Samuel Smith Brewery pubs are a positive fixture in London today but 40 years ago, there weren’t any.
We’ve often wondered exactly how they came to have such a substantial estate in the capital and had gathered that it was a relatively recent development. Now, thanks to a recently acquired July 1978 edition of the Campaign for Real Ale’s What’s Brewing newspaper, we have all the details. The story is entitled ‘Sam Smith Rapped for “Own Beer” Pub’:
Samuel Smith, the Yorkshire brewers, have run into angry opposition to their plans for altering their first ever Greater London pub.
The Tudor Close in Petersham Road, Richmond, is a favourite local ale house serving such brews as Wadworth, Felinfoel, Arkells and Brakspear.
But now its new owners want to make big alterations to both the outside and interior… and replace the wide range of beers with Old Brewery Bitter, their only real ale.
According to CAMRA’s WhatPub website (note the lingering resentment in the notes…) the pub is now called the Rose of York and (via Google Street View) looks like this:
In May 1979, What’s Brewing reported that the brewery acquired a second London pub, buying the Anerley Arms in Beckenham from Charrington’s:
The late 19th century hostelry was rocked by a gas explosion last May and has been boarded up since… A spokesman for the brewery said they intended to restore the pub to its ‘former glory,’ using traditional materials to make the pub look ‘much as it did when it first opened’… [He also said] Smith’s were always on the look out for more houses.
What we still can’t answer with any confidence is this question posed by Jordan St John in February:
— Jordan St.John (@saints_gambit) February 1, 2015
Were they simply reacting to demand from the new breed of beer geek? Or was it that, with the industrial north struggling economically, they wanted a piece of a relatively more stable, affluent market in the south east of England?