Friday, 31 January 2014

Charrington Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1923

I'm definitely going to run this how-well-kept-was-Mild-in-the-twenties theme right into the ground. I know. I'm merciless.

Charrington's brewery on the Mile End Road was still standing the first time I lived in London, back in 1979. I lived not that far away, in Bromley By Bow. So went past it a few times. It had stopped brewing in 1975, but they hadn't got around to demolishing it. The former Mann's brewery just down the road was still open, but closed that year.

If I'm honest, that bit of London was pretty depressing. The scariest pub crawl I've ever done was down the Whitechapel Road. It included the Blind Beggar, the Mann's brewery tap. Horrible in just about every way. What I'm trying to recall is why I did the crawl more than once. What was I thinking?

Charrington was one of the big winners in London in the 19th century. Originally a specialist Ale brewer, it was well-positioned to profit from the switch from Porter to Mild. From a modest 20,000 barrels a year in 1818, it ended the century as one of the largest breweries in the city. Starting as a shark in the swimming pool of 1950's takeovers, it ended as whitebait, gobbled up by Bass.

Not all of the Charrington's brewery has disappeared. The southeast corner - it looks like the offices - remains. The rest of the site is a car park and Computer World. Not sure what that says about modern Britain.

Detailed OS maps from the late 19th century have been a revelation. Especially when transposed on a modern satellite view. The foundries, mills, breweries, distilleries, glassworks, maltings and every other imaginable form of industry have been replaced by car parks and supermarkets.

I'm rambling off again. Dodgy Mild. That's what I'm supposed to be on about. Whoops, giving the game away.

As a specialist Ale brewer, you'd expect Charrington's Mild to be top notch. Mmmm:

Charrington Brewery Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1923
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour  Score
1922 X 1009 1040.6 4.16 78.82% grey sour -3
1922 X 1008 1039.5 4.04 78.73% hazy poor -1
1922 X 1010 1040.4 3.96 75.50% cloudy foul off -3
1922 X 1007 1039.3 4.23 82.70% fairly bright going off -2
1923 X 1008 1040.6 4.29 81.28% bright fair 1
1923 X 1008 1040.8 4.29 80.88% bright fair 1
1923 X 1010 1042.6 4.29 77.46% piecy going off -2
1923 X 1009 1040.2 4.03 77.11% cloudy good 2
1923 X 1009 1041.4 4.16 77.29% not bright fair 1
1923 X 1010 1042.5 4.22 76.47% bright thin -1
Average -0.70
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Feeling equivocal now. I'm disappointed that Charrington's Ale was so shit, but relieved that Barclay Perkins' wasn't the worst.

Only 3 out of 10 were bright. That's not good. Grey - I think I've occasionally had pints like that. In that Davenports pub in Birmingham. A long time ago. I knew so little about beer. I'd take it back now. "piecy" doesn't sound appetising, like it has lumps you could chew.

"Foul off" - great isn't it, how you can conjure up so much about a beer in just two words. It makes me think of a pint of pure Sarson's, so much acetic acid you really could sprinkle it on your chips in an emergency.

I've not gone through all the breweries yet. I don't know who will come out best, and who the worst. But Charrington have thrown down a marker. They're the brewery to beat for last place.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Cannon Brewery Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925

Yes, I've not got distracted this time. I'll be stumbling through London's brewers in alphabetical order, scoring their Mild Ales. Why alphabetical order? Because I can't be arsed to think up something cleverer.

According to Norman Barber (A Century of British Brewers Plus, 2005, page 83) the Cannon Brewery was bought by Taylor Walker in 1930, but continued to brew until 1955.

Which is surprising, given the brewery's location in Clerkenwell on a very cramped site. Even more surprisingly, part of the brewery is still standing at 160 St. John Street. One thing that does live on is their Cannon logo, which was knicked by Taylor Walker.

I'm continually amazed at just how long some breweries clung on in very hemmed in central London locations. It must have been a nightmare getting raw materials in and beer out.

