Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Truman Porter quality 1922 - 1923

We're nearing the shoreline in our unedifying swim through sour Porter. Only a few more strokes and we'll be back on dry land.

To start, a random newspaper article. An infomercial piece about a rebuilt Truman's pub in Chelmsford.


The latest addition the new buildings of Chelmsford is that "The Golden Fleece" Hotel. It stands on the site the old inn, on the corner of Threadneedle Street which leads to the market, with main frontage to Duke Street. The illustration above shows how the new hotel enhances the architectural appearance of the town. The situation is in the centre Chelmsford, within stone's throw of the Shire Hall, and a minute's walk from the railway station. The market is only a few paces distant. The County Hall, when the extensions have been completed, will be alongside on the other side Threadneedle Street, as the sketch indicates. The frontage of "The Golden Fleece" has been set back as to allow for the widening of Duke Street, thus effecting great improvement, and will be in line with the Duke Street frontage of the County Hall.

When the old "Golden Fleece" was demolished last year, a copy of "the London Gazette" was found, published in 1699, years before even The Essex Chronicle was established. The London Gazette was then a small single sheet, printed both sides, and sold for 2/-, a marked difference in value compared with The Essex Chronicle the present day, which offers the public a weekly journal of ten large pages for a penny. In this copy of "the London Gazette," dated Monday, April 17th, to Thursday, April 20th, 1699, the following advertisement appeared:-

The Golden Fleece Inn Chelmsford at Essex, a Freehold and well repaired, hath convenient Stables and Outhouses, stands in the Market place, is to sold at reasonable rate. Enquire Mr. Beesley, Attorney, on Bread street hill, Loudon.

* * * * *

These historic licensed premises, now re-built in Duke Street, combine the friendly atmosphere of the old-type of inn with the modern efficiency of an up-to-date hotel. The hotel was designed by Mr. George E. Clay, A.R.I.B.A., of Gravesend, by whose courtesy the sketch is reproduced, and was built and equipped by local craftsmen, using, as far as possible, locally-manufactured materials. It is a fine testimony to the professional ability and local mechanical skill. The owners, Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, and Company, Limited, and their Essex Manager, Mr. E. S. Collins, deserve recognition for the contribution to employment which the building has given in the course of erection. Many modern and efficient ideas have been incorporated in the design.

The sketch gives an excellent idea of the general elevation. The external design of the building is 18th century in character, while features of the earlier East Anglian traditional work are in evidence. The exterior is built in local multi-coloured red bricks, with Portland stone dressings, and the roof is covered with local tiles. Ample accommodation has been provided for all classes, and it is a noticeable feature that attention has been given to provide the utmost possible comfort. The public rooms consist of the public bar, market bar, private bar, saloon bar, off-licence counter, and dining-room. The necessity for quick service is met by the provision of a four-sided central serving bar in direct communication with each public room, and from the office in the middle of this service space every portion of the public accommodation can be supervised.

The whole of the external and internal joinery is of oak, the floors are in oak strip flooring, with teak blocks in the public, market, and off-licence departments. The saloon bar, entered from the main hall, is panelled throughout in oak, and the dog grate to the fireplace is surrounded with Portland stone. It is a very attractive room. The dining room, with seating for about seventy diners, situated off the first floor, is approached by a staircase leading off the main hall, and the walls are treated with unique panelling. The food service, connected with the kitchen, opens directly into the dining-room. The kitchen, washing-up, and service rooms are tiled throughout, and the cooking equipment with modern gas cookers, plate warmers, hot cabinets, etc. The whole building is provided with both central heating and large open coal fires, and every provision is made ensure a well-ventilated atmosphere. There is private clubroom and lounge on the first floor, specially designed for small dinner parties, etc., and the second floor comprises staff bed and sitting rooms and guest bedrooms, all of which are excellent, and have been tastefully furnished by local firms. The lighting and fittings throughout are thoroughly up to date, and display much taste. Ample lavatory accommodation for both sexes is provided throughout the building, and to all public rooms. All the bedrooms are fitted with hot and cold water.

Mr. Frank George Collis, late of the Orange Tree Hotel. Totteridge, Herts., and several London houses, is the resident licensee. He is conversant with all sides of catering, and he will be assisted Mrs. Collis on this side of the business. Mr. Collis personally superintends every branch of the house, and is in touch with all sports. He has been for over thirty years connected with the Lynn Athletic Club, and is a referee on the British Boxing Board of Control, and vice-president of the Dorking Football Club. He will make a capable host, for he is, in the words of Shakespeare, a man of infinite discourse."
Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 03 March 1933, page 2.

It all sounds rather grand, doesn't it? The Golden Fleece looks slightly less posh today:

For some reason they weem toi think it's a 17th-century building. Only a couple of centuries wrong.

Let's do that recappy type thing. Truman's Mild was sixth of seventeen, averaging 0.5. Which is OK. Their Burton Ale did a little better, placing fifth of fourteen, with an average of 1.09.  And it wasn't that far behind first place, which was Whitbread with an average score of 1.33. But it's Truman's Pale Ale which has done best so far, coming second of fifteen with an average of 1.62. Will their Porter keep up the run of positive average scores?

Truman Porter quality 1922 - 1923
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Porter 1010 1037.5 3.57 73.33% fair 1 6d
1922 Porter 1011 1037 3.37 70.27% fair 1 6d
1922 Porter 1010 1037.5 3.57 73.33% fair 1 6d
1922 Porter 1010.8 1037.3 3.43 71.05% fair 1 6d
1923 Porter 1010.4 1036.4 3.37 71.43% fair 1 5d
1923 Porter 1009.4 1036.4 3.50 74.18% moderate 1 6d
1923 Porter 1011.2 1035.2 3.11 68.18% poor -1 6d
1923 Porter 1010.8 1038.8 3.63 72.16% poor but sound -1 6d
1923 Porter 1010.8 1036.8 3.37 70.65% v fair 2 6d
Average  1010.5 1037.0 3.43 71.62% 0.67
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Yes, it does. In fact it does pretty well, with seven out of nine getting positive scores. And none of the negatives is greater than -1. It's a pretty consistent set of scores. Giving an average of 0.67.

Truman's houses would be one of first choices, should I ever find myself in 1920's London.


Jeff Renner said...

What is the source and date of the "infomercial?" You usually put this at the bottom of the article, but I don't see it here.

Ron Pattinson said...


it's Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 03 March 1933, page 2.