Posts Tagged ‘aerated water works’

Julia Mina Balfour WATSON was William and Ann (nee Balfour) WATSON’s youngest child.

She was born November 28th 1897 in Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath.  Elgin Road is where Mayfield House is situated so I imagine that she was born in the family home.

Julie was born with Downs Syndrome.  I was told by a family member that Ann and William believed she was born that way because Ann had been under a lot of stress in the year prior to Julie being born.  Now we all know that stress is not a cause of Downs, but back in 1897 I guess there wasn’t the same knowledge that we have now so it’s quite probable they believed it.  I wondered what stress she might have been under so did a bit of research and discovered that on 28 January 1897 Ann’s brother James Christie BALFOUR died – cause of death pneumonia. James was 33 years old. Then I discovered that on 4 September 1897 her brother William BALFOUR died – cause of death aneurysm of aorta. William was 37 years old. Wow, losing two brothers in the same year. Now that would be rather stressful. I then discovered that on 4 December 1897 (just six days after Julia was born), after being ill with typhoid fever and enlargement of liver for 21 days, Ann’s sister-in-law Ann (nee Hodge) WATSON (wife of William’s brother George), died in Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath.  Her youngest child was less than a year old. Remember that in 1897 William and George were operating the Mayfield Aerated Water Works together so George and Ann and their family were quite possibly living at Mayfield House with William and Ann.  When George married his second wife, Elizabeth, less than a year later on 7 September 1898  his usual residence was noted as Mayfield House.  Hard times for the Watson family in 1897 I think.

I have only seen a couple of photos of Julia. The first one was taken in 1912 at the wedding of William Balfour WATSON and Josephine Maud PINKHAM in Picton.

Back row: William, Julia and Ann Watson
Front row: John Watson (son of William and Ann Watson)

The photo below was taken at Whangarata in 1931.

Watson family at Whangarata 1931
Ann, Julia, Jean Charlotte, David George holding David George jnr and William John Rhymer in front

I believe Ann and Julia (family called her Julie I think) lived with my grandparents, David George and Jean Charlotte Watson, for quite a few years. Ann died in 1937 and as far as I know Julie stayed at Whangarata for quite a few more years before she was placed in Kingseat Hospital where she remained until her death in 1951. David George received these two telegrams from Kingseat Hospital on 22 and 23 March 1951. The first telegram told him Julie was dangerously ill and the second one, sent just three hours later, said she had passed away.

I would be very interested to hear any stories you have to share about Julie.


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Dinner & Presentation in honour of Mr William Watson

Toast List and Menu

A fine dinner, served in an elaborate manner by Mr George Penman…

declared the Kinross-shire Advertiser reporter in the Saturday 2 June 1906 edition of the paper, as he described the dinner and presentation to William Watson. Read the full article below:

Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 2 June 1906

A week before the dinner the article shown below had appeared in The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 19 May 1906. Can you spot the mistakes? Click on the image to enlarge. I have transcribed the article below for easier reading.

The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 19 May 1906





An unexampled instance of longevity in a family, so far as we know, occurs in the family record of Mr William Watson, who is leaving Cowdenbeath to take up a new home in Australia. In this case both the trees have an equal claim to long life, there being four generations alive on each side. Curiously enough, too, on the male side each member is the eldest of their respective generations, and on the female side each lady is in turn the eldest daughter.

One photograph shows Mr Watson, his father John, his son William, and his grandson John. In the group of ladies, Mrs Watson is sitting beside her mother (Ellen); and standing beside them is her daughter Ellen and her granddaughter Ann. In the male group there are two Johns and two Williams, and on the female group two Ellens and two Anns.

For many years Mr Watson has been closely associated with every progressive movement in the burgh of Cowdenbeath. He is an ardent sportsman, and has gained championships in nearly every game he has taken part. He is well known throughout Scotland as an angler, and has during the past few years gained nearly every cup and prize offered for competition in this great sport.

All local institutions have benefited by his public-spirited, kind-hearted and generous manner. His latest beneficence, the presentation of a cup for competition at the bowling green, will perpetuate his name among Cowdenbeath bowlers. He is also a loyal mason, and is at present one of the principal office-bearers in the local Arch Lodge.