Cannon Brewery Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour Score
1922 X 1007 1033.5 3.44 79.10% not bright
1922 X 1007 1033.1 3.44 80.06% cloudy fair 1
1922 X 1008 1034.5 3.44 76.81% bright Poor & thin -2
1922 X 1007 1036.4 3.77 79.67% bright v fair 2
1922 X 1007 1034.7 3.64 80.69% bright not quite sound -1
1923 X 1008 1034.8 3.50 77.59% brilliant fair 1
1923 X 1007 1034.9 3.57 78.80% bright v fair 2
1923 X 1008 1033.7 3.31 75.67% fairly bright poor -1
1923 X 1008 1032.9 3.18 74.47% bright v fair 2
1923 X 1008 1034.2 3.37 76.02% bright good 2
1924 X 1031.7 sour -3
1924 X 1009 1038 3.78 76.58% bright fair 1
1924 X 1011 1039 3.69 73.08% brilliant fair 1
1925 X 1010 1039.8 3.81 73.87% bright v fair 2
Average 0.54
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Straight off you can see that they didn't have the clarity problems that Barclay Perkins did. All but 2 out of 14 were bright. Or maybe they just trained their landlords better.

Only four have negative scores, which is also pretty good. Though none of the examples was excellent and there was one really bad one. Given that some of the examples are 10 gravity points weaker than Barclay's X Ale, that's fairly impressive. Or are Barclay Perkins negatively impressive?

Whatever, they average out to a positive score. I'd give their pubs a try, possibly. Though I'd prefer something with a little more poke.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Camden Brewery's 1898 prospectus

Let's see what we can learn from another Camden Brewery prospectus from a couple of years later.

Just three years after raising £150,000 Camden Brewery was looking to get another £200,000. You'll see the reason why they needed the extra dosh in the prospectus: to pay off loans they'd taken out to buy pubs and to finance a further extension of their tied estate.

"The SUBSCRIPTION LIST will be OPENED on TUESDAY, the 13th December, 1898, and CLOSED at or before four o'clock on the Following Day.

THE CAMDEN BREWERY COMPANY (Limited). (Incorporated under the Companies Acts, 1862 to 1890.)


12,000 Ordinary Shares of £10 each £120,000
15,000 £5 per cent. Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each 150,000


In addition to which there is

£4.25 per cent. 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock 150,000


ISSUE of £200,000 £4.25 PER CENT. B DEBENTURE STOCK, at £103 per £100 Stock, payable:
10 per cent, on Application,
20 „ „ on Allotment,
23 „ „ on 14th January, 1899 (to include premium),
50 „ „ on 6th April, 1899.

The B Debenture Stock will become payable at par on the 1st day of March, 1940, but is redeemable at the Company's option and on six months' notice, on or after the 1st day of March, 1920, at £110 for each £100 Stock, and the like premium will he given in case of payment off for any other reason beiore the 1st day of March, 1940.

The Interest on the Debenture Stock will be paid half-yearly, on the 1st March and the 1st September in each year.

Interest on the instalments from dates of payment will be paid on 1st March next.

William Stacey, Montacute House Tunbridge Wells.
Montague Wootten, The Bank, Oxford.
The Right Hon. Viscount Ebrington, Exmoor, South Molton, Devon.
John Whitaker.
Herbert E. Wootten.
Thomas R. Grimwood.
Harry Brown.

Bankers — Parr's Bank, Bartholomew-lane, London, E.C.
Brokers- Steer, Lawford and Co., 3. Drapers-gardens, E.C.
Solicitors— Routh, Stacey, and Castle, 14, Southampton-street, Bloomsbury, W.C.
Auditors— Broads, Paterson. and Co., 1, Walbrook, London, E.C.
Secretary— Lindsay H. Chittenden.
Registered Office— Camden Brewery, Hawley-crescent, N.W.

The Company was incorporated in the year 1889 for the purpose of acquiring and carrying on the well-known Brewery business established in 1859 by the late firm of Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co., at Hawley-crescent, Camden-town. Since the Company's incorporation the business has largely increased, and additional capital is now sought for the repayment of temporary loans on premises recently acquired, and for the purchase of other licensed properties and the further extension of the business.

