GALLERY: Malt, 1955–1969

The Other Fellow’s Job No. 10: The Maltster’ by Richard HiltonHouse of Whitbread, Spring 1955, with photographs by P.M. Goodchild.

In these mod­ern times, when machin­ery has large­ly replaced the hands of the crafts­man, one might think that the ingre­di­ents of beer are large­ly sub­ject­ed to numer­ous mechan­i­cal process­es in the course of their evo­lu­tion. And many of them are – but the malt­ing process is one that has stood the test of time, and remains the secret of the crafts­man who trans­forms the corns of bar­ley into that most valu­able ingre­di­ent of all – malt.”

A man with a specially designed wheelbarrow.
“C. McCabe car­ries the bar­ley in a spe­cial­ly designed malt bar­row.”

When a new load of bar­ley arrives at the malt­ings, the first men to han­dle it are the gra­nary hands. It is their job to dry the bar­ley to about 12 per cent of mois­ture so that it can be kept in bulk with­out dete­rio­r­i­a­tion; next, they clean and ‘screen’ it to extract the small or bro­ken grains… Typ­i­cal of the gra­nary hand at the Whit­bread malt­ings in East Dere­ham in Nor­folk is Chris McCabe. An Irish­man, 64-year-old McCabe start­ed with Whit­bread­’s eleven years ago, and takes great pride in his work.… Before he came to East Dere­ham he worked in large malt­ings in Ire­land.”

A man in flat cap and overalls.
“As fore­man of the East side of the Dere­ham malt­ings, Wal­ter Lam­bert has many respon­si­bil­i­ties. Here, he is adjust­ing the oil burn­er on one of the bar­ley kilns.”

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GALLERY: Women Working in Pubs and Breweries, from the Archives

It’s International Women’s Day which seems like a good reason to share this collection of pictures of women working in breweries and pub we’ve been bookmarking in old brewery magazines.

There’s an edi­to­r­i­al choice being made here, of course: to find these pic­tures of cool women doing cool stuff we had to wade through a lot of pho­tos of sec­re­taries sit­ting on men’s laps, booth babes, hop queens, cheese maid­ens, and biki­ni com­pe­ti­tions. Don’t think from what you see below that Whit­bread, Wat­ney’s or any of these oth­er firms were bas­tions of fem­i­nism.

You’ll also note that the pic­tures back up what we said in the post we wrote on women in British beer a few years ago: there’s not much evi­dence of female brew­ers in the post-war peri­od, women being gen­er­al­ly con­fined to admin­is­tra­tive func­tions, bot­tling lines and lab­o­ra­to­ries. In fact, why not start in the lab?

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News, Nuggets and Longreads 13 January 2018: Rawtenstall, Lincolnshire, Mars

Here’s everything that’s grabbed our attention in beer and pubs in the past week from jam sandwiches to Mars exploration, via a few rounds of India pale ale.

The ‘World Cup Of…’ has become a pop­u­lar Twit­ter meme, allow­ing users to vote for their favourite bis­cuit­s/­film­s/­sub-species in a series of rounds until only the best are left stand­ing. Now, south Lon­don relaxed-lifestyle blog Desert­er has used just such an exer­cise to iden­ti­fy the top ten pubs on its manor. You might not agree with the final round-up, espe­cial­ly if you know that part of the cap­i­tal well, but there’s no doubt­ing that it’s a handy starter set and plen­ty to keep any vis­i­tor busy for a long week­end.

Jam sandwiches.

Katie at The Snap and the Hiss has done some­thing we’ve always want­ed to and vis­it­ed Fitz­patrick­’s Tem­per­ance Bar in Rawten­stall, Lan­cashire:

Mr Fitz­patrick­’s OG mix­tures have been brewed since 1836 and as far as any­one is will­ing to reveal, the recipes haven’t changed since the fam­i­ly moved to Eng­land in 1899. The menu is exten­sive, with these fab­u­lous Fitz­patrick cor­dials at the cen­tre of it all.… I chose a cold fizzy Rhubarb and Rose­hip, which was unrea­son­ably deli­cious. Yes, it would be sen­sa­tion­al with a dash of vod­ka, but alone it was total­ly pass­able as a social drink. I also picked a Hot Tem­per­ance Tod­dy, which is Blood Ton­ic, lemon and hon­ey. I was imme­di­ate­ly cured of every ill­ness known to West­ern med­i­cine and could sud­den­ly sing in a per­fect sopra­no.

