Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Lion Brewery - Little Harwood

The brewery at Little Harwood dated back as far as 1875, when it was called The Little Harwood Brewery Company. In 1878 it was acquired by James Beardsworth and H. S. Whalley. Fourteen years later, in 1892, they sold it on to Alfred Nuttall. By 1897, it had become Nuttall & Company Limited. It remained as such for 30 years, until 1927 when Matthew Brown & Company Limited of Preston took over.

I'm not sure when it became known as the Lion Brewery, but it was certainly called that during Nuttall's reign. Their old embossed bottles had the rampant lion as their trade mark and their mock Jacobean pub, just by the brewery, (The Seven Trees - built circa 1900), had/has the same rearing lion carved into the stonework above the doors and on some of the internal ceramic tiling.


In 1985, the giant Scottish & Newcastle company launched a bid to take over the Lion Brewery, valuing it at 100 million, but as it was believed all they really wanted was to close it down, eliminating some of their competition, it was opposed by many and even led to the forming of The Matthew Brown Preservation Society. Alas, S & N came back with a valuation of 186 million in 1987 and eventually got their way. By 1992 the brewery was closed, 170 or so people made redundant and the rest, as they say, is history. The lion roars no more.
Top and above, two images of the brewery courtesy of Cottontown and the Local Studies Dept. Blackburn Library.

Below are a few artifacts and collectibles, some from my own collection. All the photos will enlarge a bit, if you click on them. 
Carved stonework at The Seven Trees
Close up of one of the ceramic tiles in the Seven Trees pub. I asked the contractors working on the conversion if they could maybe save me one. Sadly, when I went back a week later, they had all been removed and I was told none survived intact.
The oldest labelled bottle I have, Kings Ale, which was a very potent brew. The glass is embossed 'Nuttall's Blackburn' so the bottle pre dates the 1927 Matthew Brown takeover.
Nice little glass, the sort you might have poured your Kings Ale into.
Bar water jug.
Old advertisement from a 1967 Preston North End football programme.
1940's / 1950's glass ashtray.
Metal (copper alloy) sign that was once by the side of many a pub doorway.
Advertising, bar-room display card from the 1940's I think. Not a brew I personally remember, nor do I see where Tom fits into the Lion Brewery story.  Maybe it was just introduced as an answer to Thwaites 'Old Dan' which was a very popular barley wine.
Large stoneware flagon from the days (pre 1927) when it was Nuttall & Co's Lion Brewery.

INFO COURTESY OF MIKE ROTHWELL AND THE INTERNET.
IMAGES COURTESY OF COTTONTOWN (THE TWO PICTURES OF THE BREWERY) AND THE REST, THE CP COLLECTION

104 comments:

  1. I'm not sure about the "Old Dan" bottled beer, but "Old Tom" was only available around Christmas time. Both of them were a strong ale.
    Like you Colin, I haven't a clue where the name Tom came from......Maybe it was the name of the head brewer who originally invented it.

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    1. The reason for the name Old Tom is given on the Pubs in Preston website / blog:

      Click on

      http://pubsinpreston.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/anglers-inn-4-pole-street.html

      Tell all your friends !

      Best wishes, Steve

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    2. Thanks Steve. I'll have a look at the blog when I've a bit more time.

      Kind regards.

      Colin

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    3. my family lived in the large house next the Lion Brewery - 'Boundary Villa' around 1890 - 1900. Do you have any photographs or history on this house? I presume it was the brewery owners house at one time as there was a footbridge from the garden to the brewery yard

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  2. I've had Old Dan myself and also had Kings Ale, but as I say, I don't remember Old Tom. It could have been after the head brewer as you say, or perhaps a dray horse (Thwaites have been known to name a beer after their horses). If anyone knows for sure, I'd be interested.

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  3. There's nothing seasonal about the display card. If it was only available around Christmas time, you would have thought they'd mention it, or at least add a sprig of holly to the design.

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  4. I’ve just had a quick look on Google Colin and apparently Old Dan is still available at £1.65 for a 320ml bottle 7.4 % proof. Although it doesn’t mention anything about it only being available at Christmas I’m pretty sure that was the only time it was originally available (unless it was the only time of the year I could afford it!) I can’t find anything about Old Ben though.
    Yer making me feel old now with these beer bottles Colin. I think I’ll start my own brewery and bottle a beer called “Old John”

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  5. I think Old Dan was a Thwaites strong brew brought out at Christmas, although I have not heard of Old Tom. Duttons did something like that, which I think was called Old'something' too

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  6. The Dutton's brew 'Old Ben' (mentioned above) was a very strong traditional ale, which according to the Dutton's book that was published in 1949 had been brewed by them in the same way since 1799. When they started to bottle 'Old Ben' they re-named it 'Oh Be Joyful' (OBJ).