The freehold Brewery premises, the freehold and leasehold properties, loans on mortgage, stocks, book debts, cash and other assets (exclusive of goodwill), stand in the books of the Company, as certified by the auditors, subject only to the 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock, at £657,815
To which should be added amount of present issue 206,000
Making £863,815

Deducting the amount of the 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock of £150,000
And temporary loans secured on properties recently purchased, to be repaid out of this issue 114,100


There is left as a security for the present issue of £200,000    £599,715

The profits earned by the Company show a satisfactory increase. The certificate of the auditors of the Company, who for many years regularly audited the books of the Brewery, showed the average profit of £21,319 per annum during the four years ended June 30th, 1895, and they now further report the results of the trading as follows:—

1, Walbrook, E.G.. 5th December, 1898.
GENTLEMEN.— We hereby certify that we have examined the books and accounts or the Camden Brewery Company (Limited), and find the profits, without charging interest and Directors' salaries and fees, but after providing for wear and tear of every description, for bad and doubtful debts and depreciation of leaseholds, &c., have been: —

For the year ended 30th June, 1896    £33,643 17 6
Do. do. 1897     £41,488 1 10
Do. do. 1898    £43,766 4 0

The details and adjustments are shown in the schedules attached to the accompanying report.

To the Directors of the Camden Brewery Company (Limited). The amount necessary to pay interest on the £150,000 Four-and-a-quarter per cent. First Mortgage Debenture Stock and the present issue of £200,000 Four-and-a-quarter per cent. B Debenture Stock only amounts to £14,875 per annum.

The present issue will be secured by a trust deed charging all the present freehold and leasehold property of the Company subject only to the 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock, and creating a floating charge on all the Company's other assets subject only to such 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock.

No part of the Debenture Stock now offered for public subscription has been underwritten.

Prospectuses and forms of application can be obtained from Parr's Bank, Bartholomew-lane, and its branches, the brokers, and at the offices of the Company.

Application will be made in due course to the Committee of the Stock Exchange for an official quotation of the present issue.
London. 7th December, 1898."
Morning Post - Monday 12 December 1898, page 8.
I love those redemption dates of 1920 and 1940. The company had ceased to exist before even the earlier date.

What have we learned? That the directors were still Thomas Whitaker, John Whitaker, Herbert E. Wootten, Thomas R. Grimwood and Harry Brown. The same as in 1895. And that profits were increasing.

Most interesting for me is the valuation of the brewery and pubs. Remember it was £195,472 in 1895. Meaning that in three years the valuation had gone up by £463,000, or more than trebled. I don't think they had altered the brewery to any great extent, so the increase must be due to the extra pubs that they had bought.

Unfortunately, this prospectus doesn't mention how many tied houses they had. In 1895, they had 84. Either they had bought a couple of hundred pubs - fairly unlikely - or the value of licensed property had shot up. I'm pretty sure it's the latter. But its frustrating not to know how many they owned in 1898. That figure would have told me so much.

I like the way they say the interest on the 4.25% Debentures will "only" be £14,875 per annum. that's getting quite close to the total profit of a few years previously. And they seem to have forgotten the 5% Preference Shares, which cost another £7,500 each year. That's s total of £22,375. That's also before paying any dividend on the Ordinary Shares. Is it me, or were their fixed costs getting perilously high compared to their profits?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

London Mild quality in the 1920's - Barclay Perkins

While I'm on the topic of Mild quality in the 1920's, I may as well look at other London breweries, too.

I did this with some other London beers - mostly Porters and Stouts - a few years ago. I worked out a method of scoring the beers, based on the description of the flavour in the Whitbread Gravity Book. It goes like this, from -3 to +3:

+3 v good
+2 v fine, v fair, good
+1 fine, fair
0 moderate, only fair
-1 poor
-2 v poor, going off, thin
-3 nasty, sour, foul, gone off, mouldy

This brilliant. I'll be able to spin loads of posts out it. And then produce a league table for London Milds in the 1920's. Why didn't I think of this before?*

I think I may have to rethink my plans to hang around in Barclay Perkins pubs when I move back to the 1920's.

