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:
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.