William Willis, Quick & Co, and Young & Willcox.

Ginger Beer, and Aerated Water Maufacturers, Lawrence Hill.


William Willis was born on Holton, Somerset in 1829, baptised 17 Nov. 1829 at Holton, son of shopkeepers James and Elizabeth Willis. He married Eliza Grey at nearby Wincanton, Somerset, on 8 April 1850. He was a baker at the time of his marriage.

In 1861 William Willis was a confectioner at 3 Narrow Weir, Bristol, he had a son, James, age 9, born in Holton, and daughter Elizabeth Ellen age 1, born in Bristol.

The family clearly moved to Bristol some time during the 1850s.

By 1871 the family, still confectioners, had moved to Lawrence Hill, and added daughters Emma, age 7, and Mary, age 5.

William is listed in the directories as a Soda Water, Lemonade &c. Manufacturer from 1880.

In 1881 William is listed as a Ginger Beer Manufacturer, living with wife and daughters at 3 Lawrence Hill. Strangely, at the same time, this advertisement appears in the Bristol Mercury - Thursday 11 August 1881 : WANTED, MAN to re-stopper leaky Lamont's ginger beer bottles, French Aerated Water Company, Holton, Wincanton." I have not yet established any connection, however the factory in Holton was run by a Thomas H. Newman age 32 in 1881.

From the Western Daily Press - Wednesday 28 May 1884 page 2: "WANTED immediately, experienced BOTTLER for the Aerated Waters Trade —Apply W. W., 104, Lawrence Hill."

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 13 September 1884 page 1: "USEFUL HORSE, Cheap, suitable for oil cart.—Apply W. Willis, Aerated Water Works, 104 Lawrence Hill."

From the Western Daily Press - Friday 16 October 1885 page1: "TO be SOLD, in consequence of making room for larger, a capital ENGINE and Boiler, 2-horse power, complete. Would be sold separate, if required. Also quantity of Stone Jars for Sale. —To be seen at Willis's, Mineral Water Works, Rich's Lane, Lawrence Hill."

This machine unfortunately did not have a long career and neither did Mr. Willis.

From the Western Daily Press - Monday 1 March 1886 page 1: "TO AERATED WATER MAKERS.—A nearly new CYLINDER, with Gas and Water Pumps complete, at less than half-price. For hand or steam power.— Mineral Water Works, Rich’s Lane. Lawrence Hill."

From the Western Daily Press - Saturday 18 December 1886 page 2: "No. 104, LAWRENCE HILL.—To be LET, with large Yard and Outbuildings, opening into Rich's Lane. Rent £25. Apply James and Henry Grace, Royal Insurance Buildings, Corn Street."

William Willis, formerly of 104 Lawrence Hill but late of 132 Lawrence Hill, died on 21 July 1888.

From the Western Daily Press - Wednesday 10 October 1888 page1: "SALES BY AUCTION. THIS DAY. FREEHOLD PROPERTY LOWER EASTON, PENNYWELL ROAD, AND TWINNELL ROAD. BRISTOL. Re-William Willis. Deceased. MESSRS CUNNINGHAM & SMITH have received instructions SELL by AUCTION, at the WAGON AND HORSES INN, STAPLETON ROAD, THIS DAY (WEDNESDAY), October 10th, 1888, at Half-past Six o'clock in the Evening. The undermentioned PROPERTIES Belonging the above Estate. In the following or such other Lots as shall be determined upon at the time Sale, viz.:
Lot 1.—Two desirable DWELLING-HOUSES, Nos. 13 and 14, JENKIN'S BUILDINGS, situate at LOWER EASTON in the Parish St George, and let at 4s. per week each. These Houses are subject to a Ground-rent £2 3s. per annum.
Lot 2.—Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, PROSPECT COTTAGES (behind), situate at PENNYWELL ROAD, and let 2s. 6d per week each. This Lot is subject Ground-rent of 10s. per annum.
Lot 3.—Nos. 5, 6, and 7, PROSPECT COTTAGES (behind) situated aforesaid, let at 2s. 6d. per week each. This Lot is subject a Ground-rent of 8s. per annum.
Lot 4.—All that FREEHOLD DWELLING-HOUSE, formerly known as No. 2, afterwards as No. 3, now as No. 112. TWINNELL ROAD, close to Easton Road, occupied by a respectable tenant at a rent of £15 per annum, payable weekly, landlord paying rates and taxes. The House, which is well built, is tenantable repair, and has a good frontage. It contains six Rooms and Offices, with Backlet, and always commands a good tenant. This Lot is subject annual Ground-rent of £2 10s. The Minerals and the rights pf working are excepted. For further particulars apply the Auctioneers, at their Offices, 22, Clare Street. Bristol; or to Mr J. C. Glyde, Solicitor, Foster's Chambers, Small Street, Bristol."

Eliza Willis survived her husband and in 1891 was living at 4 Hill Street with daughter Mary and grandson Henry.

From the Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 06 February 1886 page 1: " Lot 2.—A WAREHOUSE and PREMISES, used as a Mineral Water Manufactory, in the occnpation of Mr. Quick, at the yearly rent of £15 " The freehold premises in Rich's Lane to be sold on 18 Feb. 1886 at the White Hart Inn in Old Market.

"Mr. Quick" is possibly Edwin Quick.

