Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dorchester Brewery

As I'm on a bit of an Eldridge Pope kick at the moment, I thought I'd share Barnard's description of the brewery with you.

What's brilliant is that Barnard's visit was only a few years before the 1896 breing records we've been looking at.

"The Dorchester Brewery, which is certainly the finest specimen of architecture in the district, is an imposing structure, combining the useful and the beautiful to an eminent degree. It is constructed of brick and Portland stone, and is situated close to the Dorchester station of the London and South Western Railway. Attached to the works, and facing the main road, is a fine block of buildings, containing the offices and manager's residence. Adjoining it there is a row of handsome houses, with gardens running back to the makings, in which reside the managers of the various departments in the brewery. The facade of the whole group of buildings, which extends a distance of upwards of 300 feet, is very imposing, especially when viewed from the railway station.

Before taking our readers through this splendid brewery, which is fitted up with every modern appliance and vessel known to the trade, we must briefly refer to its early history. The business of this model brewhouse was established early in the present century on the east side of the town, by the late Mr. Charles Eldridge, and was most successfully carried on by him and his successors in the business, Messrs. Tizard & Mason, until about the year 1871, when the present proprietors became possessed of it by purchase. From that date until the year 1880 the business continued to thrive and increase, under the sole and very able management of Mr. Edwin Pope, when the demand for these famous ales had become so great that the firm determined  to  erect  the  present  magnificent  structure, and  Mr. Alfred Pope decided to give up his profession, in order that he might join his brother in the active management of the business. There was not sufficient room to erect the new buildings on the site of the old brewery, hence the firm migrated to the southern side of the town, where they were fortunate in acquiring a valuable plot of five acres of ground, in close proximity to the station of the London and South Western Railway, on which to build their new brewery."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol III", by Alfred Barnard, 1890, page 130.

It certainly was a fine looking structure. As the brewery is now sadly closed, you may be thinking: "I wonder what happened to it?" I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the main buildings are still standing:

They still look pretty fine. Though it's currently being surrounded by the sort of shitty shopping-centre-come-flats development that disfigure so many British towns in the name of "regeneration".

I'll be continuing with Barnard, with descriptions both of the guts of the brewery and the beers themselves.


Martyn Cornell said...

I went round the brewery shortly before it closed: very sad to see 38 or so fermenting vessels, 36 of them empty. It HAD been making alcopops a few months earlier, but had lost the contract.

Paul Bailey said...

That's what happens when you decide to become a Pub Company rather than a brewery!

Ron Pattinson said...

Paul, too true. Most who went that route didn't last very long.