Under the new partnership the Anchor lost some of its glamour. Although it remained one of the industrial sights of London for foreign visitors (some seventy years later, in the year of the Great Exhibition, more than 50,000 visitors came to the brewery in the course of five months), its gain was in efficiency and expansion. This was reflected in the official records as The Quantity of Beer Brewed by the London Brewers -
The industrial acreage at Southwark was increased and, influenced by the Barclay and Bevan family connections with East Anglia, agricultural land and maltings were acquired. Although all the traditions of Southwark brewing were cherished and enhanced, the new people were quick to take advantage of new invention. Steam was coming in to change the industrial face of Britain. Robert Barclay turned his attention to it immediately he arrived in Southwark. Three years later the famous pioneers Boulton and Watt were installing the first steam engine in the brewery. The work was supervised by William Murdock on the instructions of James Watt. The steam power to be used was for raising water from the brewery wells which had been done by a pump powered by horses drawn round a circular track. The “horse-wheel” was a familiar feature of breweries of the period and drawings of that at the Anchor have been preserved. Murdock calculated that the average horse worked at the rate of 22,000 feet pounds per minute. He added 50 per cent to this estimate and thus produced the figure of 33,000 feet pounds per minute which thereafter became the established definition of one horsepower. Thus, the Anchor Brewery, already rich in literary associations, added to the lore of engineering. The result of Murdock’s work was a steam engine which continued to operate in the brewery for a hundred years, being replaced in 1884 by another engine made by James Watt & Co. described by a contemporary writer as “one of the finest engines in London, which is the admiration of very many visitors in the trade”.
In 1810 a foreign visitor, Louis Simond, described the Anchor: “About 200 men are employed; the stock of liquor is valued at £300,000; the barrels alone used to convey the beer to the customers cost about £80,000; the whole capital amounts to not less than half a million. There is stabling for 100 horses - large fine beasts, capable of much work.”
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Southwark was notorious for its conflagrations. These were due to the intense industrialisation of the area, the flammatory nature ofso much of the merchandise handled on the wharves, and the fire risk of the densely-housed population. The frequency and the gravity of these fires were encouraged by lack of safety regula- tions, but they also encouraged by sheer necessity the development of a fire service in London. The Anchor was a victim in 1832 and the event was reported in The Examiner: “Shortly after 5 o’lock on Tuesday afternoon a fire broke out in the extensive premises of Messrs. Barclay, Perkins & Co. It spread devastation and caused much alarm in the surrounding district...the fire commenced in an inner quadrangle ... and the flames rapidly spread...to a distance of 250 feet.
“Information of the fire had been forwarded to Mr. Barclay, who was attending his Parliamentary duties (Charles Barclay was M.P. for Southwark and subsequently for West Surrey) and that gentleman came on the spot as speedily as possible and gave directions ... One of the squares, containing upwards of 1,000 barrels of beer, burst unexpectedly on a number of firemen .. . and the premises were nearly flooded with beer. The total amount of damage, in buildings, machinery, etc., is estimated at £40,000. Messrs. Barclay, Perkins & Co., have another brewery establishment in full operation in Stoney Lane, which, together with the whole of the stock of beer uninjured in Park Street, will enable them to supply their customers as usual.”
Another contemporary report stated that when the beams in the malt lofts caught fire, “Mr. John Braithwaite, with a gallon of water under his arm, and two pint-pots in his hands, extinguished these early flames, and so kept the fire in check until more efficient help could be brought.” This no doubt refers to James Braithwaite, the pioneer of steam fire-engines, who had been promoting his elegant carriage-like land steamer during this period. Although he had failed to interest the great James Braidwood in his invention, one of his machines assisted in controlling the fire. Afterwards - by what financial arrangement is not recorded - it stayed on at the Anchor in service as a beer- pump until new equipment was organised. Perhaps as a result of the fire, Robert Barclay later diversified his interests by joining the Court of the Royal Exchange.