Now for the mistakes, and there were a few –

  • They were going to New Zealand not Australia.
  • Neither John (snr) nor William (snr) were the eldest sons, John had an older brother Hugh and William was also a second son, his older brother was John. Ann (snr) was the third daughter in her family.
  • In the male photo the two younger males were named wrongly. William’s (snr) son was John (not William) and his grandson was William (not John)
  • In the female photo the two named Ellen should be named Helen.

The photos used are portions of the four generation photos shown here and here. I wonder if they were taken specifically for that newspaper article.

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It would seem creating an aerated water works from a disused sawmill was not without its problems, one of which involved a dispute about a wooden shed, well documented in the Dunfermline Journal in April and May 1897.

I stumbled across the following articles while searching the microfiche archives of Dunfermline Journal. [For those who don’t know, a microfiche is a 4 by 5 inch piece of photographic film, containing printed information in a size too small to be seen by the naked eye. Microfiche require a special reader to enlarge the type size.]

Transcribed from Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 24 April 1897, page 3 Left mouse click on image to enlarge

Transcribed from Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 8 May 1897, page 3 Left mouse click on image to enlarge

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Ceramic bottle top

At the meeting of the Police Commissioners of the Burgh of Cowdenbeath held on 11 February 1897 the following application for water was granted (left mouse click on the image for a larger version of this image):

Application for water - taken from Minute Book Burgh of Cowdenbeath Volume II - 11 Dec 1893 - 8 June 1899, page 290

By April 1897 Mayfield Aerated Water Works had commenced operations. The Burgh of Cowdenbeath Minute Books record the amount of water that passed through the water meter at the Mayfield Works.  The meter was generally read monthly. Peak usage of 52,200 gallons was reached in September 1899 and a low of 600 gallons was recorded in January and February 1903.  September 1900 had the following note recorded: The meter could not be read owing to an engine having been erected in front of it.

I spent many hours trawling through the old Burgh of Cowdenbeath Minute Books which are held at the Dunfermline Library looking for references to William WATSON and the Mayfield Aerated Water Works. The following table is created from the monthly totals recorded in the minute books.

Water passed through water meter at Mayfield Aerated Water Works

Further notes from the minute book Burgh of Cowdenbeath:

20 May 1902

A plan of a store room for William Watson, Aerated Works, Elgin Road was passed.

21 September 1905

The following plan was passed: A plan for an addition to the property of Mr William Watson, Mayfield House of a harness room and feed room.

Partial front page from The Caterer and Refreshment Contractors Gazette, Volume 1 Number 1

Advertisement for bottling machines, engines, soda water machinery etc.

Advert for soda water machines and all appurtenances connected with the business

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Brass plaque from Mayfield House, Cowdenbeath

In 2000 I was fortunate to be able to spend seven weeks in Scotland.  I stayed with my Aunty Kirsteen and Uncle Gil in the centre of Dunfermline in a flat belonging to Uncle Gil’s brother David Gray.  I spent many hours researching our family at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library (which is  less than 100 paces from the flat I stayed in), Register House in Edinburgh and The National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.  One of the gems of information I found at The National Archives is partly transcribed below:

Disposition by Alexander Henderson with consent to
William Watson and George Watson.

At Edinburgh the sixth day of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety seven between the hours of eleven and twelve forenoon the Disposition underwritten with Warrant of Registration thereon was presented by Robt S Young Solicitor Kinross and is with said Warrant of Registration recorded as follows: I Alexander Henderson supervisor of Inland Revenue Kirkliston heritable proprietor of the subjects after disponed in implement of  a minute of sale dated the eighth day of January Eighteen hundred and ninety seven entered into between Messieurs Wilkie Youden and Bruce Solicitors Leven my Law Agents on my behalf of the first part and William Watson Coal Merchant Kinross of the second part and in consideration of the sum of Four hundred and eighty five pounds Sterling instantly paid to me by the said William Watson and by George Watson Aerated water manufacturer presently residing at Number eight Alexander Street Dysart being the price thereby agreed on of which I hereby acknowledge the receipt and discharge the said William Watson and George Watson Do hereby at the request of the said William Watson as testified by his subscription hereto Sell and Dispone to the said William Watson and George Watson conjunctly and their heirs and assignees whomsoever heritably and irredeemably all and whole that area or piece of ground forming part of the lands and estate of Foulford extending to one acre thirty seven poles and five yards imperial measure or thereby and which piece of ground is bounded as follows videlicet on the east by the North British Railway on the south by the lands of Stevensonbeath and on the north and west by lands belonging to the Cowdenbeath Coal Co all lying within the parish of Beath and County of Fife …