Barclay Perkins Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour Score
1922 X 1009 1039.5 4.03 78.48% grey sour -3
1922 X 1009 1038.9 3.83 75.84% hazy only fair 0
1922 X 1010 1040 3.89 75.00% cloudy fair 1
1922 X 1010 1039 3.76 74.36% fairly bright gone off -3
1923 X 1013 1044.7 4.08 70.47% not quite bright good 2
1923 X 1012 1041 3.76 70.73% hazy thin -2
1923 X 1010 1041 3.97 74.63% not bright fair 1
1923 X 1011 1041.6 4.02 74.52% hazy v fair 2
1923 X 1011 1041.8 4.02 74.16% thick poor -1
1923 X 1011 1041.1 3.96 74.21% v hazy poor mouldy -3
1924 X 1043.8 just bright fair 1
1924 X 1012 1044.6 4.27 73.77% milky thin -2
1924 X 1010 1043.8 4.37 76.71% cloudy only fair 0
1925 X 1011 1044 4.23 74.09% not bright Poor & thin -2
 Average -0.64
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

That's pretty piss-poor, isn't it? Not a single one totally bright. Only 4 out of 14 with a positive score for the flavour and three that sound undrinkable. None of the beers is without a fault.

I wonder if they fined their beers. I suppose nowadays the landlord would just have to scribble "unfined" on the pump clip and suddenly those faults would all disappear.

* I did, but got distracted by something else.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Fun, fun, fun

Judging by the number of comments, you're loving my parallel series about the Camden Brewery and pre-war Mild. So I've decided to combine dodgy Mild and obscure London breweries. Like 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown, but without the laughs. Or word games.

In my longest series of consecutive posts ever, I'll analyse the quality of the Mild Ale from different London breweries. And rank them. Whose Mild was in the best condition? Whose pubs couldn't serve a clear pint? All stuff I'm sure you need to know.

I'd run out of stuff from the newspaper archives about the Camden Brewery. That's why I had a look in the rows of Brewers' Journals that look like decorative items (in the chaos of our front room). I'll be able to stretch out that series for a bit longer. Year-end financial reports - who doesn't love those?

You may have noticed that I get obsessed with things. London breweries that closed between the wars is my current one. Is that weird? I doubt it's entertaining.

The large-scale 1890's OS maps online are to blame. They've sucked me into London.When will I emerge?

Camden Brewery profits

The 1890's were one of the best decades ever for British brewers. It was a time of optimism and increasing profits. It didn't last.

The new century saw the Boer War and an increased tax on beer to help finance it. On top of that the price of a brewing licence was greatly increased. Many breweries - including some big names like Allsopp - got into financial difficulties. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Camden's decision to raise more capital 1895 to enable it to buy more pubs seems to have paid off. Profits had been flat at around £20,000 a year in the early 1890's, but in the second half of the decade began to rise, more than doubling to over £40,000.

Camden Brewery profits 1892 - 1898
Year Profit
1892 £20,099 19 3 
1893 20,051 11 9 
1894 20,016 17 4 
1896 £33,643 17 6
1897 £41,488 1 10
1898 £43,766 4 0 
London Standard - Wednesday 20 March 1895, page 8.
Morning Post - Monday 12 December 1898, page 8.

Investors saw the benefit of these profits. Even when the brewery wrote off a considerable sum in 1896, a 10% dividend was paid on their Ordinary Shares:

"The Camden Brewery Company have declared a dividend on the Ordinary Shares amounting, with the interim dividends, to 10 per cent, for the year ending June 30 last. The sum of £7197 is written off for depreciation, £5000 is placed to reserve account, and £1578 carried forward."
London Standard - Saturday 01 August 1896, page 8.

"Camden Brewery Company, a dividend on the ordinary shares amounting, with the interim dividend, to ten per cent, for the year ended 30th June last."
Dundee Courier - Saturday 01 August 1896, page 2.
Though it's worth remembering that the Ordinary Shares had all been retained by the original partners in Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co. The Preference Shares - the ones sold to ordinary punters - had a fixed return of 5%. Still not bad in age before inflation. And there was still enough profit to keep some back each year for a rainy day.

