Old article on London Stout

450px-truman_black_eagle_brewery_2005.jpgIn the Novem­ber 1854 edi­tion of Fraser’s Mag­a­zine, there is a fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle called sim­ply “Lon­don Stout”. It paints a vivid pic­ture of how a mid-Vic­to­ri­an Lon­don pub would have looked:

One of the ear­li­est things to strike our coun­try cousins is the uni­ver­sal appear­ance of the names of cer­tain firms, paint­ed in the largest let­ters upon the most florid back­grounds of the numer­ous pub­lic house signs of the metrop­o­lis. “What does ‘Reid’s Entire’ mean?” asked a fair friend of ours the oth­er day, look­ing up with her brown eyes as though she had asked some­thing very fool­ish, and point­ing to the puz­zling inscrip­tion on a neigh­bour­ing sign­board.

Lat­er, the writer describes a street porter-sell­er “with his lit­tle rack of quart mugs brimmed with the frothy liq­uid, or rat­tling the shiny pots against the rails by their sus­pend­ed strap”.

The best sec­tion, to my mind, is a detailed descrip­tion of the inte­ri­or of the brew­ery of Tru­man, Han­bury, Bux­ton and Co at Spi­tal­field, East Lon­don.

After the process of mash­ing the wort is pumped up into a large cop­per, of which ther are five, con­tainig from 300 to 400 bar­rels each, where the wort is boiled with the hops, of which often two tons are used in a-day. The boil­ing beer is now pumped up to the cool­ers. To get a sight of these the vis­i­tor has to per­form a climb­ing process sim­i­lar to that required get at the upper gallery of St Paul’s, and, when he has reached the high­est point lad­ders are capa­ble of tak­ing him, he finds his nose on a lev­el with a black sea, whose area presents a sur­face of 32,000 square feet.

Pho­to adapt­ed from an orig­i­nal by , and used at the Wikipedia arti­cle on the Black Eagle Brew­ery, on Brick Lane.