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  7. Old tom was sold on draught every Christmas from a barrel on the bar. It was a very strong dark ale and as a teenager just starting to drink i remember the landlord restricting me to a couple of halves !! Happy happy days !!

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  8. Thanks for the information. It sounds like it was good stuff.

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  9. Do you have an email address that I could post some pics to you to related to Lion's Brewery?

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  10. Hi - The only way I can do it, is if you post another comment with your e-mail address in it.


    Each comment has to be moderated before publishing, so I wont publish the comment/your e-mail address, but I will then be able to send you my e-mail address directly.

    I always try not to put e-mail addresses on here (unless someone specifically asks me to) to avoid spamming.

    Cheers !

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  11. I would love some pics gents of Lion Brewery as my dad Steve Massey worked there as a Drayman and later on the trunking to Workington, Masham, Carlisle and Newcastle. He worked with Stu Bennison on the Dray and my mother has loads of original Matthew Brown bar heads from the 70,s and 80,s ! My e-mail is archie-leach@hotmail.co.uk. I remember going to a lot of Lion Galas and Do's as a kid, and campaigning to stop the take over from S & N.

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    1. my dad worked their also as engineer...albert riley...i seem to re call your dads name..sorry for interupting..im trying to find any old pics of the protest march regarding the take over from scottish and newcastle

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    2. hi
      worked in the same dept as your dad as an electrician from 1974 till the brewery closed.remember your dad enjoyed his caravan at beacon fell.

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    3. Hi jeff, yes he did enjoy his caravan at beaconfell haha, sadly my dad has passed away now, do you know were I can find pics of the march we went on to try and save the brewery, thanks,, angie

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    4. I have fond memories of working at lion brewery when leaving school in 1960 I worked as a clerk for the chief engineer and used to visit the engineers dept Daly picking up work\material sheets for costing out and your dad Albert in the engineers dept and a chap called mercer in the electricians dept used to play pranks on me being a bit green behind the ears as a school leaver great blokes!

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    5. When I left school in 1960 joined lion brewery and work as a clerk in the engineers dept your dad Albert and a chap called mercer electrician used to play pranks on me when visiting their workshops daily being green behind the ears as a school leaver - also a chap in the boiler room called feldwick did the same - great chaps fond memories.


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    6. My dad, Harold Parkington, worked for Lion Brewery for over 25 years as an area manager.

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    7. Just come across this blog whilst searching for Matthew Brown items. The Mercer electrician was my dad!

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  12. My apologies for not publishing your comment sooner Marcus. The service provider recently changed the lay-out to the blogs and I tend to be missing stuff. I wish they'd have left things alone, as it was easier to navigate before.

    You might find some pics of the brewery on Cottontown.org

    Cheers !

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  13. Happy days and happy memories. Big Stu Benni on the dray ..a sight to behold.. the beard was enough to frighten people to death. Great place to be in the 70's and 80's. Company Surveyor 1972- 92

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  14. Did you know, that the brewery (well part of it) was built over an old Victorian ash pit/dump. After they had demolished the brewery buildings, some local bottle diggers went onto the site and unearthed loads and loads of old Blackburn bottles.

    Even after they had finished their ''excavating'', thinking they had dug all there was to dig (over a few months), when the ground workers for Wimpey Homes moved onto the site, they uncovered hundreds more bottles and pots.

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  15. Hello, I am after a picture of the Seven Trees pub in blackburn and I wondered if you could help me. My dad has his 65th birthday coming up and I want to get him something special. His parents used to be the landlords of said pub and it is where he spent most of his younger years. I don't know specific dates but I would imagine they were there in the 50's. The family name is Walmsley any more info about this. Thanks very much. Amos.

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  16. Hi Amos

    The only photo I have of the Seven Trees is one that John Cox took back in 2008. If you have a look at this video / slideshow at 2:29, it's the same photo >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoDnVRwmKtA

    I haven't seen any earlier photos and the photos on the Facebook pubs groups, are even later than the one above, when the pub had fallen into an even more derelict state.