The business itself ultimately benefited from the fire. The Insurance Cyclopaedia written some years later by Cornelius Walford presented a flourishing picture: “Thanks to the good fortune which in days when the clay of London had not yet become far more valuable per square foot than the goidmines of Russian and Brazil - Australia and California were not yet thought of - gave them so extensive an area on which to erect all necessary buildings, Barclay and Perkins, unlike some of their largest rivals, are enabled to be their own maltsters. How great an advantage this is, only a brewer knows; and the malthouses in Park Street are indeed sights to see, and to be followed, from the cranes by which the barley is hoisted from waggons into the buildings, past the screens where it is cleansed, the cisterns where it is steeped, the couching frames where it is gauged by the exciseman, and the floors where the process of germination is perfected, to the kilns where it is roasted until it receives the required colour, and so on to the bins where it is stored until wanted to be made into beer.”
The rebuilt Anchor of Victorian times was a proud institution. In the visitors’ book the signatures included Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, Napoleon III, the Emperor of Russia, Prince Osman Pacha, Comte de Paris, Garibaldi and Don Carlos. Such visitors admired not only the brewing of the beer but the splendours of the horses and indeed of the men. Alfred Barnard, writing in the eighteen-eighties, said: “As is well-known the draymen in Barclay’s wear the Phrygian red cap of liberty, and are supplied by the firm with long white overalls and deep leather collars giving them a picturesque appearance. All are picked men of great stature and strength, who move the great butts and barrels about as if they were toys. There are more than fifty of these handsome fellows, who take great pride in their teams, and are scrupulous as to the appearance of the harness and general turn-out.”
Another witness writing about the same time was Dr. William Rendle, who said “The draymen and the horses at Barclay’s were, and I suppose are, fine specimens of their kind; the horses were wonders in size and appearance. The draymen some less. I attended many of them, notably one gigantic man, for erysipelas, and as it was needful I should know, so as to guide my treatment, how much he took daily, I asked him. ‘Why, you see, sir,’ said he, ‘that I am one of the oldest of the men who go with the drays, and so my journeys are the short ones. I get a little drink at each place (besides what we get at the brewery) - beer and a drop of gin or what not.’ - ‘How much altogether?’ I asked. ‘About three gallons then besides.’ I could scarcely see how he managed to take it all down, but that was what he said. My practical conclusion was, ‘Well, to get you over the erysipelas you must go on much the same.’ He recovered. I must say the men, so far as the shell was concerned, were often as fine as the horses, but there was a dreamy muddled look about the eyes, and they had a shambling sort of walk. This was many years ago; I practised in Southwark nearly fifty years.
Whether they succumbed to their temptations or not, the brewery people at all levels maintained a sturdy independence of character. There was, for instance, a building within the precincts of the brewery which had lingered on from the Thrales’ time and was noticed by Alfred Barnard: “. . . for here it is that the twelve apostles make their appearance on the first Thursday afternoon in every month, precisely as the clock strikes four. Start not, gentle reader, at the assertion; they are not Heavenly visitants appearing at stated times to assist in the beneficent labours of John Barleycorn ‘within the precincts,’ but in reality twelve genial souls, who have succeeded their fathers in the ‘Apostolate,’ and every one of them labours in the great work of supplying thirsty Britons with Barclay’s life-giving product; a chosen few of the brewery disciples who meet to celebrate each other’s birthday in toast and speech. The position of President, which is an honourable one, is permanent, and the duties are carried out with great strictness and ceremony. Each apostle in turn treats his brethren to a bottle of vintage claret and two of old port, no white wines being allowed under any circumstance. All the members of this conclave are either managers of departments or chief clerks in the brewery, and several of these gentlemen, to whom we were introduced, concealed under a grave demeanour much fun and humour. On certain occasion, during the assembling of the saints, one of these cheerful spirits was summoned on a matter of business to the presence of a member of the firm, who had either forgotten this ‘assemblage of the saints’, or did not know of its existence. Enquiring the reason of so long a delay in answering the message, the gentleman replied with perfect simplicity, ‘why sir, it was impossible for me to attend earlier, this is Thursday afternoon and I am one of the apostles,’ to which Mr. Perkins (for he it was) replied, ‘is that so; and are you the Judas Iscariot of the assembly?”
