Quadrant, Buxton; and by Hawkins and Co. Importers of Mineral Waters, Duke-Street, St. James’s, London.
I like the idea of London city dwellers being able to have restorative drafts of Buxton Mineral Water more than 150 years ago as they went about their business, or served to them in their fine Victorian homes! Shame we’re not told how much this pint of water cost.
The other adverts were for St Ann’s Hotel in the Crescent, the Buxton Bath Charity and for the book: A hand-book to the Peak of Derbyshire and to the use of the Baths and Mineral waters of Buxton, by William Henry Robertson MD. It was advertised as available at all booksellers and at the railway stations. We gave you a flavour of this book previously.
I assume the water was being bottled in the torpedo shaped Hamiltons, which have the advantage of lying neatly top to bottom alongside each other probably cushioned by densely packed straw in cases or wicket baskets. I assume the bottles would have been transported on carts of packhorses to the canal basin at Buxworth and then the precious water would have been taken by barge through the canal system to London, since the trains had not yet got as far as Buxton at this date.
The next snippet we have is to announce that the Buxton Mineral and Aerated Water Company, Buxton, Derbyshire was dissolved on or before 12 October 1872. But a new company almost immediately springs from the ashes, when the Buxton Herald and Gazette of Fashion (yes, I typed that correctly!) minutes the first ordinary meeting of shareholders for the Buxton Mineral Water Company, under the chairmanship of W.S. Gandy, on 4 September 1873.
The minutes refer to the directors re-organising and systemising the business. Reading between the lines, this looks like a refinancing of the business. The chairman spoke eloquently of the quality and demand for Buxton Water, but if we come back to my interest, the bottling of it, he goes into detail:
Gentlemen, in addition to the ordinary Soda Bottles, we have now in use Barrett’s Patent or Corkless Bottles, and have this last month taken up a licence for Codd’s Patent Bottles: this is a bottle which, whilst offering the advantages of Barrett’s Corkless, also possesses special advantages itself as regards cleanliness and appearance, so that in this department we shall be able to please any choice of customers…
Hiram Codd had perfected the design of these bottles in this year, 1873, with a marble in the neck and a rubber seal, so Buxton Mineral Water Company was one of the very first licence holders.
Finally we come to Tebb, whose bottles of Buxton Water with his name on them are also on show in the new exhibition in the Wonders of the Peak gallery at the Museum.
He is Samuel Henry Oliff Tebb, who was born in about 1864 in Spalding in Lincolnshire. In 1881, when he was about 17, the family had moved to Newark-upon –Trent, and he was working as a ‘bottler’. Clearly there was opportunity at Buxton and by 1890 he was in Buxton, mourning the death of his first wife, Fanny Redfern, whom he had married five years earlier. But not for long, because in June 1891 he married Annie Turner – is this of the marble working family? – and in the 1901 and 1911 censuses he is listed as residing at 10 Rock Terrace, Buxton and working as a ‘Mineral Water Manufacturer’. Can you ‘manufacture’ mineral water?
The source for much of this research was the British Newspaper Archive and the website www.findmypast.co.uk. If you are interested in these finer details of history and research, this is definitely a website you’ll want to visit: it will keep you amused through some of the nastiest of the coming winter days. Don’t forget, that there are public access computers at the museum and in the libraries and staff can show you how to use these tools if you are unsure how to get the best from them.
My thanks again to the researcher who helped on this enquiry. We do appreciate the additional information the followers of the blog can give us.