    I'm sure John wouldn't mind you having a copy of his photo for your dad. If you can't capture it off the screen, I'll be happy to send you a copy of it, as I do have it on a disc somewhere, but I would need an e-mail address to send it to.

    Your e-mail address wont be published here on the site or anywhere else, as there's only me that will see it.

    If your dad happens to have any internal photos of the Seven Trees, I would love to see them.

    Cheers

    Colin

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  17. Wonder if anyone has a set of the monthly "Lion" in house magazine which usually included lots of photos of pubs etc. Barrie Pitt? Bill Livesey? may have them. Full set of photos of all pubs and early photos in estates archives in 1992 .. wonder if they were saved or trashed along with rest of place.

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    1. I may have the full collection of Mathew Brown Pubs all black and white. I used to work with Barry Pitt until he retired.

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  18. Hopefully someone will have saved them. It would be very sad if the archive was trashed. Maybe Scottish & Newcastle have them stored somewhere.

    At the ever increasing speed that pubs are closing and have been closed over the last 15 - 20 years, it would be awful to think they've been lost forever.

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    1. Hopefully, they have been saved, as if you search for Nuttall & Co. on The National Archive website, it says that many documents etc. are in a private collection

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    2. Hi I think I may have the collection rescued from going in the skip. I worked for Scottish & Newcastle with Barry Pitt who I believe commissioned the fabulous black and white photos photos of the Mathew Brown Estate

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  19. got some old bottled beers from lion brewery probably coronation and jubilee stuff plus rum 100 percent all from the old brewery. any thoughts on what to do with them.

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    1. Look out on the rum bottle labels, some from the silver jubile had a spelling mistake or print erro on them.

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    2. Hi , I am a keen collector of Coronation Ales and other royal full bottled ales and will pay a min of £25.00 for any example. Let me know if you still have them. Cheers. Rod

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    3. I have a victory ale bottle and a jubilee ale bottle both by mathew brown

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  20. Well being fond of a drink, as I am from time to time (daily if I'm honest), my first suggestion would be to say 'drink them'.

    But when I sat and thought about it for a moment, the coronation was 1953 and the Silver Jubilee (which is possibly the one you mean) was 1977, maybe drinking them isn't recommended. I'm not sure how long beer keeps.

    I would have thought an unopened bottle of rum would be safe to consume (Google it).

    You could try selling them on ebay, if their rules allow the selling of alcohol.

    To be honest, I see the coronation and jubilee bottled beers quite often, at car-boot fairs and auctions, not just from Lion / Matthew Brown, Thwaites, but from various breweries both local and further afield. They are usually asking in the region of £2 - £3 a bottle. Whether they ever sell them, I couldn't say.

    Your bottle of rum may fair better, I've never seen one for sale, so couldn't comment on its value, but pretty sure it would be of interest to someone.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  21. Hi mate, I wonder if anyone of your group would be interested in a Soda Syphon with the rampant lion etched on and NUTTALL & CO LTD LION BREWERY BLACKBURN. It has the silver coloured metal top too with NUTTALL'S BLACKBURN and some other incised stuff too. Also on the shoulder is a mint label. MATTHEW BROWN SODA WATER LION MINERAL WATER FACTORY BLACKBURN. I presume the bottle itself from around c.1900 - 1910? and then the label added in 1927 on the returned syphon? Just a guess. As mint as you are likely to find. I need £40 for it. Many thanks Wayne Law (Bottle collector) Blackpool wayne.law@btinternet.com

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  22. If anyone is interested in the syphon Wayne is selling, please contact him directly via the e-mail address he has supplied.

    Please be aware that any transaction is strictly between yourself and the seller and neither myself or the site will accept any involvement.