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News, Nuggets & Longreads 11 November 2017: Morrison’s, Magic Lanterns, Mental Health

Here’s all the news, opinion and pondering on pubs and beer that’s seized our attention in the last week, from old London pubs to Mishing rice beer.

First up, from Richard Cold­well at Beer Leeds, what we think counts as a scoop: a branch of the Mor­rison’s super­mar­ket near him has installed a cask ale line in its cafe. Super­mar­ket cafes are one down the rung from Wether­spoon pubs in terms of hip­ness but are, at the same time, extreme­ly pop­u­lar, offer­ing com­pet­i­tive­ly priced, unpre­ten­tious meals. Adding draught beer to the mix is an inter­est­ing if unex­pect­ed move. “I won­der how long it will take before a super­mar­ket café gets in the Good Beer Guide?” Richard asks.

Pub interior.
The Wid­ow’s Son, Bow.

The always absorb­ing Spi­tal­fields Life has anoth­er huge gallery of archive pho­tographs of Lon­don pubs, this time sourced from a new­ly digi­tised col­lec­tion of glass slides once used to give ‘mag­ic lantern shows’ at the Bish­ops­gate Insti­tute.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 11 Novem­ber 2017: Morrison’s, Mag­ic Lanterns, Men­tal Health”

Dead Fox

From the West­ern Dai­ly Press, 8 Octo­ber 1975:

The Old Fox, Bris­tol’s newest old pub or old­est new pub, will be offi­cial­ly opened this after­noon, but the trou­ble is no one knows exact­ly how old it is… The peo­ple from CAMRA, the Cam­paign for Real Ale, whose laud­able ambi­tion is to keep alive the taste for beer from the wood, bought The Old Fox in Fox Road, East­ville, when it was due for demo­li­tion… And so far they have traced it back to 1758 when it was men­tioned as being up for sale.

Land­lord Peter Bull… with his wife Sylvia will be serv­ing devo­tees with pints of strange sound­ing brews like Six X, Brak­s­pears beers and South Wales Unit­ed… Archi­tect Edward Pot­ter has cre­at­ed a pleas­ant­ly archa­ic black and white inte­ri­or, a world away from rus­tic brick and plas­tic horse brass­es and work­men put the final touch­es to his £25,000 ren­o­va­tion scheme yes­ter­day.

Peter Bull.

From ‘All Things to All Men’, Finan­cial Times, 7 April 1976:

The Old Fox, over­look­ing a dual-car­riage­way cut and a scrap-yard, may not be every­one’s idea of smart pub decor, but at least it is worth it for the qual­i­ty of some of the beer it sells. It also reflects some of the tol­er­ance tra­di­tion­al­ly shown in this most tol­er­ant of cities.

From What’s Brew­ing, Feb­ru­ary 1982:

[The] Old Fox Inn in Bris­tol, one of [CAMRA Invest­ments] small­er and less prof­itable hous­es, has been sold to Bur­ton brew­ers Marstons for £120,000. It was felt to be bad­ly sit­ed in a city had many free hous­es… Invest­ments man­ag­ing direc­tor, Christo­pher Hutt, denied sug­ges­tions that the com­pa­ny was delib­er­ate­ly draw­ing back from being a nation­al chain of free hous­es into a South East/East Anglia/East Mid­lands firm.

You can read more about the sto­ry of CAMRA Real Ale Invest­ments in Brew Bri­tan­nia and about the his­to­ry of the Old Fox in this blog post by pub his­to­ri­an Andrew Swift.