The forthrightness of brewery people in particular and of Southwark people in general led to an incident at the Anchor during Queen Victoria’s reign which had international repercussions. A certain Baron Julius Jacob Von Haynau arrived in this country in 1850. An Austrian by birth, he had risen to high rank in the Hapsburg army. In Italy he had been in charge of repressing revolt and he carried out his duties so brutally at Brescia that he had become known as the ‘Hyaena of Brescia’. Afterwards he had become dictator of Hungary where his hangings and floggings were even more notorious. His evil reputation had spread throughout Europe when [he] arrived in Britain shortly after his deposition in Hungary. The reason for his visit to a relatively liberal-minded country where he was unlikely to be welcomed is unknown; although it is known at least that Lord Palmerston then Foreign Secretary, was critical of his presence.
Haynau went the rounds of a distinguished foreign visitor and in due course arrived in Southwark and signed his name in the visitors’ book at the Anchor, prior to viewing the wonders of the brewery in all its mid-Victorian splendour. But before the ink of his signature was dry, the office clerks were spreading the news of his arrival, shouting “Down with the Austrian butcher.”
Accounts of what happened vary, but of the severity of the near-lynching there is no doubt. It began in the brewery by somebody dropping a truss of hay on the visitor’s head. Then he was surrounded, pelted and abused by the brewery people who were joined by men and women from the market as he tried to make his escape. Because so many of his own atrocities had been against women, the women of Southwark were particularly ferocious. Haynau fled along Bankside and took refuge in the George public house where, according to some accounts, he was hidden in a dustbin. His life was saved by the multitudinous doors and devious passages of the old inn, which confused his pursuers. Fortunately for him a police rowing galley was alongside and the police managed to rush him on board and row him across the river to safety. “He escaped with his life and lost his moustache” wrote one of the newspapers, referring to his enormous military moustache which had found much favour with characterists. Newspapers and journals, particularly ‘Punch,’ took up the incident with relish, and the Barclay, Perkins draymen were the heroes of the hour. The incident, however, did not close with the newspapers’ stories and the retreat of Haynau across the Channel (he died aged 67 in bed in Vienna three years later).
The Austrian Ambassador demanded formal apologies from the British Government. Palmerston’s sympathies were clearly with the draymen. His own view was that the “Ferocious and unmanly treatment of the unfortunate inhabitants of Brescia and of other towns and places in Italy, his savage proclamations to the people of Pesth and his barbarous acts in Hungary excited almost as much disgust in Austria as in England.” Accordingly he first delayed answering the Ambassador and then sent off a letter without waiting for Queen Victoria’s approval of its contents. On receiving the draft, the Queen disapproved very strongly. Palmerston had to defend himself with a note to theQueen: “Viscount Palmerston had put the last paragraph into the answer because he could scarcely have reconciled it to his own feelings and to his sense of public responsibility to have put his name to a note which might be liable to be called for by Parliament, without expressing in it, at least as his personal opinion, a sense of the want of propriety envinced by General Haynau in coming to England at the present moment ... The state of public feeling in this country about General Haynau and his proceedings in Italy and Hungary was perfectly well known...the brewers’ men were expressing their feelings at what they considered inhuman conduct on the part of General Haynau who was looked upon as a great moral criminal.” The Queen’s irritation was not assuaged. She forwarded Palmerston’s note to the Prime Minister, Lord John Russell: “Lord John will see that Lord Palmerston has not only sent the draft, but passes over in silence her injunction to have a corrected copy given to Baron Keller (The Ambassador), and adds a vituperation against General Haynau which clearly shows that he is not sorry for what has happened, and makes a merit of sympathising with the draymen at the brewery.”
The immediate outcome was that Palmerston, having threatened to resign, had to withdraw the message he had sent to Vienna, and a more apologetic note took its place. But the effect of the draymen’s action lingered on. The Austrians refused to send an official representative to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington two years later in 1852, and by this time the Queen’s views on the incident were more liberal. She expressed surprise that Austria should “slight England in return for what happened to Haynau for his own character.” Public opinion, however, was strongly in sympathy with the Southwark protest. Broadsides and street ballads for many years acclaimed the actions of the draymen. In September 1850 there was even a public meeting at Farringdon Hall in which their “noble conduct” was approved and cheered. When the Italian hero Garibaldi came to London fourteen years later in 1864, one of his most popular gestures was to insist on seeing the “fabrique de biere” where the tyrannical Haynau had been humiliated. At the Anchor Garibaldi toasted the workmen of the world in good Southwark Beer.
