Friday, 6 December 2013

Hole's new brewery

It was really weird finding this. A description of the new Holes brewery, written before construction started. Why so weird? Because it's describing one of the first places I worked.

Not much seemed to have changed in the 80-odd years between its construction and when I worked there. Though, to be honest, I don't think I ever set foot in the brewhouse itself.

I like how the article makes clear that malting came first in Newark and brewing only later. At least brewing on a large scale. It also confirms that Jamea Holes was oirginally a maltsters which diversified into brewing. All in all, an extremely informative article.


The Newark Advertisor, Wednesday, says:- "We have had the pleasure to describe from time to time the additions which have been made through private enterprise and public effort to the architectural features of our town, and to-day we give an account of another block of buildings about to be erected, which will constitute an important accession to the business premises devoted to the commodity for which Newark is becoming famous. For years past Newark ales have been winning their way to public favour, and the prediction that in the not far distant future Newark would take rank as another Barton seems on the high road to fulfilment. The town is admirably situated for the development of an industry of this kind. Not only does it possess ample facilities for the transit goods by rail and river, but it has natural advantages which equal those of any other locality. The water possesses all the properties essential to the production of the finest ales, and the town being one the greatest malting centres in England — producing malts of unrivalled quality, it always has the staple material at its doors. It is not surprising, therefore, that the great brewing industry should flourish in our midst, and that under the direction of enterprising firms the ales of Newark should be sent far and wide for public consumption in ever-increasing quantities.

A splendid new brewery is new about to be erected by the well-known firm of Messrs. James Hole and Co., the partners in which are Mr. Alderman Hole (ex- Mayor of Newark) and Councillor S. K. Marsland. It was in February, 1885, that Messrs. Hole became the proprietors of the Castle Brewery, and devoted their energy and their capital to its development. The firm had long occupied a high position as maltsters, and it was confidently believed by all who know them that success would soon be won in the kindred trade. Results have happily exceeded the most sanguine anticipations. Starting with a comparatively small brewery at the back of palatial offices, of which they became the purchasers, the growth of their business necessitated additions to the brewing plant. By degrees every inch of accommodation which the premises afforded was utilised, and it was seen that the time was rapidly approaching when the erection of a new brewery would become imperative. All the alterations which were made were arranged, therefore, with this object in view. A new boiler-house, with its lofty chimney, was constructed that it could, if occasion required, form part of a new establishment, and other additions were shaped that they would not interfere with the erection of a commodious brewery, whenever the growth trade made this enterprise desirable.

The time for taking the matter in hand was not long in arriving. At the outset, the firm made a speciality of beer for family consumption, and determined to place before the public a pure, wholesome, exhilarating beverage adapted for constant use at the table. Experience showed that the water at the Castle Brewery was admirably suited for the production light dinner ale the kind of which the public taste required, and to this commodity the firm devoted special attention. Their "A.K." was placed in the market, and that it has met the wants of consumers is shown by the fame which it has achieved, and the rapid and continuous growth of the family trade. By its own intrinsic merits, and by judiciously bringing its qualities to the notice the public, the "A.K." has become one of the best known ales in the Midlands, and it is used daily with ever-increasing satisfaction in hundreds homes in Notts, and in the adjoining counties. It is also finding its way gradually but surely into more remote localities, as we have reason believe that the firm have customers for it not only in London and Edinburgh, but as far south as Devonshire. A great additional impetus was given to its consumption, and to the use of all Messrs. Hole and Co.'s ales, by the success gained last year at the Paris Exhibition. As our readers will be aware, the firm were awarded the Gold Medal for their ales, with special mention of their A.K. luncheon ale, and the verdict of the jurors has been fully endorsed by that of the public. We know for a fact, that within the last six months, the output at the Castle Brewery has increased to the extent of 27 per oent. Many tied houses have been judiciously acquired during the last five years, and the firm has branch offices at Hull, Leicester, Nottingham, Grantham, Lincoln, Mansfield, Spalding, and other towns.

Under these circumstances, Messrs. Hole and Co. have determined to enter upon the construction an entirely new brewery, which shall be abundantly large and commodious, and fitted with all modern appliances. It will be erected on the site of the existing premises at the rear of the offices, and the front will seen through the large iron entrance gates, while the roof will tower above the handsome brewery offices which the firm now occupy. It may naturally occur to some that it would have been wise to have secured a site in proximity to a railway station, but the proprietors have been influenced by a consideration more important than cheap carriage, and that is water supply. At the Castle Brewery, they possess a tap of the highest quality, and no consideration would induce them to sacrifice the many advantages which this beautiful water affords.

The new brewery is so designed that the whole of the present producing part will be left intact until the new premises are completed, so as not to interfere with the brewing operations. Advantage has been taken by so arranging the new buildings that they should work in with the present boiler-house, chimney shaft, and the remaining part of the present beer stores, which will be connected with the new beer cellars.

The buildings will have a very pleasing elevation, and will be faced throughout externally with red local bricks, enriched by moulded brick cornices, panels, string courses, &c., and the greater portion internally faced with white glazed bricks, ensuring perfect cleanliness and a neat appearance. The roof will be covered with Broseley tiles.

