Cotterell, Joseph Francis

Joseph Francis Cotterell (1818-1903) was an inventor and mineral water manufacturer who worked for Withy & Co. of Bath.

Joseph Cotterell was born into a Quaker family in Sea Mills, near Bristol on the 22th of May 1818. His father, Henry Fowler Cotterell, was a land surveyor from Bewdley in Worcestershire; his mother was a local woman named Sarah Sturge.

Cotterell is recorded on the 1841 census as a land agent staying on George Cole’s farm in Tockington, South Gloucestershire. Three years later, he co-founded the wallpaper business Cotterell Brothers with his younger brother Frederick, and in 1845, he married Catherine Naish from Axbridge, Somerset, who unfortunately died three years later. By 1851, Cotterell Brothers had become a successful business that employed 25 men.

After his wife’s death, Cotterell remained single for ten years, but he eventually married Antonio Stuart Prudencio in Bradford on Avon in 1858. Three years later, they were recorded as residents of Avon Side Cottage in Saltford, where they lived with their first son Francis Antonius. By this date, Cotterell was working at Withy & Co.’s soda water factory in Orange Grove, Bath, where he employed 26 men and boys.

During the period 1867-71, Cotterell and his brother-in-law, Francisco Prudencio, registered three joint patents for new aerated water bottling machinery and bottle closures.

By 1881, Cotterell’s family, which then included three daughters, had moved to Crescent Road in Newport, but by 1901, they had returned to 448 Gloucester Road in Bristol. In both instances, he is recorded as an accountant.

Joseph Cotterell died in Bristol in 1903. His son, Francis, became one of the first four managing directors of Brooke & Prudencio Ltd.


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