    That said, I know Wayne is a long standing ebay seller with a 100% track record and is a very trustworthy individual.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  23. King's Ale was brewed by Matthew Brown & Co at the Lion Brewery, Blackburn, and was a barley wine (Thwaites brewed Old Dan and Big Ben strong bottled beers). In the 1960s the company also had a bottled IPA, brown ale and stout, as well as the usual draught bitter and mild. Much of the mild was sold in Preston, rather than Blackburn. In the 60s the company, like so many other brewers, began the switch from traditional to keg and canned beers and were running the two types of plant side by side. At the time, Mr Sands was Head Brewer, with Guy Branford as Second Brewer; the bottling plant was managed by a man called Tattersall whose father had the White Bull pub at Wilpshire (which, ironically, I think was a Thwaites or Duttons pub). Matthew Brown also owned a brewery at Cleator Moor in what is now Cumbria.
    Anon

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  24. ...and there's a superb old photo of a Nuttall's steam lorry after an accident, which can be viewed on the One Guy From Barlick web site:
    http://www.oneguyfrombarlick.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=389&t=358&p=61258#p61226
    Anon

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  25. A friend of mine trained at Matthew Brown's as an architect from 1956 and moved with other office staff to Cleator Moor a number of years later. So far as I am aware he ended up as the Company architect, I lived at the top of Coniston Rd from 1950-60 and often enjoyed the aroma as thy hopped the beer.

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  26. Ted
    I have a 32" X 42"etched glass widow in its original sliding framework.
    I has distorted glass with etching detail of the rearing Lion and name. Its in great condition and I enjoy it in my kitchen window every day.
    Was this a common pub style window and are there many around?

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  27. Hi Ted -- If it is the type I'm picturing in my mind, then yes it was a common window. But as windows were replaced in pubs, many were just replaced with plain glass. There's still a few around, but they're getting fewer and fewer as pubs close.

    I'm not sure if you're in Blackburn or nearby, but if you are, the Rising Sun at Wilpshire (across from the Bull's Head) still has some in situ.

    Nice to know you've retained one and are still enjoying it.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  28. Hi, have found two Matthew Brown ceramic large green ashtrays unused. the lion brewery. any know what to sell them for?

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  29. I live in the Duckworth Hall Inn Oswaldtwistle, any stories or pictures would be great, thanks

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  30. Sorry, but I don't know much at all about the Duckworth Hall pub. Someone else looking in may have some info. Accrington library would probably be your best bet to get some information.

    As for your ashtrays, not worth very much, if they're the type I'm thinking of. There's still a lot around. Ebay would be your best guide as to their value, they do come up on there from time to time. You're looking at a couple of quid each.

    I think I have one under my sink, with some older MB / Lion ashtrays.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  31. Hi There ,just come across your very interesting web site.As the owner of abottle of Lion rum ,with the incorrect spelling on the label. This was given to us in the Queens Hotel in Leyland by Barrie Pitt around the time of the Jubilee 1977 and he was the new area manager.Often wondered how many survived.Ours remains intact.

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    1. Hi we have two bottles of lion jubilee rum. Barrie Pit Brought them to my parents pub in great Harwood. Commercial hotel.

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  32. I'm not sure I've ever seen a bottle of rum from Lion. I've seen (empty) bottles from Dutton's on ebay from time to time, but not Lion.

    As to how many survived, I wouldn't have a clue.

    Regards

    Colin

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  33. does anyone know the recipe for Matthew Brown bitter and mild before the closure? what hops were used and was invert sugar part of the recipe?

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    Replies
    1. You might be better off going onto Facebook, looking up and joining the Lion Brewery group on there. It was set up by ex employees and one of them may be able to help you.

      Good luck !

      Colin

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  34. I have a collection of old dutton brewery bottles I got from uncle.

    They are all embossed with writing and I believe they are hard to come by nowadays.

    if anyone is interested in buying them please email me at Chris060278@gmail.com.

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    1. Lion Brewery pubs , if the landlord said the bitters finished I am putting on a new barrel , like most drinkers of the golden elixir I would think let him pull a few pints off before I order another one and would request the most exquisite bottled beer of all time as a fill gap , PINT CHRYSTAL , I have since discovered FURSTY FERRET which is the nearest drink to LION BITTER I HAVE TASTED ! .

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  35. I would be interested in buying the copper ( alloy ) Lion Ales sign with the Rampant Lion and 4 screw fixing holes must be in perfect condition , state your price , please . ( e mail : david@ jonathangibb.co.uk ) . David George.