"At the annual meeting Camden Brewery Company, held Monday, the profits were reported at £39,133 for the year ended June 30. After paying prior charges, it was resolved place £7,500 to reserve, to pay 10 per cent, upon the ordinary shares, and carry forward £4,338."
Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 28 July 1897, page 9.
In the final years of the century the brewery was able to pay a 12.5% dividend on its Ordinary Shares

"The Camden Brewery Company made a net profit for the year ended June 30th of £41,171. The Ordinary Shares receive a dividend for the year of 12.5 per cent.; £7500 is transferred to reserve, and £5188 carried forward."
London Standard - Tuesday 19 July 1898, page 9.
"The report of the Camden Brewery Company states that after paying the dividend on the Preference Shares up to December 31 last, and interim dividends on the Ordinary Shares, and transferring £7,500 to reserve, the sum of £17,467 was available. Out of this sum the 5 per cent. dividend on the Preference Shares up to June 30 amounts to £3,750, and it is proposed to pay £6,000 on the Ordinary Shares, making the dividend thereon for the year 12.5 per cent., and paying a bonus of £681 to the Managing Directors and office staff, leaving to be carried forward to next year £7,036."
Morning Post - Monday 24 July 1899, page 8.

Which meant the original partners got to divvy up £15,000 between them. That's in addition to the salary they would earn, if they were directors. Life must have seemed grand. So where did it all go wrong? We'll be finding out soon.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Was Watney's Mild crap in the 1920's?

We must have all asked ourselves that question at one time or another. No? Really? What a strange life you must lead.

OK, it's a question I've asked myself. A bit rhetorically, admittedly. Until I discovered the Whitbread Gravity Book. Because in the early years they didn't just note down the vital statistics of a beer. They also commented on its appearance and flavour.

Life's a funny thing. I never imagined a few years back that I'd be writing at such length about Watney's Mild. But I am. What will I be doing in ten years' time? Probably pushing up daisies.

Where was I? The quality of Watney's Mild. That was it. And its quality or lack of it. Let's look at appearance first. There's only one which wasn't bright and another which was pale in colour. That last one also has a gravity higher than any of the others. I wonder if some Bitter slops had been poured into it?

As for flavour, there's only one that's out and out bad - "curious flavour". Three are "only fair" which I guess means just about acceptable. I happen to know which pubs the two "only fair" from 1923 came from: Queens Arms and Admiral Napier in Deptford. Neither seems to still exist. At least not under the same name.

Watney's Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour Score
1922 X 1009 1046.3 4.82 79.91% rather pale
1922 X 1009 1042.8 4.42 79.44% bright sound 1
1922 X 1009 1042.5 4.36 78.82% bright v fair 2
1922 X 1009 1042.1 4.36 79.57% bright curious flavour -3
1922 X 1009 1044 4.55 79.55% brilliant v good 3
1923 X 1009 1045 4.68 80.00% bright good 2
1923 X 1008 1045.4 4.82 81.50% bright good 2
1923 X 1009 1044 4.55 79.55% bright good 2
1923 X 1009 1042.6 4.42 79.81% bright only fair 0
1923 X 1009 1043.8 4.55 79.91% bright only fair 0
1923 X 1009 1038.6 3.90 77.72% bright good 2
1923 X 1008 1041.1 4.36 81.51% bright good 2
1923 X 1009 1041.5 4.22 78.31% bright good 2
1924 X 1045.9 brilliant good 2
1924 X 1009 1044.9 4.74 81.07% bright v fair 2
1924 X 1009 1046 4.76 79.57% not bright fair 1
1925 X 1010 1044.9 4.56 78.17% bright only fair 0
Average  1.25
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

A positive score, using my system of 13 to +3, implies a reasonable degree of consistency.

My verdict? Watney's was generally in reasonable condition in the 1920's. Phew, that's a relief. No need to dodge their pubs when I take a day trip to the 1920's.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Camden Brewery's 1895 prospectus

A few years ago I couldn't have imagined anything duller than a company prospectus from more than a century ago. That was before I noticed what a good source of information they could be.

This is a good case in point. It's the prospectus published by the Camden Brewery when they issued extra shares to raise capital to buy more pubs in 1895. See if you can spot the useful information.


The SUBSCRIPTION LISTS will OPEN on THURSDAY, the 21st March. 1895 and will CLOSE for Town and Country at or before Four o'clock on the Same Day.

THE CAMDEN BREWER COMPANY (Limited), Incorporated under the Companies Acts. 1862 to 1890, £4.25 per Cent. first Mortgage Debenture Stock, £150,000. SHARE CAPITAL.

