Saturday, 18 June 2011

Messrs. Ind Coope and Co. Limited (part one)

Time to resume my never-ending series on Burton breweries, as described by Barnard in the 1890's. I just can't get enough of this stuff.

Ind Coope, in case you aren't aware, were originally based in Romford in Essex. Their brewery there didn't close all that long ago. When I were a lad, it was Allied Breweries main southern plant. It seems they led the dash of southern firms to establish a brewing facility in Burton.

"The brewery at Burton, the property of Messrs. Ind and Coope, Limited, of Romford and Burton, was acquired in the year 1856, when it had only been partially erected, by a Mr. Middleton, from one of the large breweries in the town. On taking possession, they immediately completed the buildings, and fitted up the brewery in a modern style. This was the first instance of what may be termed a London firm opening an establishment in the famous town of Burton; for then, as now, Messrs. Ind and Coope carried on an extensive brewery business at Romford, near London, which will be described hereafter.

So rapid was the progress of the business under able management, that in a few years Messrs. Ind and Coope attained the position of the third largest brewers in Burton. The premises—which are close to the railway station, and adjoin those of Messrs. Allsopp and Son, Limited, and others—cover upwards of twenty-three acres, and are everywhere intersected by private lines in connection with the Midland system. They are grouped together in three sections, the brewery itself being on the north side of Station Street, the stores and cooperage on the south side, and the maltings on the west side of the railway station. From any point of view the brewery has an imposing appearance, as will be seen from our illustrations. The buildings, which are constructed of red brick, and most substantially built, are of lofty elevation, and are fitted up with every modern appliance and machine known to the trade."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 2", Alfred Barnard, 1889, pages 53 - 54.

I wonder what happened to the Ind Coope Burton brewery? When they merged with Allsopp in the 1930's, they would have had a spare brewery in Burton. It seems that the two breweries were next to each other, so I assume they just knocked them through into one.

That aside, let's get on with a description of the gubbins inside the buildings.

"From this place, we bent our steps to the brewery, and commenced our inspection at the malt stores, which are very capacious, passing on to the mill-rooms, where there are two sets of steel malt-rollers for crushing the malt. After this, we took a peep at four large heating tanks, and, then, proceeded downstairs to the mashing department, which occupies two rooms right and left, of the building, containing, in both apartments, eight mash tuns, fitted with most approved  machinery and sparging apparatus.

These vessels,  which possess the usual draining plates, are each 11 feet in diameter and hold 100 barrels, and, it is here, that the crushed malt is mixed with water of a proper temperature, and mashed by the powerful stirring rakes within the tun, the hot water being admitted from the bottom at first, but, at certain stages of the mashing process, from the top also. The six underbacks connected with these tuns are on the basement level of the brewery, and the wort, which since its arrival in these vessels has been kept at a proper temperature, is pumped therefrom, by a three-throw pump which delivers at the rate of 300 barrels per hour to the wort boiling coppers. The grains left behind are afterwards discharged, by means of sluice valves, direct into railway trucks. Before folllowing the process, to save the trouble of retracing our steps, we crossed a short wooden bridge into the water tower before referred to.

This building, the roof of which is covered by a water tank, is 42 feet by 32 feet, and consists of several floors, whereon are placed as many as six water tanks, the whole storing 85,200 gallons, all being available, at any time in case of fire. Below, we observed six other tanks, for hot water, provide with sluice valves, and divided into two compartments.

Resuming our peregrinations, we followed our guide across the mashing rooms, and then passed, under a brick archway, to the copper stage, a long and narrow paved gallery, extending upwards of 150 feet. Here are placed six copper vessels, beautifully clean and bright, for boiling the worts, each of which holds 150 barrels, and the aggregate boiling capacity is over 24,000 gallons. The hops are added whilst the liquor is being boiled, and, when the process is completed, the wort is discharged into two hop straining backs, constructed of copper, fitted with gun-metal strainers. The hops left behind are then compressed by two powerful hydraulic presses, and the liquor pumped into the receiver, and, from thence, to the refrigerators. Continuing our walk, we came to the cooling room, containing two spiral refrigerators, which consist of a series of coils placed on a cast-iron circular frame, 8 feet high and 12 feet in diameter; each frame contains upwards of a mile of 1.25-inch copper pipe (covered with canvas to prevent corrosion), placed on bearers, or open shelves, about a foot apart. Over the top, there is a revolving cold water apparatus, exactly like a sparger, only on a larger scale, containing a set of 2-inch pipes, which rain a heavy shower of cold water over the coils, breaking it up into the finest of rain, and reaching every bit of pipe in the machine, making the contents as cold as necessary, even in the hottest weather."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 2", Alfred Barnard, 1889, pages 56 - 58.

Eight mash tuns, each with a capacity of 100 barrels. That size of tun would produce 150 to 200 barrels of wort per brew. Taking the lower figure, that gives an annual capacity of 360,000 barrels. Or pretty damn big. Not quite at the same level as Bass or Allsopp, but still one of the largest breweries in country. You'll note that their mash tuns were fitted with internal rakes. I'm assuming that they also had an external Steel's masher. That was pretty standard by this time. Unfortunately, you can't see on the illustration if there is one there or not.

I'd forgotten that water in a brewery could be used for purposes other than brewing and cleaning. Breweries were big fire risks. Which is why many had their own fire brigade. And obviously you'd need plenty of water to put out an industrial-size fire.

I can see from the illustration that Ind Coope, like all the other Burton breweries we've looked inside, had open coppers. I'm starting to believe that stuff about Pale Ale being served better by an open copper.

That refrigerator sounds a bit odd. I'll be honest. I'm having trouble visualising it. It sounds weird, with that giant sparging arm. Anyone heard of this type of device? Or better still, anyone have a picture of one?

Next we stroll over to the fermentation room. Any guesses as to what we'll find there?


Barm said...

I think I can visualise the refrigerator. They must have been pumping the wort through these miles of coiled pipe, while cold water drizzled down over the outside; the canvas covering would keep the pipes wet and cold.

Ed said...

The Allied Burton brewery is now Molson Coor's Burton North plant. Presumably this was Ind Coope at one point.

Geography Police said...

Romford is in London, not Essex.

Anonymous said...

Romford was part of Essex at the time:

SweetPea Designs said...

Romford is still in Essex as it always has been, although it is a London Borough. Just because a lot of people moved there from the East End that doesn't make it London! There has been a lot of debate about this, particularly among old Romfordians, like myself. My husband worked at Romford Brewery for 33 years until it sadly closed down.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Romford ain't been a part of Essex for over half a century.
The London Boroughs are what make up London. If a place is in a London Borough then it is in London.
Only Londoners get the Freedom Pass - You got one?

Unknown said...

Wrong!! The county of Essex still exists from the Stour in the N to the Lea in the S. It has never been repealed. Administration units have come and gone Eg LCC GLC and now have the GLA. Southend and Thurrock are now nothing to do with Essex CC.

Anonymous said...

The county of Essex does still exist but not where any London Borough is. The 1963 London Government Act decided that. A county is an administrative body, always has been.