Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Calling residents of Manchester

I've a favour to ask. To someone in the Manchester area. I would do it myself, but I've no idea when I'll have chance.

What's the favour? Photograph Boddington's brewing records I'd greatly appreciate the help and would be prepared to reward the favour-giver.

The records are held here:

Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
Liverpool Road
M3 4FP
Tel: 0161 606 0127
Fax: 0161 606 0186

Open : Tue-Thu 10.00-16.30
Closed : 25, 26 December, 1 January

These are the documents I'm interested in:

M693/405/125 Brewing Books 1900 - 1903
M693/405/126 Brewing Books 1913 - 1917
M693/405/127 Brewing Books 1917 - 1929
M693/405/128 Brewing Books 1929 - 1938
M693/405/129 Brewing Books 1939 - 1946
M693/405/130 Brewing Books 1947 - 1951
M693/405/131 Brewing Books 1952 - 1958
M693/405/132 Brewing Books 1959 - 1964
M693/405/133 Brewing Books 1965 - 1970
M693/405/134 Brewing Books 1971 - 1974
M693/405/135 Brewing Books 1975 - 1979
M693/405/136 Brewing Books 1980 - 1983
M693/405/137 Brewing Books 1961 - 1963

Of those, the ones covering 1900 to 1951 are the ones I'd like to have a look at most. And this one:

Various Trade and Other Statistics: Summary of brewers in Manchester with quantities brewed 1862 - 1879; Summary of brewers in Burton-on-Trent with quantities brewed 1866 - 1880; Returns 1873 - 1883; Record of sales in Rochdale, Crewe, Middlesborough, Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Newcastle 1873 - 1886; Summary of types of trade 1874 - 1882; Summary of family trade 1880 - 1886.

So can anyone give me a hand with this?


Dominic, Marble Beers said...

Hi Ron

I work but don't live in Manchester, but I'll try and call in a favour with someone unemployed or suchlike! I didn't know they held such things, so I'd like a look myself.

Ron Pattinson said...

Dominic, I'm sure they'll be fascinating. You could see how they improved the Bitter in the 1980's.

What I usually do is take two or three photos of each different beer for each year I look at. Except for WW I and WW II. 1917, 1918 and 1919. 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945. For those years you need a snap for every time the gravity change.

Paul Bailey said...

I take it you were being "tongue in cheek" about Boddingtons improving their bitter in the 1980's? Surely you mean making it even blander than it had become during the previous decade!!

Ron Pattinson said...

Paul, you've caught me out. Would be fascinating to see exactly how and when it changed, though.

Tandleman said...

I'd like to help, but time is precious and I'm not sure how many things you are asking to be photographed and what camera would be needed to do so.

So how many pages are we talking about? How long would it take? That sort of thing. I'm a practical man. Tell me the size of the task and I will be likely to help out.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tandleman, this is what I would do myself.

I have a 7.1 megapixel camera and that works fine. I take the photos hand-held without flash (those are usually the rules).

Each volume take a photo of two different logs for each beer. Assuming they brewed maybe 10 different beers, that makes 20 photos per brewing book. That takes me between 10 and 20 minutes.

With the Boddingtons records, these are the years I would choose to photograph:


The time it would take to do all that lot: about 6 hours.

I don't expect you to spend a whole day there. Just do as much as you feel like.

Tandleman said...

I'll have a think about it. I'd like to help you, but don't let that stop others!

John Clarke said...


I will try and get down there sometime between now and the end of the year. Can't promise but I'll do my best. If anyone else is going please le tme know what you photograph to avoid duplication.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tandleman, John, anything you manage to do will be most appreciated.

Matt said...

Are these the records we thought were in Manchester Central Library?
Having been made redundant and living in Stockport, I am both nearby and with time on my hands but unfortunately the dole doesn't stretch to a digital camera.

I'm sure Tandleman won't mind me reproducing this comment someone posted on his blog earlier this year which is relevant to the declining quality of Boddies:

"I spent four very happy years as a student in the Manchester area during the mid 1970's, and Holts was always a pint well worth seeking out.

Even in those days there were grumblings about the declining quality and increasing blandness of Boddingtons; someone we knew who worked at the Strangeways Brewery confirmed what many of us suspected- namely the company had secretly been reducing the hopping rate of the bitter in order to 'increase its appeal to a wider audience'."

Be interesting to know if the brewing records confirm that theory.

Ron Pattinson said...

Matt, yes. According to the National Archives website they are at theMuseum of Science and Industry in Manchester:

There's a catalogue of the documents here:

Paul Bailey said...

It was me Matt, who posted those words about Boddingtons on Tandleman's Blog. Unfortunately the company paid the ultimate price in the end after selling their soul to Whitbread. A shame really, as I can remember my first tadte of their once excellent bitter.

Mike said...

Hi Ron,
My brother checked with the Museum of Science and Industry re boddington logs and they say they don't have them, the records are at

This is the e-mail he got from MOSI:
Subject: Boddingtons Brewery Records

Hi Tony.
You got the right City but, the wrong repository. The company records for Boddingtons Brewery are held at Manchester City Archives and not here at the Museum. This is the link to their page We hold a small amount of material here at the museum but, these are objects and advertising material. I hope this is of help to you.
Yours sincerely.

Jan Shearsmith
Tel : 0161 606 0223
Fax : 0161 606 0186

I have e-mailed the Manchester Archives to see where the records are, either in Central Library or at the GMCRO.

Tyson said...

Did this ever get done?

Ron Pattinson said...

Tyson, no, unfortunately. I'd really love to get a glance inside those brewing books.