Roughsedge, William

William Roughsedge (1789-1866) was a mineral water manufacturer who worked for J. Schweppe & Co. in the 1810s and 20s, and later co-founded the Bristol-based mineral water company Roughsedge & Summers.

Roughsedge was born in 1789. Details of his parentage and early life remain sketchy, but by the mid-1810s, he was working for Jacob Schweppe. On the 28th of May 1820, Roughsedge married Mary Porter in Marylebone. The couple had two sons, Alfred Hornby and Frederick, both of whom later worked for the family company.

SS Great Britain's maiden voyage, Bristol Mercury, 1 February 1845

SS Great Britain’s maiden voyage, Bristol Mercury, 1 February 1845

Roughsedge moved to Bristol in the 1820s and he lived on Bridge Street from at least 1828 to the mid-1850s. He initially worked as Schewppe’s Bristol agent, but in 1834 J. Schweppe & Co. was sold to new owners and Roughsedge decided to form his own company in partnership with William Summers, another of Schweppe’s former employees. Their company, Roughsedge & Summers, was based at 37 Bridge Street. Roughsedge ran the commercial side of the business; Summers  was in charge of the factory. Although Roughsedge’s home was on Bridge Street, he travelled widely to promote the business and there are no records of him in any of the censuses. He is however recorded as one of the passengers on the SS Great Britain’s test voyage from Bristol to London in 1845.

By 1863, Roughsedge had moved to 13 Melrose Place in affluent Clifton, where he remained until his death on the 5th of March 1866. He left effects worth under £5,000 to his widow Mary. After his death, his half of the partnership passed to his wife, and the company continued trading under its existing name until the partnership was dissolved in 1869; thereafter the business became known as W. Summers & Co.


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