Archive for September, 2011

Worksop & Retford Brewery

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I met a chap at the GBBF recently and we discussed his research into the  – See below. He would love to hear from anyone with information. I have pointed him towards David Parry’s ‘South Yorkshire Stingo’ for passing references and the history of Sheffield’s Old Albion Brewery as they bought this.

24 Whitwell Lane, Stocksbridge, Sheffield S36 1GE   – 0114 288 5238

Dear Jeff,

We met at the GBBF earlier this week – as discussed, myself and a colleague are currently researching the Worksop and Retford Brewery, which was demolished in 1962, as background for a novel. We would love to hear from anyone who worked for the company in the late 1950’s or early 60’s. We are particularly interested in finding an original recipe for Worksop Ale, and in speaking to anyone who can remember the taste, or the experience, of drinking this, or any of, their beers.

The Worksop and Retford Brewery was a large employer and a landmark enterprise for the whole of Bassetlaw. Worksop malt was critical to the success of brewing operations in Manchester and the Midlands.

Photographs provide an indication of the sheer size of the operation. Ornate wrought iron gates opened out onto a large eye-catching and decorative five storey building, built from bricks of different colour in a style in favour at the time.

The brewery was acquired by Tennant Brothers of Sheffield, in 1958 and demolished in 1962 when Tennants were taken over by Whitbread. The company was voluntarily wound up by a Special Resolution passed at an Extraordinary General Meeting held at the Exchange Brewery, Sheffield in April 1970.

We have received detailed information/photos from a visit to Bassetlaw Museum and from Mike Richards, Head Brewer at Thorne Brewery, whose father worked for WRB. We had a useful conversation with Frank Greaves who worked at the bonded warehouse and packaging plant built on the site of the Brewery by Tennants (Manager from 1974 until his retirement in 1993). We have also come across some interesting photographs of the brewery insignia: the Half Moon (Retford) and the Langold Hotel (now demolished).

If you could provide any other pointers, I would be very grateful,



Researching Brewery and Publican Ancestors

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Simon Fowler, BHS member, former editor of various family history magazines and employee at The National Archives (TNA) for many years, tells me he has unearthed some nice new material relating to our passion and will be giving a talk on the subject at:

The National Archives, Kew TW9 4DU details at Date: 13 October 2-3pm. Free. “You are supposed to get a ticket on the day, but I can’t imagine it will be over-subscribed, so just turn up.”

I copy the flyer below and hope to see you there


“Brewers and Barmaids”: Researching Brewery and Publican Ancestors

There is perhaps nothing more English than the public house. Once every village had an alehouse, while towns offered licensed premises to suit every taste and pocket. The trade employed large numbers of workers in a variety of roles. In 1901 the number of licensees alone peaked at more than 100,000. As a result many of us have ancestors who worked behind the bar or made the beer which was enjoyed by all social classes and travelled around the world. Using material at The National Archives and county record offices this talk will tell the story of Britain’s pubs and breweries and describe the key sources which can be used to trace ancestors who ran pubs or worked in breweries.

Simon Fowler has worked at The National Archives on and off for over thirty years and is now a freelance writer and historian and recently wrote a guide to pub and brewery records for the Family History Partnership. At present he is organising the annual conference of the Pub History Society which will take place on 26 November.

Does brewing history really matter to you?

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Our editor Tim Holt, an avid Blog fan, pointed out Alan McLeod’s Blog of this title today


Alan, in turn, was commenting on Des De Moor’s Blog entitled ‘Brewing’s disputed histories’ – See

Worth a look, and possibly a response

Happy researching