Rogers Rock Co.

The famous Rogers Rock amber hybrid

There has been some speculation that the amber Rogers, Rocke, & Co. London, hybrid might be Indian. From the research I have carried out there is no doubt that it is definitely English, although there is an "Indian" connection.

Joseph Rock(e) was born in 1836/37 at Hayes in Middlesex, but as the early census records and the like are not online I have not been able to discover anything about his early life and childhood, and it is not until he is 24 years of age that he appears in any official documentation.

On the 1861 census he is living at 1 Britannia Villa, Hampstead, part of the household of his cousin Robert Baynes. His occupation was described as a "Warehouse Man." By the time of the 1871 census, Rock had married Robert Baynes's daughter Emily, and was the father of three daughters and a son. By now the family was living at number 2, The Grove, Merton Road, Wimbledon, and his occupation was a "Merchant/East Indian."

In 1881 Joseph's son, Edwin Baynes Rock, was a live-in pupil at St Mary's College, Harlow, but there is no trace of the rest of the family, pointing to the probability that they were outside the UK at the time, possibly at one of the company's European outlets?

The first mention of the Rogers Rock company I have been able to find is in a directory for 1882, where they are listed as "Rogers, Rock & Co. Merchants and East India Agents, 56 Friday Street, Cheapside, E.C.; 4 Blue Boar Court, E.C.; & at Brussels, Paris & Italy." They are again listed at the Friday Street address in 1884, and at Friday Street & Blue Boar Court in 1891, 1895, and 1899.

By the time of the 1891 census, Joseph had remarried, and his extended family, together with a number of servants, which indicate that the business was prospering, were residing at Holmfield, Crescent Road, Wimbledon. His occupation was listed as "East India Agent." The final mention of Joseph I have been able to find is in the 1901 census, when he is living at The Downs, in St. John's Parish, North Wimbledon. He is listed as an "East India Export Agent." There are no further listings of the business in any online directories after 1899.

I have been unable to find the identity of the Rogers part of the business, but perhaps someone with access to further official records and directories may be able to locate him.

All in all, I think this is conclusive proof that the Rogers Rocke amber hybrid was indeed an English bottle, although it might well have been utilised in India too.

© K. Morris 2005
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