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    1. I have one prestige condition sits next to my bar and duke box however not for sale brings back fond memories of my time at lion brewery and my first sweet heart initials MM who worked in the accounts dept

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  36. greyhound hotel , whitehead st , Blackburn , Archie Scoles mine host , Xmas brew ' Old Tom or Dan ' on sale , me a bitter drinker gets the nod from Fred Astley to ask for a pint of mild , does as instructed and receives a pint of this strong ale , looking round the bar every other drinker as a pint of dark ale , not a bitter or a bottled beer to be seen , with this Archie decides to sample the mild and finds out his mistake of connecting the Special to the Mild

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  37. Pineapple , Johnston St , Billie Joe ( Little Terrier Dog ) sat on vault door step , after lunch time closing , lady picks it up and runs it upto Downham St , it's home and also that of Bob West it's owner , he says to the lady " you're going to be getting me abad name hanging round pubs when I am not having a drink there " with this the lady laughed and said " as if anyone would think that about you Mr West " . I had many a drink with Bob and sat in his company at his home , just across the road from me , he used to relate to his days on the police force and some of his exploits ! .

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  38. Bob West former policeman and patron of two Lion locals in the Johnston st area , while having a drink with him in the Greyhound , I asked what the history was between himself and Fred Astley , which was apparent ! . He related to when he was on the 'Force' working nights and going round businesses ' Snecking ' this was checking that the back doors of these properties were locked etc , a number of these calls to be made were Pubs . The landlord would leave him a gill of beer covered with a beer mat for his consumption , but this particular night Fred decided to empty Bobs glasses before him , Bob finds out from a fellow drinker that Fred had been bragging what he had done , waiting his opportunity he catches Fred making his way home the worse for drink and handcuffed him to some railings , until he finished his shift , by the way it was pouring down heavily that night ! .

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  39. Mum cleaned at Lloyds Bank of a evening and left me in the care of my grandma until she had finished work . Gran used to go down from her house in Denville St to the Shoulder of Mutton at the corner of Blakey St ( known for its mission ) , she would come back with a jug of beer , thrust the poker in the open fire until it started to glow then plunged it into the jug of beer telling me " it will put hairs on your chest " . She would then pore me a cup and say " Enjoy " , I did just that and being introduced to the delight of beer at the age of 6 probable cultivated my taste for later years , although Duttons was to prove my least favourite of the 3 local brewers ! . I would always ask for pint of ' LIGHT MILD ' in a Dutton house due to it not being as sweet as their bitter , not all Blackburn pubs kept it , but it seemed more popular at tied houses outside ' The Hub ' .

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  40. Cheethams Arms , corner of Arthur Stand Lawrence St , group of us 14/15 year olds , copper up between us to get a bottle to take out , I am the biggest slit is decided that I am the most likely tobe served . I enter ask for a Cream Top the landlord puts it on the bar top minus cap with a glass , all my mates are looking through the window in the door while I pour it and start to drink, at this time my uncle Dick Chapman walks in says to me " if your mum catches you in here etc " he tells me to drink up and get out and tells the landlord that I am only 14 years of age , several weeks later at my sisters wedding reception he was told off by my mum for buying me drink at my early age , Devine justice I think .

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  41. Forrests Arms , Wensley Fold , lunchtime drink , a old chap is holding court and entertaining all present with his repartee , I had only seen him occasionally previously because he seemed to frequent the Bank Top Boozers ! . He always wore the dark servicemans beret TOMMY FITZMAURICE WAS HIS NAME , anyway this particular afternoon he gets on about the Guards military band and the precision of their music and marching , so the next thing he does is gets his back against the bar , using his heel as the base drum , his hands as the side drums his mouth as the instruments as well as the Regimental Sgt Major proceeds to put on his own military tattoo to the amusement of all present barring Old Arthur ( Winkie ) the Landlord , who was having to catch everything that wasnot fastened down behind the bar .I would be 19 or 20 and never saw Tommy Fitz again after this matinee .

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  42. Forrests Arms Wensley Fold , Landlord Joe Henderson , keeps poultry in back yard of pub , boils eggs , pickles them and sells them from a big jar on the bar in the vault .

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  43. Continueation of previous letter ::: Alan Pickup a regular and a absolute comedian decides to play a prank on Joe

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  44. Continued:: by replacing the hens eggs with pot eggs . He recruits the lads with ' PENS ' to loan the pot eggs and proceeds to swap them at every opportunity . Joe becomes perturbed because when he has boiled the eggs he can't get the shell off to pickle them , so starts to ask if there is any reason for this . He gets told by Alan that it is due to them eating grit and that he should keep a bucket of sand in the yard instead , Joe does this and the eggs return to normal , he was never the wiser.

