History & Links
The Breweries

1787  Horselydown and The Anchor Brew House


1961  George's

1970  John Smith's of Tadcaster

1970  Barclay Perkins (author unknown)

Courage & Co Ltd was started by John Courage at the Anchor Brewhouse in
Horselydown, Bermondsey in 1787. It became Courage & Donaldson in 1797.  By
1888, it had been registered simply as 'Courage'. In 1955, the company merged with
Barclay, Perkins & Co Ltd (who were located at the nearby Anchor Brewery) to become
Courage, Barclay & Co Ltd. Only five years later, another merger with the Reading
based Simonds' Brewery led to the name changing to Courage, Barclay, Simonds & Co
Ltd. This was simplified to Courage Ltd in October 1970 and the company was taken
over by the Imperial Tobacco Group Ltd two years later.

Their vast Worton Grange (now Berkshire) brewery,
Reading,  was opened on the
Reading/Shinfield border in 1978. The Anchor Brewery closed in 1981 and all brewing
was transferred there. Imperial Tobacco was acquired by the Hanson Trust in 1986
and they sold off Courage to Elders IXL who were renamed the Foster's Brewing
Group in 1990. The following year, the Courage section of Foster's merged with all the
breweries of Grand Metropolitan. Its public houses were owned by a joint-company
called Inntrepreneur Estates. Scottish & Newcastle purchased Courage from Foster's
in 1995, creating Scottish Courage as its brewing arm.

As of January 2007 the rights for the production, marketing and sales of the Courage
brands have been sold to Wells & Young’s Brewing Company. This will be managed by
a joint venture called Courage Brands Ltd.

Scottish and Newcastle have announced a planned closure of the Berkshire brewery in
2010. This has been strongly opposed by union leaders

Family Trees

The Founder, John Courage's, Grandsons:  

  1. John Courage (3)       (1829-1861) (no issue)
  2. Robert Courage         (1830-1893)
  3. Edward Courage        (1833-1904)
  4. Alfred Courage          (1835-1898)
  5. William Courage         (no issue)
  6. Frank Courage           (1838-1917)
  7. Henry Courage           (1840-1902)

For an account of how these four brothers managed the family business see
"Courage's 1787-1932", Chapter 2 by Mr G N Hardinge.

All rights reserved.
The village just north of Aberdeen where William Courage, the
Founder's grandfather settled in the latter half of the 17th century.
'Courage Best'
An interesting site displaying a keen interest in both the beer and the
popular pub game of darts. Sept 2015 - Page now taken over by
Charles Wells
A site published by an obvious enthusiast of the British pub, and
which contains a lot of pictures of Courage pubs.  Well worth a browse

See also a  number of Courage pubs photos at

Courage photos
The Beer
An unusual site showing an interesting selection of glasses supplied by
the Courage brewery.
The Huguenots were French Protestants who were members of the
Reformed Church which was established in 1550 by John Calvin, but
who were persecuted ruthlessly during the 17th century in Europe.  As
a result many fled to England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, as well as
to the New World.
Summary of acquisitions

Courage & Co. Ltd, Anchor Brewery, Horselydown, Bermondsey. Brewery was
bought by John Courage in 1787. Known as Courage & Donaldson 1797-1851.
Registered as above in April 1888. Merged with Barclay, Perkins & Co. Ltd in 1955 to
form Courage, Barclay & Co Ltd. From 1960 was known as Courage, Barclay,
Simonds & Co Ltd and was renamed Courage Ltd in October 1970. Anchor Brewery
closed in 1981 and redeveloped as housing, all brewing being transferred to a new
brewery at Worton Grange, Reading. Taken over in August 1972 by Imperial Tobacco
Group Ltd which was acquired by the Hanson Trust in 1986 who sold Courage as a
separate concern to Elders IXL. Courage have now taken over all the Grand
Metropolitan breweries. All Courage public house and 3/4 of Grand Met's houses
were then run by a jointly owned company, Inntrepreneur Estates.

Other take overs:

c. 1898 Park Brewery Co, 54a Southampton Street, Camberwell. Taken over by
Thomas Phillips of West Malling, Kent in 1898 and later came under the control of

1930 Noakes & Co Ltd, Black Eagle Brewery, 27 White's Ground, Bermondsey.
Founded in 1697 and was trading as Day, Noakes & Son in 1852. Registered in
March 1897. Noakes acquired John Canning & Sons, Royal Brewery, Windsor in 1921
and brewing transferred to Windsor. 280 public houses. The Black Eagle Brewery is
still standing adjacent to the rail approach to London Bridge Station.

1956 Reffell's Bexley Brewery Ltd, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. Founded 1874.
Registered December 1898 and acquired the London properties of Showell's Brewery
Co Ltd. 19 tied houses. The brewery is still standing.

1963 Charles Beasley Ltd, North Kent Brewery, Lakedale Road, Plumstead. Founded
in 1845 as the Park Brewery and the name was changed to the Nortn Kent Brewery
by 1878. Registered in 1943. The brewery is still standing.   

Another brewery which came under Courage control indirectly was
Thomas Norfolk & Sons Ltd, Deptford Brewery, Deptford Bridge, registered in 1894
and was taken over by the Dartford Brewery Co Ltd, in 1904 with 55 public houses.
The Dartford Brewery was acquired by Style & Winch Ltd of Maidstone in 1924 and
the Royal Brewery Brentford Ltd in 1924 and was later acquired by Barclay, Perkins in
Reference: A Century of British Brewers Plus - 1890 to 2004.
Brewery History Society, 2005
Barclay Perkins & Co Ltd.  Anchor Brewery, Park Street, Southwark
1. William Courage (John Courage's great-grandfather) to 12th
generation (9th great-grandchildren) showing John Courage the
Founder and John's grandsons John, Robert, Edward and Henry
who were also involved in the Anchor brewery.

2.  John Courage (Founder) (1761-1793)    

Ancestors (Early) Descendants