A brief history of J Wadsworth – A unique family run business

John Wadsworth
John Wadsworth

John Wadsworth was Mayor of St.Ives in 1879 -1880. He was a member of the first council of the Borough of St.Ives from 1876 to 1885.

St Ives bridge

Photograph courtesy of the Norris Museum collection

In 1869 he started a company at number 1 Bridge Street ‘John Wadsworth Mineral Water Manufacturer’.

Wadsworth’s delivery cart can be seen on the left of the picture of Bridge Street.

J Wadsworth's Aerated Beverages
J Wadsworth’s Aerated Beverages
Advertisment for Wellington Street, Cambridge
Advertisment for Wellington Street, Cambridge

In 1879 the business expanded into the bigger market place of Cambridge. The new bottling works, which was located in Wellington Street, was run by one of his sons Earnest Arthur Wadsworth.

By the turn of the century there were depots in Mildenhall, Ely, Chatteris and St.Ives. By this time John employed another of his sons, Horatio to manage the bottling works in St.Ives.

Wadsworth bottle with marble
Wadsworth bottle with marble

The sparkling drinks produced were supplied in special glass bottles. These used a ‘marble’ in the neck to keep the fizz in. Today these are collectors items!
The Cambridge business went into partnership with another local manufacturer Barkers, becoming ‘Barker and Wadsworth’, moving to the Barkers factory site on Willis Road, Cambridge. Sadly soon after the Second World War, the Cambridge site closed.

Manor House, Bridge St
Manor House, Bridge St

The Manor House, 1 Bridge Street, the site of the first bottling works.

Under the guidance of the present owner Mr Rex Wadsworth (the great, great grandson of John Wadsworth) moved into the wine & spirits market. Due to expansion in the early 1970’s, it relocated from its Bridge Street site and today has a thriving trade at its present location on The Broadway.
Wadsworth’s shop front, The Broadway, St.Ives


  • Mary Sparks
    Posted 10th May 2016 1:45 am 0Likes

    I have a bottle with the name Wadsworth & Sons, Cambridge on it. My maiden name is Wadsworth. I was
    interested in the history of the bottling company.

    • Phil Matthews
      Posted 4th June 2016 2:48 pm 0Likes

      Dear Mary,

      Thank you for your enquiry and apologies for the very late reply.

      As manager of the shop, I know little of the history of the company apart from what is written on the website, and as far as I know there has never been any books or literature written about it’s history.

      There may be archives held in Cambridge Library, which would be a good place to start or likewise in Huntingdon. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will do my best to answer them.

      Kind Regards

      Phil Matthews.

Comments are closed.

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