When Barclay Perkins tried to evict my great grandad

great grandad as a teenager
My great grandad aged 18

One of the oddest, most wonderful moments researching 20th Century Pub was stumbling across my own great grandfather in the archives.

I was reading through volume after volume of minutes from the London brewery Barclay Perkins, tracing the story of their relationship with the Trust House movement and the development of their enormous improved pubs such as the Fellowship Inn, Bellingham.

Then, suddenly, there was a reference to an off licence round the corner from where I grew up, and a few lines down, the name of my great grandfather.

I don’t know all that much about him although I have photos and the odd document. I know he served in World War I which seems to have screwed him up somehow and during the 1920s he ran a grocer’s shop and off-licence in Walthamstow, which eventually ended badly.

From the minutes, I learned that Barclay Perkins owned the freehold on the shop and leased it to him on a short-term basis, with the lease expiring in 1930. In 1925, Barclays were approached by a wine merchant’s, Yardley’s London & Provincial Stores Ltd, who would pay more rent, and a lease premium to boot. They were also keen to do some bottling for the brewery, as they already did for Watney, although the board were less interested in this as Barclay Perkins did their own London bottling.

There’s an interesting insight into how these things worked: my great grandad bought beer from the brewery and also paid a royalty of 2d per dozen bottles of non-company beer sold. They were rather sniffy about his business generally; “…[Company] purchases were small and the royalty only amounted to some £12 per annum”. Also, the implication in the minutes is that Barclay Perkins would probably find another site and trade the licence.

Someone was dispatched to “inspect the neighbourhood” and report back. The following minutes record that the intrepid company rep had found out that the local magistrates would only issue a new licence if two were given up. In the meeting after that, the decision to grant Yardley’s a 21 year licence was deferred. It then goes quiet for a few months, and then the Board are asked whether they would consider it again – and then that’s it.

My great grandad continued to run the shop after 1930, so I guess the Yardley’s deal fell through and Barclay Perkins had to put up with his disappointing trade for a while longer.

Historic Beers for London

Ron Pattinson and Peter Haydon (Head in a Hat/Florence Brewery) are going to collaborate to produce around six historic beers a year, branded as Dapper Ales.

Their first beer will be ‘Doctor Brown’, a 4.1% ABV double brown ale from a 1928 Barclay Perkins recipe.

Ron’s knowledge of the nuts-and-bolts of historic beer is second to none. We don’t know Peter Haydon personally but we’ve enjoyed the couple of Head in a Hat beers we’ve tried in the past, and know that he’s also paid his dues digging in the archives.

It’s no surprise, that, that their statement is refreshingly and reassuringly free of ‘inspired by history’ weasel words:

Peter has attempted to recreate the beer as faithfully as possible, going back to original boil times, and parti-gyling the wort streams. The original hops used were Pacifics, Bramling, Fuggles and Golding, and care has been taken to get as close as possible to this original bill. American Cluster are what would have been meant by Pacifics, so non-English hops make a rare appearance in an A Head In A Hat beer. The Bramling is no longer grown due to its disease susceptibility, but it’s daughter, Early Gold, is, so that has been used instead.

Doctor Brown will be on sale in selected Fuller’s pubs in March.

Horselydown Denied

Anchor Brewery building, Southwark

As Des de Moor points out, beer geeks got very excited last year when news broke that Wells and Young’s were to start brewing Courage Imperial Russian Stout again.

We’re still sulking that the first brew disappeared to the states, except for a few bottles sent to beer writers and industry types.

What we find particularly frustrating, however, is that it’s possible to disembark from a boat on the south bank of the Thames not far from the building which still bears the words ANCHOR BREWHOUSE HORSELYDOWN; to walk past the site of the old Barclay Perkins brewery; and to a Young’s Pub with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral, without finding one drop of IRS.

London is simultaneously spoiled for beer, and oddly neglected — out-of-the-way locations are increasingly stuffed with craft beer bars while more traditional breweries use their flagship locations to sell burgers and Peroni.

If you want to drink a historic interpretation of imperial stout in Southwark, Harvey’s at the Royal Oak is your best bet. Plenty of other British brewers are also selling bottled beers inspired by Courage IRS, including the Old Dairy Brewery whose Tsar Top is based directly on a historic recipe.

Barclay Perkins 1, Austria 0

haynau

We spotted this on the site of the old Anchor brewery near London Bridge, round the corner from another plaque spotted by Jeff/Stonch a while back.

According to Thrale.com (“Anything and everything Thrale or Thraill”), here’s the story:

The Austrian General Haynau was notorious for the brutality with which he put down rebellions in Hungary and Italy. So… when the word spread that the ‘Hyena’ was in the brewery… he was attacked by draymen and brewery workers with brooms and stones, shouting ‘Down with the Austrian butcher‘. Haynau fled along Bankside pursued by the angry men and took refuge in the George pub… from which he was rescued by the police with difficulty, and spirited away by boat across the river. The Austrian ambassador demanded an apology, but the Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston sided with the brewery men, saying they were just ‘expressing their feelings at what they considered inhuman conduct‘ by a man who ‘was looked upon as a great moral criminal‘. Only after the intervention of a furious Queen Victoria and the threatened resignation of Palmerston was a more conciliatory letter sent to Vienna. Even then Austria was still so resentful that it sent no representative to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington in 1852.