One of the partners who welcomed Garibaldi was Henry, son (or grandson) of John Perkins (Hester, long after her retirement from the scene, quotes a Dr. Parr as saying “the young Perkins' were sad mean Boys, I sent them as Students to him at their Mother’s request who fancied they would be Scholars: but they prov’d poor Creatures it seems - No Wonder! . . .“).
Nevertheless, the Perkins family kept a literary tradition alive at the Anchor. Henry Perkins, conscious of historic associations, became a great book collector and possessed four folio editions of Shakespeare. When his library was auctioned in 1873 it realised the then enormous sum of over £26,000.
Family tradition and succession was cherished at Bankside as it was with the Courages at Horselydown. Even in the eighteen-seventies when family businesses were more the rule than the exception, Barnard was impressed: “Messrs. Barclay’s is entirely a family business, unique of its kind in the kingdom, the founders having carefully limited it, even to the order of names in the deeds. The present partners are Robert, Charles Arthur, Thomas George, Hedworth Trelawney (the owner of the world-renowned race horse, ‘Bendigo,’ for which a sum of £10,000 has been refused), Alexander Charles Barclay, Colonel R. S. Paley, J. Bagot Scriven, Augustus F. Perkins, A. E. Perkins, Alfred H. Bevan and Frederick L. Bevan.” It is no surprise to find the surnames repeated in 1896 when Barclay, Perkins & Co. became a public company with Robert Barclay as Chairman.
Exactly one hundred years before that event Farrington was writing in his diary “I drank some Porter Mr. Lindoe had from Thrale’s Brewhouse. He said it was specially brewed for the Empress of Russia and would keep seven years.” This is one of several references to export trade which was built up by the brewers of Southwark, extending to Europe, to the New World and to the Far East. The most notable of these exports taken over from the days of Thrale was undoubtedly Barclay’s Imperial Russian Stout. While it still bore the Thrale label in 1795, the author of “The History and Antiquities of the Parish of St. Saviour, Southwark,” extolled it: “The reputation and enjoyment of Porter is by no means confined to England. As a proof of the truth of this assertion, this house exports annually very large quantities; so far extended are its commercial connections that Thrale’s intire is well known, as a delicious beverage, from the frozen regions of Russia to the burning sands of Bengal and Sumatra. The Empress of all Russia is, indeed so partial to Porter, that she has ordered repeatedly very large quantities for her own drinking and that of her Court.
It refreshes the brave soldiers who are fighting the battles of their country in Germany and animates with new ardour and activity the colonists of Sierra Leone and Botany Bay. It is not only evident from the exportation of other articles, but likewise from the quantity of Porter sent abroad, that Thrale’s intire extends the reputation of British produce to the inmost quarters of the Globe.”
References to “intire” or “entire” in descriptions of brewery products in earlier times - and these words still sometimes appear - have often mystified laymen. After visiting the sign-writing department at the Anchor in the eighteen-eighties, Barnard offered this explanation: “Being much puzzled as to the meaning of the word ‘Entire’, we were obliged to enquire of our guide, who soon made it plain to us. He stated that in by-gone days beer retailers were wont to sell a kind of liquor called ‘half-and-half, that is half ale and half twopenny, which had to be drawn from two casks; afterwards a taste was gradually acquired for ‘three-thread’, a compound of ale, beer, and twopenny, which the retailer was necessitated to draw from three casks; a process so troublesome, that it led to the brewing of a kind of beer which should combine the qualities of the three sorts, and which, being drawn from one cask, obtained the name of ‘entire butt beer’. It seems strange, that now the circum- stances under which the necessity arose have long since passed away that the term should remain, and still be retained on the boards.”
The merchant shipping of the Thames tideway had played an important part in the background at Bankside as in the Courage business at Horselydown. Child, the man who gave the Anchor its name, had been closely connected with the supply of beer to the navy. Wherever the navy sailed in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it carried its own supplies of beer, and during the expansionist period of British history, beer followed the flag. Markets were opened in Africa, Asia, India, America and the West Indies.
