Only Watney’s could be so bold

Can you see spot what drew us to the tatty old postcard of Main Street, Haworth, West Yorkshire, from the 1960s, reproduced above?

That’s right – it’s the adver­tise­ment for Watney’s, neat­ly cam­ou­flaged against the brick wall to the left, above a yel­low enam­el sign adver­tis­ing St Bruno tobac­co.

This par­tic­u­lar Watney’s ad cam­paign ran from as ear­ly as 1937, as explained by Ron Pat­tin­son here, along with details of why this design was so suc­cess­ful. Ron also pro­vides a love­ly image of the poster which we’ve tak­en the lib­er­ty of nick­ing:

What we want is Watneys
SOURCE: Shut Up About Bar­clay Perkins.

The real­ly inter­est­ing thing about the post­card, though, is that this poster should have appeared in York­shire, 200 miles from the brewery’s home in Lon­don.

In the 1960s, Watney’s grew and took over region­al brew­eries around the UK. It took over Bev­er­ley Broth­ers of Wake­field in 1967 and began invest­ing in Webster’s of Hal­i­fax at around the same time, tak­ing it over com­plete­ly in 1972.

So the poster in the post­card is a sym­bol of the arrival of nation­al brands, and of the homogeni­sa­tion of beer that trig­gered the found­ing of the Cam­paign for Real Ale in the 1970s.

But it’s not all one-sided: if you look close­ly, you might be able to pick out a small enam­el sign adver­tis­ing Tetley’s next to the Watney’s poster. That, too, would become a nation­al brand, tak­ing a taste of York­shire to the rest of the coun­try.

2 thoughts on “Only Watney’s could be so bold”

  1. That’s also where the excel­lent Fleece Inn, a Tim­o­thy Taylor’s pub is, so I wouldn’t be drink­ing Watney’s or Tetley’s there.

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