Saturday, 17 May 2008

What can I do?

We bear collective responsibility. Humanity is a sum of us all.

If there's a theme to my life, I like to think it's learning. There's stuff I don't understand and I want to try and explain it. I hate not understanding. That's why I spent four years learning how to read Kundera in Czech. If you're wondering, pretty good in the original.

But Paral. Now there's a bloke with imagination. Best novelist of the 20th century. "Valka s mnohozviretem" what a book. It distorted the whole way I thought for several years. Who am I kidding? It still influences how I think. "Láska v Praze" is supposed to be a good one. At least what Phil told me of it sounded pretty groovy.

Phil and I met at Czech summer school in 1985. We practised our colloquial Czech in most of Brno's pubs. Which is why, though I may have forgotten most everything else, my pub Czech is still quite functional. Some things you just don't forget.

God, I've been rambling. You doing my work for me. That's what I wanted to talk about.

There's just one me. I've searched cyberspace in vain for a cloning machine. We're really going to have to make do with just the one me.

I do my best. I read brewing manuals on the way to work. (God that makes me sound sad. It's a positive thing. I don't waste any of my time (well apart from arguing with Homebrew Twats on the internet) ) All those brackets. I was starting to lose track there.

There's a limit to how much I can do. My imagination is greater than my physical body. So much information sits in archives across Britain. I can't look through all of it.

What can I do? Indeed, what can you do. Where is your nearest archive? Do they have brewing records? You'd be amazed at how many there are. Go on. It's not difficult.

The procedure varies, from location to location, but it isn't complicated to request to see documents. At the London Metropolitan Archives fill in a form with the number of the document you want to see. You can put in up to four at any one time. After about half an hour, the documents are delivered to the reading room. It's allowed to take photos, without a flash, on the payment of a small fee.

The staff are very helpful and the procedure is very simple.

It's easy. Go and do it. If you can't be arsed to interpret them yourselves, just send me photos. I'll do it for you.

I've only looked at London brewers. I've still a couple of years worth of work looking at them. At least. Can you help pick up some of the burden?

There's so much I've learned. But still loads of questions. Here's my personal holy grail: an AK recipe. Anyone who can send me an image of a brewing log for AK can have a box of my beer. For other interesting ones, maybe a bottle.

What can I do? Go to the archive. Collect information. For all of us.


David Harris said...

What is AK? as in an AK recipe? The name of a brewery?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for closing your parenthesis. (It's really annoying when people don't. (I hate it.

Ron Pattinson said...

AK is a type of Light Bitter that was once brewed by dozens of breweries across England. Yon can find plenty of examples here:

Lachlan said...

Do any of the following hold any interest? None of them sound like brewing records to me.

Victoria Brewery:

Customer account ledgers 1914-15; operation procedure guides 1978; workplace diaries 1950-70s; store stock books.

Ballarat Brewing Co.:

Hotel leases 1920-1950; stock sheets; ledger cards for hotels and grocers; Licensing Court lists; correspondence regarding produce and supplies.

Director's minute books 1915-1939; Shareholders'Register 1896-193; list of persons holding shares, 1917-1937; returns of shares allotted, 1923-1926; prospectus for new share issue. Deed books 1894-1936. Stock Book 1928-1950. Half-yearly Reports 1896-1903, 1911, 1913; Annual Reports 1897- 1901, 1903-1915, 1939.

CUB apparently doesn't have any records more than 30-odd years old. Something about a fire destroying what little they did keep or something. I was a bit drunk at the time.

Ron Pattinson said...

Lachlan, the workplace diaries and stock books sound the most interesting. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like there are any brewing records. Though maybe the worlkplace diaries have something about the production process.

The stock books should at least give an idea of either what raw materials were being used or what beers were brewed or both.