15.000 Five per Cent. Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each    £150,000
(10.000 only of which it is proposed to issue at the present time, the remaining 5,000 being reserved for future issue, and ranking pari passu With the present one.)
12,000 Ordinary Shares of £10 each     120,000
(All of Which were issued as fully paid up on the incorporation of the Company, and are all held by the original shareholders.)

PARR'S BANKING COMPANY and the ALLIANCE BANK (Limited). 4. Bartholomew-lane. E.C, and its London Branches, are authorised to RECEIVE APPLICATIONS for the Debenture Stock and Preference Shares.

The Debenture Stock will become payable on the 1st day of March. 1940. at par, but is redeemable, at the Company's option, on or after the 1st day of March. 1920, at £110 for each £100 Stock.

The interest on the Debenture Stock is payable half yearly, on the 1st March and the 1st, September in each year; and the dividends on the Preference Shares are also payable on the same dates for the periods ending respectively the 30th June' and the 31st December. The first payment of interest and dividends, calculated from the due dates of the instalments, will be made on 1st September, 1895.

The dividends on the Preference Shares are cumulative, and the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company provide that the Preference Shares shall have priority over all other Shares of the Company, both as regards dividend and capital.

The Preference Shares are to be paid for as follows : —
On Application    £1 per Share.
On Allotment     2     "
On 1st May, 1895    2     "
On 4th June, 1895     5     "

The Debenture Stock, is to De paid for as follows: —
On Application    £10 per cent.
On Allotment     20     "
on 1st May, 1895    20     "
On 24th June, 1895    60     "

Payment in full may be made on Allotment, subject to discount at the rate of £2 10s. per cent, per annum.

Trustees for the Denture-holders.
William Stacey. Montacute House, Tunbridge Wells.
Montague Wootten, The Bank, Oxford.

John Whitaker, Herbert E. Wootten, Thomas R. Grimwood, Harry Brown.

BROKERS.- Steer, Lawford. and Co.. 3. Drapers-gardens, E.C.
SOLICITORS.— Routh. Stacey. and Castle. 14, Southampton-street. Bloomsbury. W.C.
Auditors.— Broads. Paterson, and Co., 1, Walbrook, London, E.C.
SECRETARY.— Lindsay H. Chittenden.
Registered Office — Camden Brewery. Hawley-crescent. NW.
BANKERS.— Parr's Banking Company and the Alliance Bank (Limited).

The Company was formed in the year 1889, with a view to facilitate family arrangements, and then acquired the valuable and well-known Brewery business established in 1859 by the late firm of Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co., with the extensive Brewery premises situate in Hawley-crescent, Camden Town, where the Company have since carried on the business. The books of the Brewery have been regularly audited by Messrs. Broads, Paterson, and Co., chartered accountants, and their certificate is as follows: —

"1. Walbrook. London. E.C.. 21st February. 1885.
"To the Directors of the Camden Brewery Company (Limited), Hawley-crescent, Camden Town, N.W.
"Gentlemen. — "We have audited the books and accounts of your Brewery for many years past, and certify that the profits for the three years ended 30th June, 1894, without charging interest and Directors' salaries and fees, but after providing for wear and tear of every description, for bad and doubtful debts, and depreciation of leaseholds and buildings, have been :—

"1891-92    £20,099 19 3
"1892-93    20,051 11 9
"1893-94    20,016 17 4
    £60,168 8 4
"Being an average of    £20,058 2 9

"The details and adjustments are shown in the schedules attached to the accompanying Report.
"Yours faithfully.

The Freehold and Leasehold Properties and fixed plant belonging to the Company have been valued by Messrs. Mason and Son at    £195,472 0 0
The loans on mortgage and advances to customers are    95,940 4 2
And the stock, book debts, rents, cash at bank, and other loose assets are    37,007 14 2
Total, exclusive of goodwill    £328,419 18 4

Messrs. Mason and Son's report is as follows :—

"To the Directors of the Camden Brewery Company (Limited).
"Gentlemen. — We have personally inspected the properties of the Camden Brewery Company (Limited), consisting of the Leasehold Brewery situate in Hawley-crescent, Camden Town, with the fixed plant, the Leasehold maltings at Fulham, and the 84 Freehold and Leasehold public and beer houses and other property, as set forth in the schedule annexed hereto, and we value the same at the sum of one hundred and ninety-five thousand four hundred and seventy-two pounds (say £195,472). This sum does not include any amount for the general goodwill attaching to the business.
"Yours faithfully, MASON and SON.
"61, King William-street, E.C, March 6, 1895."

