Thanks to John L for the information on Samuel Lord and here is some more. He also bottled at the former Commission Street Brewery in Bolton, which was owned by John Atkinson & Co. Ltd until it became part of Boardman’s United Breweries in 1898. This label from Watney, Combe, Reid & Co is probably from just before the outbreak of World War 1.
Still on the more expensive beers, today we offer a label from Constable & Sons of the Anchor Brewery in Littlehampton. To encourage contributions from fellow brewery historians, we are going to say very little about this label, except to comment that 1/6d seems a lot for a Mild Ale, it is after all more than 7p in today’s money.
Denis has sent in these two images. The Sparkling Dinner Ale is from the Whitefield Brewery and so predates the 1899 merger to form Whitefield Breweries Ltd. The stopper label doesn’t mention Whitefield, but the Whitefield Brewery was in Besses o’ th’ Barn which is actually mentioned in wiki. Was there another brewery in Besses and where does Samuel Lord fit into the operation. Was he just a bottler in Bolton?
Fremlin Brothers of the Pale Ale Brewery, Maidstone, was not especially noted for its Stout. Yet in the early years of the 20th century they produced a Half Crown Stout which prompts several questions. What is a Half Crown? Was it the cost of the beer and if so how much did you get for your money? Was it just a name designed to give the impression of high quality?
I can answer the first question. A crown was equal to five shillings and since the 19th century was mainly minted for commemoration purposes, Coronations, Jubilees, festivals,the last one in 1965 on the death of Winston Churchill. So Half Crown was 2 shillings and six pence 2/6. Unlike the Crown coin, this was in continuous use until 1970.
We feel a lot more confident about today’s post after the responses to yesterday’s post. We are particularly grateful to Ron Pattinson for his succinct contribution. Here is a 90/- Ale, this time from Maclay & Co. of the Thistle Brewery, Alloa. A higher gravity ale, possibly similar to a Strong Ale in England. Scottish Brewing Heritage date this label to the 1900s, which, according to Ron, would mean 90 shillings a hogshead, which works out at 2½d a pint. This works well. If it is sold at 4d a bottle, which would have been a pint, reasonable profit for all.
Another example from Scotland, this time a completely different theme. A number of Scottish Brewers indicated the strength of their beers in either Shillings or Guineas. Maybe there was originally a connection with horse racing, where prizes were often given in Guineas, and of course guineas implies high quality. A Guinea was 21 shillings so 3 Guinea Ale was 63 shillings indicating a fairly weak beer as I have not come across 1 or 2 guinea beers. . At one time there may have been a relationship with the cost of a barrel of the beer. We shall return to this theme in the future. Here is Three Guinea Ale label from W.H.Brown of the Craigie Brewery in Dundee.
We are definitely in the realms of the quart bottle or possible even an larger container today. This must be a very early label, Allsopp merged with Ind Coope in 1933, and circular bottle labels were beginning to disappear after WW1. A shilling is a lot of money for that era, so I am going for a quart or possibly a half gallon salt glazed bottle. I wonder if anyone knows.
Today’s offering is another different method to indicate cost of the beer. Put the price on a stopper label. Stopper labels were introduced to stop the practice of unscrewing the top pouring out some beer and topping up with water. Hence early examples exhorted the drinker to ensure the label was unbroken. Some examples here from Fremlin’s of Maidstone and I won’t try to guess either the possible contents of the bottle or the size. Thanks again to Nick who sent in the images. For those lucky enough not to know, the top label reads 1 shilling and two pence, slightly less than 6p today.
Happy New Year to all our followers! And may your collecting year bring you many goodies. Like these maybe?
Very pleasing response to yesterday’s test. We should be more trusting of our followers. A second example from Carter’s Knottingley Brewery is added, both of which feature the 2d charge on the bottle in a tab at the top of the label. The company was acquired by Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries in 1935 and in the 1920s and 30s the bottle charge would be at the very least an eighth of the cost of the beer, possibly more, even on a quart bottle. I can’t see many people happy to pay that proportion today, especially on a bottle costing over £3..
Brewers used different ways to include the price of the beer on the label. This Extra Stout label from Charles Wells of Bedford has the 6d price discretely located below the central roundel. A lovely label, our thanks go to Nick for providing the image.