The Redfield Mineral Water Company

Mineral Water and Ginger Beer Manufacturers.

Thomas Maurice Biddle was born in Hereford on 22 June 1864 according to the census and 1939 register. It is however unclear where he was actually born. There is no birth registered for a Thomas Morris Biddle. There is, however a Thomas M. Biddle in the 1881 census who is son of widower John Biddle of Coventry. Tom here is in Lady Wood, Birmingham, employed as a tube drawer, and is the right age. His birthplace here is given as Erdington, near Birmingham. It looks like at age 10 this Thomas Biddle was in the workhouse in Birmingham.

He married Eva Jane Robins in Bristol in 1886. Eva Jane was born in Ilfracombe, Devon, in 1862, daughter of John and Jane Robins. Daughter Eva Gwendolen was born in 1893, registered in Bedminster.

On 29 August 1894 the license for the Prince of Wales, Western Square, was transferred from John Ridley to Thomas Biddle. On 3 April 1895 the license was transferred from Tom Biddle to Frederick Down Cox.

On the 20 February 1899 the license of the Bell, Bread Street, was transferred from Tom Biddle to Charles Frederick Smith, also at the same session the Goat in Armour, Narrow Quay, was transferred from Edward Addis to Albert Daley.

At the licensing session of 20 June 1899, the license for the Goat in Armour, Narrow Quay, was transferred from Albert Daley to Tom Biddle. It was transferred again on 30 August 1899 from Tom Biddle to William Hynd.

In 1901 Tom is a Licensed Victualler living with wife Eva at 7 Berwick Road, St. George, Bristol. The 1901 J. Wright & Co. directory puts him as victualler at the Old Bell at 9 Old King Street.

On 17 June 1902 the license for the Red Lion, 3 Avon Street was transferred to Tom Biddle from W. B. Anderson. He is still here in the Kelly's 1906 directory.

In the 1911 census Thomas is a brewery labourer at (late Percy Auty's) Lion Brewery and Mineral Water Works in Lawrence  Hill, in 1915 he purchases the Mineral Water plant etc, from the Brewery which was bankrupt in 1907.

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 25 January 1908 page 9: "BRISTOL BANKRUPTCY COURT, YESTERDAY.—Before his Honour Judge Austin, APPLICATION FOR DISCHARGE. Percy Richard Auty, formerly of the Lion Brewery, Redfield, brewer. —Mr Fairfax applied for the debtor’s discharge. The Official Receiver (Mr F. L. Clark) reported that the debtor filed his petition in February, 1907, and A. S. Cavell was appointed trustee. A first dividend of 2s in the £ had been paid, and another 2s or 2s 3d was probable. The debtor filed his petition to prevent mortgagees, who had issued a writ, from proceeding to execution, and attributed his insolvency to forced realisation during a period of depression. The debtor said he was now managing the brewery for his father, he was granted immediate discharge."

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 14 February 1914 page 1: "By Order of the Mortgagee.  SALE of the VALUABLE FREEHOLD PREMISES, known THE LION BREWERY, Situate at the Corner of CHURCH ROAD and VERRIER ROAD, REDFIELD, ST. GEORGE, BRISTOL, AS A GOING CONCERN, WITH OFF-LICENCE ATTACHED. MR. ALBERT FORD has received instructions to OFFER for SALE by AUCTION, at the GRAND HOTEL, BROAD STREET, Bristol, on WEDNESDAY, February 25th, 1914, at Three o'clock in the Afternoon precisely, the above-mentioned FREEHOLD 5-Qr. BREWERY, WITH OFF-LICENCE ATTACHED. The Whole of the Valuable Fixed BREWING PLANT, including: Copper Furnace, Steam Boiler,Hot and Cold Liquor Tanks, Mash-Tun, Malt Mill, Steam Engine, Shafting, Pumps, Copper and Iron Piping, & c., will be included with the Sale of the Property, schedules of which may be inspected at the Offices of the Solicitors and Auctioneer any day prior to the Sale. 
The Premises are modern, most substantially built, and comprise Brewery, constructed on the Tower principle, containing Cooling Room, Fermenting Room and Boiler House; Office, Bottling Store, Hop Store, Large Beer Cellar, Stable and Large Paved Yard.
The Propety occupies a prominent Corner Position in an important Main Thoroughfare, leading to St. George and Kingswood, and to which it has a frontage of about 57 feet,  also a front of about 76 feet to Verrier Road. The Premises are suitable for other manufacturing or business purposes.
The Mines and Minerals are reserved. Further particularsmay be obtained of the Auctioneer, Albion Chambers, Bristol; or of DAVID JOHNSTONE & CO. Solicitors, 31a Corn Street, Bristol."

More detail on the Lion Brewery is on a dedicated page.

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 18 June 1932 page 13: "MINERAL WATER BUSINESS FAILS. First Meeting of Creditors Bristol. The first meeting of creditors of Thomas Morris Biddle, mineral water manufacturer, of Midland Road, St. Philip's, Bristol, and carrying on business at Bishop Street, Russell Town, Bristol, was held before the Assistant Official Receiver (Mr William Ormiston) at the Official Receiver's office, Bristol, yesterday. The liabilities expected to rank for dividend amounted to £145, and the deficiency to £104. His causes of failure were stated to be ill health and not being able to attend to his business and bad trade during the last three years. The debtor (68) in 1915 purchased from the representative his late employer the horse and trolley and trade effects of the mineral water business carried on at the Line (actually the Lion) Brewery, Verrier Road, Bristol. He also was concerned in a business Lippiatt Road, Redfield. Official Receiver remains trustee."

From the London Gazette - 3 June 1932 page 3648: "No. 2,049. BIDDLE, Thomas Morris, 35, Midland Road, St. Philip's, in the city and county of Bristol, carrying on business at Bishop Street, Russell Town, Bristol aforesaid. MINERAL WATER MANUFACTURER.
Date of Filing Petition—June 1, 1932.
No. of Matter—23 of 1932.
Date of Receiving Order—June 1, 1932.
No. of Receiving Order—18.
Whether Debtor's or Creditor's Petition—Debtor."

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 11 June 1932 page 1: "In Bankruptcy. Re, T. M. BIDDLE, BISHOP STREET, REDFIELD. CHARLES A. TRICKS AND SON are instructed by J. D. Turner, Esq., the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy, to SELL by AUCTION, a above, WEDNESDAY Next, the 15th day of June, 1932, the MINERAL-WATER MANUFACTURING PLANT AND MATERIALS, HORSE, LORRY and EFFECTS, comprising Combination Bottle and Syphon Filler by Foster, Crown Corking Machine, Bottle Washer, Bottles, Syphons and Cases, Essences. CHESTNUT COB, 14.3 hands, Lorry, Harness, etc. On VIEW Morning of Sale. Sale at Half-past Eleven a.m."

Daughter Eva Gwendolin married Samuel Coles in Bristol in 1918.

Eva Jane Biddle died in Bristol in 1924.

Thomas is listed in the 1939 register as "Retired Mineral Water Manufacturer" and was living at 26 Lower Ashley Road.

Thomas died in Bristol aged 92 in 1957, and his death is registered as Morris T. Biddle.

Stoneware Ginger Beer Bottle Redfield1.jpg
Printed: *REDFIELD*/ MINERAL / (centre decoration) / WATER Co / BRISTOL

Two-tone glaze, internal screw stopper.
Potter: Price, Bristol.

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