Saturday, 2 February 2013

Robert David Roberts & Edge House

Bron-y-Graig (Edge House) is largely the creation of Robert David Roberts, who moved here in 1881. He started as assistant in a rural grocer’s shop and ended his life as High Sheriff of Denbighshire, and a very rich man.  Eventually the firm he owned became Morris & Jones of Liverpool.

Robert David Roberts (RDR) was born in May 1844 in Maerdy, where his parents were grocers.   When he left school he was apprenticed to another grocer’s shop – David Jones’ Derfel Stores in Llandderfel.  In 1862 he moved with the Jones family to Liverpool – David Jones was taking advantage of the spread of the railway to set up as a wholesale grocer.   RDR became his first commercial traveller – roving across North Wales with his pocket book of prices.    We have an example of this list dating from 1889.

RDR would have used the spreading rail network but he was famous for using his gig to travel in for over 40 years

In 1870 RDR was made a partner in the firm and in the 1870’s and 1880’s the firm went from strength to strength.  By December 1876 RD had capital of nearly £10,000, and by 1881 he had £20,000. This was due in part to the firm’s innovative approach – they introduced tinned salmon to the UK market and also speculated in oil.

All four of RDR’s sons joined the family firm as they left school.

RDR’s business success enabled him to become a highly respected and influential member of Corwen society.   He was a Director of the Corwen Water Company and Corwen Gas Company, and of Penarth Slate Quarry. He was a Merionethshire County Councillor and a Justice of the Peace.   In 1904 he was appointed High Sheriff of Denbighshire. 

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