Edwin Quick, a blacksmith, was born in Wilton, Somerset, in 1846, he married Mary Ann Wilkins there on 11 Sept. 1866. In 1881 he was living at 5 Rich's Lane, Lawrence hill, virtually next to Willis's factory. In 1885 they were living at 8 Charlton Street where son Herbert James was born. By 1891 they were living with Mary Ann's brother George and mother Matilda at 12 Hemmings Parade, Lawrence Hill, where they had lived since son Charles was born in 1887. Edwin is a labourer in 1891 but by 1901 had become a coach painter. Son Arthur Edward was born 12 April 1879 and would only have been 8 when the company started. An advertisement from the Bristol Magpie - Saturday 30 October 1886 runs:

"BE QUICK"
Purchase the Mineral Waters, made by QUICK & COMPY.
Factory—LAWRENCE HILL, BRISTOL.
SPECIALITIES IN WINTER DRINKS. Price List to suit the times, apply to the Offices. 15, CHARLTON STREET.
The Three Q's are "Quality," "Quickness," and the "Cue," to manufacture only the best.

The old Charlton Street ran perpendicular to the end of Rich's Lane, and number 15 likely backed on to the factory yard.

From the Western Daily Press - Wednesday 10 November 1886 page 2: "WANTED, Two respectable Young WOMEN accustomed to the work in Mineral Water factory.—Apply, between the hours of one and two, to Manager, Messrs Quick & Co., Lawrence Hill, Bristol. WANTED, an active "Black" BOY that knows Bristol and suburbs well; to make himself generally useful.—Apply Messrs Quick & Company, Mineral water Works, Lawrence Hill, Bristol."

In February 1888, Quick & Co. were still members of the Bristol and District Mineral Water Bottle Exchange and Trade Protection Association.

At the 13 February 1890 meeting of the association, Quick & Co. were represented by J. Addis.

The Charlton street premises were then acquired by the partnership of Willcox & Young but the partnership was dissolved in January 1893:

From the London Gazette - 3 March 1893 page 1420: "NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, John Henry Bennett Willcox and Chilton Young, at Charlton-street, Lawrence Hill, in the city and county of Bristol, Mineral Water Manufacturers, under the style or firm of Willcox and Young, was, on the 17th day of January, 1893, dissolved by mutual consent. All debts owing from or due to the late firm will be discharged or received by the said Chilton Young, who for the future will carry on the business on his own account, under the style of Willcox and Young.—Dated the 27th day of February, 1893. JOHN HENRY BENNETT WILLCOX. CHILTON YOUNG.

John Henry Bennett Willcox was born in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire, baptised 22 Sept. 1837, son of publican John Wilcox and wife Mary Tizzard Tillett. He married Mary Neate at St. Paul, Portland Square, Bristol, on 5 Oct. 1863. In 1871 he was a clerk living at Sydenham Place, St. Philip's, and by 1881 he was a Shipping Clerk (as was Chilton Young, possibly how they met) living at Beaufort House, Staple Hill. John often uses the name Henry in the census, and in 1891 he is living on his means with his family at 43 Napier Road, Stapleton.

After he leaves the partnership, he becomes a carrier' clerk and in 1901 the family are in a private house at 139 Colston Road, Easton. He died in 1904 age 66.

Chilton Young was born in 1841 in Dodbrooke, Devon, son of Henry and Sidney Young. He married Mary Annie Branch at St. Simon, Bristol on 6 May 1876. In 1861 he was a clerk on the South Devon Railway, living with parents in Dodbrooke. After his marriage he was a superintendant on the Midland Railway living in Shirehampton. By 1881 he was a Cattle clerk at Avonmouth Dock.

Soon after taking over the running of the company Chilton Young reversed the name to "Young and Willcox", he did not last long on his own however before going bankrupt:

From the London Gazette - 25 April 1893: "FIRST MEETINGS AND PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS...Debtors name: Young, Chilton — Residing at 15, Washington-avenue, Easton, Gloucestershire, formerly of Percival House, St. Mark's, Easton aforesaid; Willcox, John Henry Bennett — Residing at 4, Henrietta-terrace, St. Mark's-road, Easton aforesaid, formerly of Elgin House, Freemantle-road, Eastville, Gloucestershire. Lately trading at Charton-street, Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Trading as Young and Willcox, Mineral Water Manufacturers. Date of First Meeting 3 May 1893."

After the company went under, Chilton returned to being a shipping clerk. He remained so until his death in 1911 at 6 Dormer Road, Stapleton Road, Bristol.

15 Charlton Street was sold in August 1893 and at that time was in the occupation of Mrs. Walkley.

Alfred Williams. In the 1993 J. Wright's directory Alfred Williams is listed as Mineral Water Manufacturer at Charleton Street. As there are several Alfred Williams resident in Bristol at the time it is difficult to pinpoint exactly who this is. Kelly's directory does not list anyone at this address in 1894.

Cyril Gent Wood.

In 1897 the factory was being operated by Cyril Gent Wood. At the time he was living at Stanley Villa, 185 Redland Road.

Cyril was born 2 May 1862, baptised 13 July at St. Philip & Jacob, son of solicitor James Gent Wood and wife Caroline Selman. His father died at Stanley Villa on 23 November 1883, leaving the family an estate valued at over £67,000. Cyril had at least two brothers, Francis and A'Deane. In 1891 he is "living on his means" at home with his mother Caroline. He appears in the Kelly's 1897 directory as a Mineral Water Manufacturer at Charleton Street, but by 1901 he is a Forage merchant and broker/employer, still at home. Caroline, Cyril's mother died in 1905 and Cyril had been working as an Insurance Agent at Bank Chambers, Baldwin Street, since at least 1897 until 1906. By 1911 he is living at Wrington, south of the current Bristol Airport. He died at 3 Albert Terrace, Weston-super-Mare, on 1 December 1919. At the time he was living at Bute Villa, 54 Uphill Park Road, Weston-super-Mare. He left his estate to Francis, but it was later revoked and went to A'Deane, solicitor.

10oz Bullet Stoppered Bottle Quick1.jpg
Embossed: QUICK & Co / BRISTOL (in circle) Boar's Head pictorial in centre.


Makers: John Kilner / Makers / Wakefield,.

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