A copy of the memorandum and articles of association of the Company, of the form of the Debenture Stock Certificate now proposed to be issued, the form of the trust deed, and the form of the certificate of the Preference Shares, as well as the auditors' and valuers' reports referred to, can be seen at the Offices of the Company, or at the offices of Messrs. Routh, Stacey, and Castle, the Solicitors to the Company, 14, Southampton-street, Bloomsbury.

Prospectuses and forms of application can be obtained there, and at the offices of tho Solicitors and Brokers to the Company.

Besides the contracts entered into on the formation of the Company which have been already carried out, and for placing the present issue, the only contracts of the Company are contracts such as have been made in the course of the Company's business. All subscribers shall be deemed to have notice of all the above, and to have waived the necessity for specifying in the Prospectus the dates and names of the parties or the particulars of any such contracts.
London, 19th March, 1895."
London Standard - Wednesday 20 March 1895, page 8.

Let's see how many you spotted.

First is who the directors were. Amongst the names are two Whitakers and one Grimwood. remember that the firm was originally called Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co. It's clear that the firm was still mostly in the hands of the families who founded it in 1859.

I'd love to know who Herbert E. Wootten and Harry Brown were. They could well have been relatives of the other families, just with different surnames. That's most likely the case as, if you remember, the original partners took all the Ordinary Share on flotation.

Next we discover that they didn't own the freehold on their Hawley Crescent site. Not so unusual in London, where large swathes of the city are leasehold. We also learn that they had their own maltings in Fulham. Odd place to have maltings, but London was way more industrial back then. I must see if I can find them on the large-scale OS map.

And isn't this handy: they tell us that they owned or leased 84 tied houses. Which along with the brewery were worth just shy of  £200,000. It's a shame the pubs aren't valued separately. I'd love to know what they were worth on average. We also learn that the whole business was worth £328,419.

There's also the company's profits for the preceding three years. Another handy thing to know.

Friday, 24 January 2014

4d Ale 1930 - 1939

Watery Mild. That'll bring in the punters. Everyone wants to know about low-gravity, cheap Milds from the 1930's.

No, I realise that's just fantasy. But you know, once I've started something it's hard to stop. I just couldn't hold myself back from following up the piece about watery Milds in the 1920's with once about the same beers in the 1930's.

4d Ale is a funny beer style. Born in WW I, deceased in WW II. There were probably a lot of people for whom that was also the case. Though more tragic. This is just a beer style we're talking about, after all. Not like real flesh and blood. The styles roots were in the price-controlled beers of the latter years of WW I. It was originally called Government Ale. Until the government outlawed the term. I can see why. I wouldn't want my name associated with a piss-weak beer, either.

How did it get the catchy name of 4d Ale (Fourpenny Ale)? Er, because that's what it cost per pint. And it was an Ale. Under the WW I price control restrictions, brewers were obliged to put the retail price on the cask. The original definition in October 1917 was a beer with a gravity lower than 1036º. By the last set of price controls in 1920, the gravity band of beer that retailed at 4d had fallen to 1020 - 1026º. Pretty weak stuff, but not the weakest. 3d beer was anything under 1019º.

Other names were used for this type of beer: Ale or LA (Light Ale). The latter is dead confusing for a couple of reasons. First, these beers weren't often light in colour. Second, Light Ale was later used to describe a totally different type of beer a low-gravity Pale Ale.

