Prudencio, Francisco Pedro Manuel

Francisco Pedro Manuel Prudencio (1838-1908) was a mineral water manufacturer, who co-owned Batten & Co., Batten & Prudencio and  Brooke & Prudencio Ltd.

Prudencio was born in Bath in 1838. His father was a Portuguese master tailor named Francisco Joaquim Prudencio; his mother was a local woman named Elizabeth Stewart. His parents were married in London in 1820, and moved to Bath in the 1820s or 30s. During the 1840s and 50s the family lived at 2 Abbey Place, Bath, where Prudencio’s father ran a successful tailoring business that employed eight men.

Prudencio married a local dressmaker named Elizabeth Sheppard in 1860, and by 1861 they had moved into Cromwell House in the Walcot district of Bath; their daughter Elizabeth Stuart was born the same year. At this date, Prudencio was employed as an engine driver.

By 1871, the family were living at 63 Villa Fields, Bathwick. Prudencio worked as a ‘horseman’ at a nearby soda water factory. His work must have included some involvement in the technical aspects of the business and between 1867 and 1875 he registered four joint patents for new aerated water bottling machinery and bottle closures; three of which were with his brother-in-law Joseph Francis Cotterell.

By 1876, Prudencio had entered into an aerated water manufacturing partnership with Charles William Batten and Joseph Griffin. The company was based in Bristol and traded under the name Batten & Co. The partnership was dissolved in 1880 following Griffin’s retirement, but the remaining partners continued trading under the existing name. By 1881, Prudencio had moved to No. 6 Armada Place in Stoke’s Croft, Bristol, close to their Nine Tree Hill soda water factory; Batten lived on nearby Sydenham Road. William Batten died in 1885, leaving Prudencio as the sole owner of the company, which he then re-named Batten & Prudencio.

In 1889, Francisco Prudencio and Thomas Brooke co-founded a new limited liability company that amalgamated their existing mineral water manufacturing businesses at Nine Tree Hill and Captain Carey’s Lane under the name Brooke and Prudencio Ltd. Prudencio was one of the four managing directors of the company.  Both existing factories were closed in 1890 and all their bottling equipment was moved to a new works on Newfoundland Road in St Pauls.

10 Sydenham Road, Stokes Croft, Bristol

By 1891, Prudencio and his wife were living at 10 Sydenham Road in Stokes Croft. By this date, he had become the chairman of the Bristol Bottle Exchange Association, an organisation who’s chief function was facilitating the return of missing mineral water deposit bottles to their rightful owners, and prevent their illegal resale, which was then was a widespread problem in the industry. By 1901 Prudencio had moved to 74 Rackhills (Woodlands Road), near the University on St Michael’s Hill. Francisco Prudencio died at home on Christmas Day 1908.

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