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  45. Forrest Arms , Wensley Fold , Joe Henderson Inn Keeper , me and Jimmy Hounslow walk in from having spent some time on the PENS and slaughtered six or eight hens , that had been plucked and where in buckets . Joe asks have they been cleaned out , I told him no and that I let my mum clean them out , for this she kept the innards which she stewed up for our dog . Joe said give me one here and I will show you how to clean and prepare them for the oven , so joe pulls the neck out , cuts off the head saves the neck , cuts it pulls out all of the innards and then stresses that this is the secret of cleaning poultry , not to wash it with running water but to dab it gently with a moist cloth . With this he gives us the hen back and stressed that this was the hygienic way to do it so as not to introduce any bacteria from the running tap water ! . Point taken but the next moment he is wiping the bar top with the same cloth without having washed it out ! . Another memory is of the BELLING PIE HEATER ON THE BAR which was turned off at night with the Hollands spuddies ,meaties and steaks left in overnight and switched on and reheated the following day , OH FOR THE OLD ALE HOUSES OF THAT BYGONE ERA ???????? .

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  46. A name that occurs from time to time as regards the pub scene of days gone by is ART WADE , is this Arthur Wade senior or junior from Edmundson Streeet , Blackburn ? . My e mail address is david@ jonathangibb.co.uk I am domiciled in Scotland now .

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  47. Jimmy Hounslow and I used to buy Cobb Caponised Cockerell Chicks from Longridge Poultry Auction , we would keep them on pens at the back of Livingston Road , where we would grow them on and then slaughter them , prepare them for the oven , put them in cardboard boxes and drop them off at the local pubs for the land lord to RAFFLE THEM OFF , we used to get £1.10 shillings for them , but if you sold them to a housewife you only drew a Quid ! . That 10 bob meant 7 pints of bitter , so you kept the Inn Keepers as happy as possible .
    I remember one Christmas Eve and Jimmy , Alan Holmes and my self where in The Forrest Arms , chickens , ducks and geese all distributed to our customers for the various Xmas Dinners , fully paid up , and ready for a good drink , we are into our second pint when I said to them both I took a order for a goose from Nick and Mavis Williamson from Addison St . We had not got anything left to take round , so we started asking the other poultry keepers had they a goose left over ? . No , No ,No everyone we asked , the Williamsons where very good friends of mine and the last thing I wanted to do was let them down , July John AKA John Lockley ( July John due to when you asked him about repairing his fences between your pen and his , he would promise that it would be carried out in July ! , when the mills closed for the Wakes Weeks ? . ) says he has some geese in a greenhouse on the Pleasington St Pens . So off we go Booted and Suited , searching in the pitch black for a glasshouse with geese in it , they heard us and we followed the noise , picking out a good bird we gave it the final rights plucked it , much to the delight of its noisy companions . Itook it round to Mavis and Nicks and was asked if my ears where burning due to them thinking they would be on sardines instead of goose , I made my appology and said I wanted to be sure that their bird was the freshest , that's why it was still warm , if it had been any fresher it would have still been breathing .

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    1. Hi I have just come across this article and your wording. Nick and Mavis Williamson were my Grandparents, sadly no longer with us. So lovely seeing their names pop up! and reading your story!!

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  48. Most of the pubs round the Wensley Fold area had the personage to the degree that you did not need the services of a Vet , dog men : Dick Taylor or Bob ( Doc ) Rhodes , pigeon men galore , poultry men , rabbit men , budgie / exotic birds you name it the answers were there to any problem with any animal . These people would come round to your pen or house to help you with any ailment or injury , nothing was to much , everybody helped one another .

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  49. St Peters School , Byrom St , 1957 to 1960 , i was a pupil at the old ' PARISH ' school , and happy days they were , straight away to basics and yet in my life essentials at that time of growing from a boy to a young man ready for the rigours of a working life , SCHOOL DINNERS , made on the school premises to the same goodness and taste that my mum made for us . The gym was opposite the kitchen , so it was goodbye LEE MARVIN ( Mr Sharples ) the gym teacher and straight across to one of the open windows to ask one of the Dinner Ladies " WHAT'S FOR DINNER " , cheese and onion pie , meat pie , mash , peas , cabbage , dessert never got it we used to get pudding rice pudd with rosehip syrup or steamed college pudd . A different feast everyday and all for half a crown ( 12 I/2 pence ) a week , second helpings and thirds for the other gluttons , one pupil called Vacher , a farmers son from over Rishton way I think , had the nickname of Vacher the Vulture , he would eat everything that his schoolmates were leaving , and would be still on with is dinner while others were on with pudding they would say they had eaten enough and offer him the leftovers which he scooped on his plate mixing custard and gravy along with mash and steamed pudding ! . When he stripped down for PE he was like a little muscle man due to his labours on the farm , up milking at 6.00 a m , cleaning out , breakfast , school , back working on the farm after school , he needed that high input of food to sustain him as a underaged farm labourer . Don't think he would have sustained that life style on today's excuse for School Dinners .

