William Biscombe, or Biscombes as they were commonly known, was one of the major players in the mineral water trade in the Plymouth area, operating from the mid 1850s until 1953. The company was started at a time when there were only around  4 other companies producing ginger beer in Plymouth and was obviously built on a sound basis! Throughout this period the company operated from premises in Green St, Plymouth which were finally demolished during post-war redevelopment of the city centre.


 Unsurprisingly, they have left a vast array of bottles bearing their name, and in many cases, distinctive shield shaped trade mark. The following plates give a representative cross section of the types likely to be encountered. Amongst the codd bottles, examples of the Niagara and Beavis patents are found occasionally.




The Green St premises of W.Biscombe



bisc shield gb4


Various ginger beers used by W. Biscombe



bisc cham gb2


Champagne shape Biscombe ginger beers




Codd and flat based Hamilton bottles used by Biscombes


bisc codd det


bisc early torp

Earlier Hamilton bottle embossed Biscombe / Plymouth



bisc 6 new

A 6oz Hamilton bottle used by Biscombes





Various glass bottles used by Biscombes





Various glass bottles used by Biscombes





A fake bottle made in USA in 1970s, beware!










10oz Niagara patent codd bottle from Biscombes