The European trade, in which such products as Barclay’s Russian Stout was prominently featured, was the result of commercial expediency and its origins go further back. The demands of industry, then mainly in the south of England during the sixteenth century caused wide-spread stripping of forests and woodland. It became necessary to import timber for ship-building as a matter of national security. This timber came from Northern Europe and the brewers needed it for their casks as urgently as the ship-builders for their hulks. Beer was exported to balance the import of timber, and as early as 1591 Stow mentions the export of 26,400 barrels of beer “from twenty great brewhouses on Thames side from Milford Stairs in Fleet Street to below St. Catherine’s.
Thus, the Baltic, Russian and the German markets for Southwark beer which flourished in the nineteenth century were based on long tradition. The demand for the timber for casks was enormous. Cornelius Walford, visiting the Anchor in late Victorian times - and there was much expansion to come - marvelled at the figure of a half a million barrels which passed through the cooperage department: “All these are made, repaired, cleaned, and examined in the yard, under competent superintendence. It is difficult to realise what half a million barrels really mean, so, by way of illustration, let us say that if placed side by side, bilge to bilge, they would extend from the brewery to Dover, thence to Deal, and back again to Park Street, and then leave enough to surround London with a strong rampart of beer.”
The traditional trade with Russia vanished with the First World War, and that with the Baltic and Northern Europe has diminished during the last few decades. But, as we shall see, the world-wide export and manufacture has more than filled its place and timber is no longer required for brewers’ casks any more than it is needed for the hulls of ships.
During the present century up to the First World War, Barclay Perkins, like many others, went through a thin time and, for some years at least, no dividends were paid. After the war, however, they followed the expansionist trend of all the great breweries and their special triumph was the pioneering of Barclays’ Lager both in Britain and with a large overseas trade, and the slogan “An Empire Drink For An Empire Thirst”. In 1929 they took over Style & Winch Ltd., the Dartford Brewery Co., and The Royal Brewery, Brentford, Ltd. The Brentford Brewery had a distinguished ancestry in the person of Sir Felix Booth, Bart., 1775-1850, who was a distiller as well as a brewer, a Sheriff of London and Middlesex, and was deeply interested in polar expeditions. He financed Capt. Ross’s “Voyage of Discovery” in 1828 to explore the Polar Seas. It was this expedition which discovered the Magnetic Pole in 1831.
In recognition of Booth’s services, William IV bestowed the Royal Coat of Arms upon the brewery at Brentford, and with the merging of the concerns the royal privilege was transferred to Southwark. A feature of this particular distinction, shared only with the Dome at Brighton, is that the grant is in perpetuity and need not be renewed upon the death of a reigning sovereign.
The Style & Winch marriage followed a long commercial flirtation for Barclay, Perkins & Co. had been associated with the Medway Brewery for many years. Style & Winch had been built up through a series of such marriages and amalgamations over the course of a century involving over twenty breweries and cider makers, and their business extended from Kent and East Sussex over the South East and into London. They also possessed their own hopfields and mineral factory. The first Medway Brewery was built by William Baldwin in 1806 at the time when the five-arch road- bridge was rebuilt at Maidstone. A John Holme joined the partnership and in the eighteen-fifties the firm traded as Baldwin & Holmes, and in the sixties as Holmes & Style. When the South Eastern Railway (Strood to Maidstone) was promoted in 1853, the line cut off the springs supplying the brewery and the Act of Parliament authorising this laid down that the railway company should pump for the brewery “good and wholesome water equal in quantity and quality to.. . the water diverted.”
In 1886 H. W. Tyrwhitt-Drake joined the brewery. His son, Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, in this century became Deputy Chairman of the Company and one of the best known of Medway citizens, and the family zoo and circus was a popular attraction at Cobtree Manor, said to have been the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ Dingley Dell. In Victorian times, with the population of Maidstone more than doubling itself, the business prospered. Inevitably - the calamity so often seems to repeat itself - there was a serious fire in the eighteen-nineties and afterwards much rebuilding. By the end of the century the buildings and plant had been modernised and the firm, then known as A. F. Style & Co., amalgamated with E. Winch & Sons, Ltd., of Chatham. So Style & Winch entered the present century with a strong well integrated territory.
