Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Formby Old Brewery (part five)

I'm starting to get a weird insight into life in Victorian and Edwardian Formby. And there are a few surnames which keep popping up.

Let's recap the story so far, complete with some bits I've guessed. Formby Old Brewery was owned, until his death in December 1864, by Richard Tyrer. Who dropped dead in the brewery, aged 79. The brewery was then briefly owned by John Rimmer. On his death in 1866, the brewery was auctioned off and came into the hands of the Dickinson family, with whom in remained until 1949. When it was again auctioned - this time with three pubs - bought by Tetley and promptly closed. The final owner was William Rimmer Dickinson. Thomas Rimmer, who died in 1903 aged 63, ran the Royal Hotel and attached Reciprocity Brewery

The first of the family to own the Old Brewery seems to have been Edward Dickinson, father of William Rimmer Dickinson. The middle name of Rimmer implies that Edward Dickinson was married to one of the Rimmer family.

Looking at the dates, I guessed that John Rimmer was the father of Thomas Rimmer and also had a daughter who had married Edward Dickinson. Which would make William Rimmer Dickinson and Thomas Rimmer cousins. So why was the brewery auctioned and not inherited by John Rimmer's children? Was his estate split up because of an argument between his heirs? Did Thomas Rimmer use his share of the proceeds from the sale to buy the Royal Hotel and set up a brewery behind it? As an act of revenge against his brother-in-law buying his father's brewery? As a commenter on an earlier post mentioned, in a situation similar to what happened at Theakstons with Black Sheep?

After digging a little more, I'm doubting this imagined scenario. Especially after coming across this:

On Tuesday afternoon great excitement prevailed amongst members of the farming community of Freshfield and the surrounding district when it became known that two large stacks of rye and hay, along with a threshing machine, had caught fire on the land adjoining the Old Formby Brewery in the occupation of Ed. Dickinson. It appears that an engine and machine, owned by Thomas Rimmer of Ainsdale, arrived the evening previous for the purpose of threshing a stack of oats and was immediately placed between the last named rick and that of the hay and rye. Operations were commenced shortly after seven in the morning, and by one o'clock the rick was finished. The men then went to Dickinson's home for dinner, but before they had been there a quarter of an hour, word was received that the stacks were on fire. A scene of great excitement then prevailed and it was found on arriving at the burning curn that the threshing machine had also become ignited, and that it was impossible to save either the ricks or the apparatus. The ditches adjoining were dry, and there being no other chance of getting a supply of water the crowd had to stand and look on. In a short time the machine was burned to pieces whilst most of the sacks of oats threshed in the morning also got amongst the inflammable corn. The engine used to work the threshing apparatus had a narrow escape of getting seriously damaged, and it was with the utmost difficulty that it was removed. The hay, rye, and oats were valued at about £l4O, while the loss of the machine is estimated to be about £120. Neither wen insured. It is not known how the fire originated."
Liverpool Weekly Courier - Saturday 25 March 1893, page 4.

Thomas Rimmer owned fields adjacent to the brewery and his workmen ate in Edward Dickinson's house. That doesn't sound like family members who had fallen out.

The reciprocity Brewery seems to have closed pretty much immediately after Thomas Rimmer's death. A 1906 OS map marks the brewery as disused. The pub - and presumably the brewery - were bought by the Thorougood Brewery of Waterloo, Merseyside. Though in 1911 John Rimmer, presumably the son of Thomas, was the landlord.*

I keep coming across the surnames Dickinson, Rimmer and also Tyrer in Formby. Not just in connection with pubs and brewing, but also local politics.

This is so much fun, unearthing all this stuff. Not that it's of any real use. Maybe that's what makes it so enjoyable. The pointlessness itself.

I haven't even got to local arsehole landowner Charles J. Wild-Blundell. Who just happened to own a couple of beerhouses himself.

* Formby Times - Saturday 04 February 1911, page 7.

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