4d Ale 1930 - 1939
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (pence) Acidity FG OG colour ABV App. Atten-uation
1930 Buddon Bigg Ale 4d 1026.5
1930 Fremlin Ale 4d 1035.7
1930 Isleworth Brewery RA 4d 1011.2 1032 2.69 65.00%
1930 Kemp Town L.A. 4d 1006.7 1034 3.55 80.29%
1930 Leney & Co. Ale 4d 1026.3
1930 Mackeson L.A. 4d 1005.4 1027 2.80 80.00%
1930 Mason Ale 4d 1030.4
1930 Portsmouth & Brighton Breweries L.A. 4d 1001.9 1027 3.27 92.96%
1930 Shepherd Neame Ale 4d 1028.5
1930 Style & Winch Ale 4d 1028.2
1930 Tamplin L.A. 4d 1007.4 1031 3.06 76.13%
1931 Fullers Ale 4d 1033.7
1931 Nalder & Collyer X 5d 1027
1931 Taylor Walker Ale 4d 1008 1024 40B + 11R 2.07 66.67%
1931 Truman Ale 4d 1028.6
1931 Watney Ale 5d 1030.5
1931 Watney Ale 4d 1031.6
1931 Young & Co Ale 5d 1028.9
1932 Fullers Ale 5d 1030.1
1932 Ind Coope Ale 5d 1030.7
1932 Truman Ale 4d 1026.9
1932 Truman Ale 4d 1029.1
1932 Watney Ale 5d 1028.8
1932 Wells Watford Ale 4.5d 1028.7
1932 Young & Co Ale 5d 1032.8
1933 Courage Mild Ale 4d 0.05 1010.8 1033 2.87 67.27%
1935 Charrington Ale 4d 1031.5
1935 Fullers LA 4d 0.07 1007.9 1032.8 3.23 75.91%
1935 Ind Coope Ale 4d 1028.8
1935 Isleworth LA 4d 0.06 1011.2 1032 2.69 65.00%
1935 Kidd Ale 4d 1032.2
1935 Leney & Co X 4d 0.06 1006 1028 2.85 78.57%
1935 Mann Ale 4d 1029.1
1935 Mann Brandon's LA 4d 0.04 1004.4 1031 3.46 85.81%
1935 Meux Ale 4d 1028.3
1935 Truman Ale 4d 1030
1935 Watney Ale 4d 1031.5
1935 Whitbread Ale 4d 1027.1
1936 Barclay Perkins Ale 4d 4d 1007 1029.1 44-46 2.87 75.95%
1936 Greene King Ale 4d 1028.9
1936 Wells & Winch Ale 4d 1031.8
1937 Tamplin LA 4d 0.05 1007.3 1032.7 3.30 77.68%
1938 Ballard Mild Ale 4d 0.05 1004.8 1030.7 40 + 4 3.37 84.36%
1938 Steward & Patteson Mild Ale 4d 0.04 1004.9 1030.1 40 + 3.5 3.28 83.72%
1939 Barclay Perkins A 4d 1008.8 1030.7 42 2.83 71.31%
Barclay Perkins brewing records.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Truman Gravity Book document B/THB/C/252 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

The more observant amongst you have probably already noticed that not all the beers in the table below sold for 4d. There's a good reason for that, and not just that I'm a sloppy bastard. Look closer and you'll see that they're all from 1931 and 1932. When there was a big hike in beer duty. for many beers, the brewer's response was to lower the gravity and leave the price the same. But 4d Ale was already about as weak as a respectable beer could get and some brewers were forced to bump up the price.

About half the beers in the table are below 1030º, and most of the rest just barely above that level. The average OG is 1029.9. It's a shame that I have so few FG's. You can blame Truman. They mostly only bothered to record the OG and price. It's annoying because I can't really come to any conclusions about the degree of attenuation. In the beers that do have an FG, I can see two contradictory trends. Some have quite a high FG, presumably to retain some body. Others have obviously been fermented out as far as possible to get a decent ABV.

One last point. The vast majority of beers of this class were sold on draught, but there were some bottled examples. Another odd development as a result of WW I was the relationship between the bottled and draught versions of a beer. Before the war, bottled versions were the same strength or stronger than draught. During the war this changed and the bottled versions became weaker. Sometimes by quite a lot. Barclay Perkins brewed three versions of XLK, their Ordinary Bitter. Draught was the strongest, followed by pint and half pint bottles. Weakest was what they called "crate beer". A crate was four quart bottles and was the cheapest form of bottled beer.