For a concern which seems in every other respect to have been progressive, it is curious to note that the new Board of Directors put their names to a petition against the installation of electric light in Maidstone. In 1902, however, they were purchasing their first steam wagon capable of speeds between four and five miles per hour.
After Style & Winch took over the Brentford brewery, all beer was brewed at Maidstone and carried up to the London tideway from the Medway in the firm’s own sailing barges, and these shipments continued until the nineteen-thirties. Until the late forties power-driven barges carried Style & Winch beer from Maidstone to Rochester for distribution in the Medway towns. One of the last uses of water transport was for the conveyance of Barclays’ stout from the Thames tideway to Scotland.
During the nineteenth century both Style and Winch houses had sold Barclay’s Stout. In many old photographs of inn signs Barclay’s name appears beside that of one of the Medway brewers, and thus collaboration continued throughout the early part of the century. Before the First World War, Style & Winch bought up Valiance’s of Sittingbourne, Simmonds of Hadlow, the Ashford Breweries, and the Lion Brewery in Chatham. In 1924 they acquired the Dartford Brewery, which had been established in 1800 and had acquired concerns at Tonbridge, Dartford and Northfieet. In 1929 Major C. A. C. Perkins was among the Directors from the Anchor who joined the Maidstone Board, while representatives of both the Style and Winch families joined the Board of Barclay, Perkins in London.
A major overseas enterprise of the fifties was the establishment of The Blue Nile Brewery at Khartoum in the Republic of Sudan. This was the first brewery to be started in that country and the first to be planned and built overseas by any of the companies destined to form the Courage Group.
The idea of building a brewery in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (as it then was) came from the late John Loughnan, Export Manager of Barclay Perkins & Co., who first put it to his Board in 1950. After much hesitation, due largely to the uncertainties of Middle East politics, at a time when the Sudan’s progress towards independence hung in the balance, the decision to go ahead was taken and work on the construction of the brewery started in September, 1953. The first trial brew was put through in July, 1955 and beer was put on the market on 14th December of that year, just over a fortnight before the country became independent - a coincidence which was duly emphasised in the company’s first publicity.
The brewery stands on part of a fine 26-acre site, leased from the Sudan Government and was originally designed for an output of 25,000 barrels a year - a total which has since been exceeded, when sales have been buoyant, as a result of the installation of more modern plant in the bottling hall.
The company is registered in the Sudan and there are some substantial local shareholders; but two thirds of the capital was provided by Barclay Perkins & Co., so that the Courage Group now holds a controlling interest.
The brewer’s staff and employees are nearly all Sudanese and there have never been more than five “expatriates” in charge. During the sixties there were only four - the Managing Director, the Head Brewer and his Assistant, and the Accountant. The Company Secretary is a Sudanese who was the first member of the staff to be recruited locally, in the very early days of the construction period.
Apart from very small quantities of stout and brown ale, (known locally as “dark beer”), the brewery concentrates entirely on the production of lager beer of the continental type, modelled on the Dutch and German lagers which had captured the greater part of the local market - and created the local taste - in the years immediately after World War II.
The beer was an immediate success and was virtually the first industrial product of the Sudan to achieve a quality closely comparable with that of the imported article. In the early years the problem was not selling the beer but producing enough to satisfy the claimant demand, and in subsequent years sales have only varied with the ups and downs of the Sudanese economy and politics: when times have been good, the brewery has always had to work to capacity and “Camel Beer” - so called from the Company’s well-known camel trade mark - has become an accepted feature of Sudanese life.
Simultaneously, with the brewing of the Sudanese beer came the merger of Barclay. Perkins with Courage. By the time they joined forces with their Bermondsey neighbour in 1955, the Barclay. Perkins concern had undergone a massive twentieth century expansion in cider, lager, in export business, and in public houses throughout greater London. Essex. Kent and Sussex. The combined forces of the two concerns controlled some 2,500 tied houses as well as extensive free trade interests. The merger had a curious personality of its own in that the Courages, and the Barclays, Bevans, and Perkins were still represented by individuals in the Board Room. They were shortly to be joined by another family name already renowned in brewing - that of Simonds.