The construction throughout will of the most substantial character; girders, columns, and concrete arches, paved with asphalt, being used throughout. The window frames are of wrought-iron, with swing casements, and the stairs and copper side stage of cast-iron. The roof over the copper and brewhouse will have wrought-iron framed principals, with large louvred cupolas for ventilation.

The copper-house will contain two steam jacketted wort-coppers, with a cast-iron hop back and pumping back, conveniently placed to suit both coppers. The three throw wort-pumps are by the side of the pumping back, and on the copper side stage are placed the wort safes to take the spend pipes from mash tuns.

The brewhouse is a tower building in the centre, next to copper-house, and contains the ground floor horizontal steam engine, spacious entrance lobby, and mill-room. This latter contains a strong set of double rolls to crush large and small malt, provided with a Nalder's revolving screen in connection with fan and stive chamber. The elevator rests on this floor, and conveys the grist to the grist case on the third floor.

On the first floor is situated the brewers' room, laboratory, and stive chamber.

The second floor contains cast-iron mash tuns, with internal rakes, and gun-metal slotted false bottoms, copper spargers, and copper covers, also grains doors and shoot, taking the grains to a grain tank outside the building. A copper Steel's machine, with copper reversible shoot, is also provided to supply both tuns. On the floor is placed a wrought iron malt hopper, with the malt stores above the fermenting-house.

On the third floor is placed the cast iron hot liquor tank, with powerful steam coil, together with wrought iron grist case and vertical refrigerators.

The top floor this building will be entirely occupied by a large copper cooler. The range of buildings to the left of the brewhouse comprises the fermenting house, and have a large cellar under the entire length. These cellars are also taken under the brewhouse and copperhouse, and are connected to the present beer stores, before mentioned.

The ground floor is the racking room, which contains large slate racking backs, and leads direct on to spacious loading-out stage in the yard, with heist, cask lowerer, and rolling way to cellars.

On the first floor are the oak fermenting tuns, fitted with copper coil attemperators, and parachute skimming apparatus.

The third floor, and a floor in the roof, are arranged as malt shop stores. A portion this building next to the brewhouse is carried above the roof, in which is placed large cast iron cold liquor tank, which commands the whole of the buildings. In this part also placed the sack hoist and tackle.

Ventilation has been carefully provided for in the fermenting house by suitably placed hit-and-miss gratings, and the windows will have shutters to exclude the sun on the south side of the building.

The plans throughout will be the best and most modern construction, and the whole of the work will be earned oat from the designs, and under the superintendence of, Mr. William Bradford, Charlton Chambers, 13, Regent-Street, London, S.W.."
Grantham Journal - Saturday 22 February 1890, page 4.
I wish I could find an image of the original brewery. Barnard only has a couple of internal views, a drawing of the then unfinished new brewery and a photo of the offices.

I noticed something when I just went to check the images in Barnard. He describes the new brewery in some detail. And using exactly the same words as in the newspaper article. From the paragraph which begins "The new brewery is so designed" to the end of the article is identical to the passage in Barnard. So who was plagiarising whom?

It's in volume III of Barnards's "Noted breweries of Great Britain and Ireland" which has no publication date, but has a foreword dated June 12th 1890. Several months after the article was published. Does that mean Barnard cribbed the newspaper article? Or perhaps there's a common source both used.

It's great that AK gets a mention. As I keep reminding you, it was the brewery's flagship product right up until its closure. It's described as a "luncheon ale", which means a light Pale Ale. Light being a relative term. Its gravity was probably around 1050º

I'm surprised that Holes sold beer as far away from Newark as Edinburgh. But at least there's a direct railway connection between the two towns. That they sold beer as far away as Devon has me gobsmacked.

I had to look up "stive chamber". It's some sort of dust testing box, I believe.

I'm interested in the history of the Castle Brewery before 1885. I'll have to see what I can unearth in the newspaper archive.


Social Observer said...

Hi I also worked at Castle Brewery - 17 years!- but by the time I got there it was John Smiths! - I am now engaged in post graduate research in Social and Cultural History and have been fascinated by your blog - I am also interested in what the Brewery grew out of - I believe it was a workhouse and gaol - also a starch factory. Would welcome your thoughts and any info you have gleaned on its former incarnation! I am tasked with writing a short piece and am using the Brewery as my topic from various social angles.

Best regards

T Y Newstead

Ron Pattinson said...


it was John Smiths/Courage when I worked there. Not sure about its earlier history. I'd have to look it up.

Social Observer said...

Have been chasing up info all evening - found the date of the earlier buildings

In 1786 a workhouse, hospice and gaol was built using funds from the Brown and Phillipot charity, this building became part of Holes brewery and still exists as apartments

and the flour and starch factory -
Mary, had married Eliezer Paling, starch manufacturer of Newark, on June 15th 1853 and for a time left Ilkeston.
Then in October 1869 Eliezer’s starch and flour works in Albert Street, Newark, all the adjoining and connected premises, and all the trade’s machinery and implements were put up for auction at the Woolpack Inn in Stodman Street