In 1840 William Anderson Rose took over a company of oil and tallow merchants at 66 Upper Thames Street in London, renaming the business W. A. Rose & Co.
Aside from his business activities, Rose became a prominent politician. He served as Sheriff of the City of London in 1855 and was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1862. Rose received a knighthood and became a Conservative MP. He was elected as MP in Southampton from 1862 to 1865.
Sir William’s business also prospered. By the 1860s the company had evolved to become paint, varnish, tar and railway grease manufacturers.
In 1876 the company advertised as manufacturers of engine and lubricating oils, paints, and varnishes for coach builders.
In 1914 the company was still active at the same address in Upper Thames Street.