The Disposition continues on for another eight foolscap pages of handwriting which I am not about to transcribe here!  From what I can gather William  agreed to purchase the land described above on the 8th of January 1897.  He paid 485 pounds sterling.

Mayfield House is shown on the map below.  This is a copy of an 1895 map of Cowdenbeath. [Courtesy of Dunfermline Library – Local History Department, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland]

Partial map of Cowdenbeath showing Mayfield House

So it would appear that William and George had purchased Mayfield together. Interesting to see that George’s occupation was already noted as aerated water manufacturer and William was a coal merchant.

Further searching at The National Archives produced another Disposition, part of which is transcribed below:

Disposition by William Watson and George Watson to said William Watson

At Edinburgh the second day of July in the year One thousand eight hundred and ninety seven between the hours of ten and eleven forenoon the Disposition underwritten with Warrant of Registration thereon was presented by Jas A Masterton Register of Sasines and is with said Warrant of Registration recorded as follows: We William Watson sometime Coal Merchant Kinross now Aerated Water Manufacturer Cowdenbeath and George Watson Aerated Water Manufacturer sometime residing at Number eight Alexander Street Dysart now in Cowdenbeath joint heritable proprietors of the subjects and others after mentioned considering that it has been arranged between us that the conveyance after written should be granted for the purpose of vesting the said William Watson solely in the said subjects therefore we the said William Watson and George Watson do hereby for certain good and onerous causes and considerations but without any price being paid give grand and dispone to the said William Watson and his heirs and assignees whomsoever heritably and irredeemably all and whole that area or piece of ground …

There follows another four pages of legal land descriptions/history of the property and then the following:

…before these witnesses John Watson Vanman and Nellie Watson Bottlewasher both residing at Mayfield Cowdenbeath…

So, having purchased Mayfield House and surrounding land together in January 1897 by July 1897 William had become the sole owner. Witnesses were William’s son and daughter John and Helen (aka Nellie).

Mayfield House

Rear view of Mayfield House

The photos of Mayfield House were taken in 2000. The external stairs and single storey addition to the left were added after the Watson family emigrated to New Zealand.  While Mayfield House is now showing her age and has been converted into two dwellings it is still obvious to see she was once quite a grand house.  And the brass plaque at the top of the page? Well, that was given to me in 2000 by the then owner of Mayfield House, Mrs Davina Jeffrey. She was a lovely lady in her eighties who welcomed me into her home on a couple of occasions. Aunty Kirsteen and I went to see her shortly before I returned home to New Zealand and she gave me the plaque. She thought I might like it because my great granny would have spent hours polishing it.  Apparently there used to be a brass bell at the front door but it was stolen many years ago. After the bell was stolen, Mrs Jeffrey removed the plaque and stored it inside in case it too was stolen.

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William WATSON circa 1898

I remember my dad telling me that his grandad had a lemonade factory in Scotland. We knew William WATSON had emigrated to New Zealand in 1906 from Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland and that there had been a farewell dinner held in his honour (we have a copy of the menu from that farewell dinner). I wrote to the Cowdenbeath Branch Library in October 1998 to see if they held records that could prove William did indeed own a ‘lemonade factory’. This is the reply I received in August 1999.

Letter from Miss A Rodwell, Fife Council Libraries

Advertisement for Watson Brothers, Licensed Bottlers & Aerated Water Manufacturers in People's Illustrated Almanac for Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly & District for 1898

Great – proof that the lemonade factory was not just a family legend! Now to find out which Watson brothers were in business together.  A trip to Scotland in 2000 for a bit of family research sounded like a good idea to me!

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