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  50. Rear of Livingstone Road , Blackburn , allotments and pens provided courtesy of the local council authority for the public for only a few pence a week . I had one of these ' STEVE MCQUEENS ' A GREAT ESCAPE from the humdrum of life in the norm ! , on one side I had Bob Eastham the Cobbler , who's original shop was on the corner of Denville St and Blakey St , opposite the DUTTONS HOUSE ' THE SHOULDER OF MUTTON ' He would tell all and sundry , either on the allotment he kept or in is then shop that was situated at the transition between Johnston St ending and Downham St beginning , that when my mum was carrying me as a big un born bump ! , she had to take me into his shop on my birth and he would make me my first pair of clogs , this out of respect for what her mother had done for the community over the years . My grandma was Mrs Place of Snig Brook / Denville St , who brought babies into the world by the dozens and also helped to send them to the next world at the other end of their lives , along with administering first aid and long term care for people unable to pay for the services of the doctor or midwife in those days prior to the N. H . S ??????? . According to my mum if anybody had a shortfall of tea , sugar , milk , butter etc it was always nip round to Mrs Place and borrow some . Bob Eathams allotment at that time was very neglected due to the age and physical well being of the man , but was over run with heads of rhubarb which he would cut and take away from time to time the remainder being allowed to grow and goto seed , hence the vast quantities the following season ! . In front of my pen was Jim Hounslow snr , father of mate Jimmie , he was a pigeon racer who always had very attractive laying hens running about . Behind it the infamous JULY JOHN , Iwill leave it at that . I kept bantams , hens , ducks and geese on my pen all of which where inthe peak of condition and laying eggs in vast quantities , I supplied a good number of people on the way home from the pen or friends of my mothers . Any surplus eggs be they the smallest of bantam eggs or whatever where always bought by Mrs Ann Slater of Downham St due to her and husband Brian having a family of 10 children , so where welcome . The reason for this bonanza of eggs was due to my uncle Dick Chapman working for Prests Bakery on Preston New Road , and dropping off bags of loaves of fresh Malt Bread that had become misshapen in the manufacturing process , I should have laid vast amounts of eggs because the Malty was still warm and incredible fresh that I also consumed it by the bag full ! . This saved me going home for a meal at weekend , malt bread , boiled eggs and fresh goats milk , didn't mention I always kept goats .

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  51. A good watering hole further afield was the Rishton Working Mens Club , Commercial St , steward Bob McGee , all male domain , the only women allowed had to be serving drinks behind the bar . Bob kept every beer available up to the highest standard due to the clientele ( Boozers ) being there for the ale and company but no other reason . It would be better named the ' Glue Pot ' because if you called in for a swallow to wash the dust away , you seemed to get stuck there lots longer than intended due to the delight that was on tap , I did lots of work over Rishton and would callin for ' One ' ,only to arrive home late and told my tea was probably dried up in the oven . Self made cheese on toast for a late tea or early supper and a flea in your ear from the better half .

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  52. Watering holes further a field . When I lived in Blackburn I used to go over to Cheetham Hill to buy in trading stock that I sold among the building trade fraternity , nice little earner ! . On the way back we would call in at a pub between Bolton and Darwen , Cross Guns or Cross Keys , they had a fine selection of beers on from the micro breweries and I would ask the drinkers present what was their recommendation of the best bitter beer on offer , I would order a pint and a pub lunch for the better half , I was never disappointed with any of the brews I tried , but one that i was asked to try miffed me it was not at all my type of drink , being used to a top and a lively bodied drink , I find myself with this Flat pint with no sparkle or bubbles , I stood at the bar and said that you had never recommended a bad drink before , but was thinking there's a first time for everything! , i take a sip , then a mouthful and eventually a big Swally , it was one of the most tasty bitter beers I had ever tasted , it was from a Norfolk brewery Bishops Mitre , Bishops Finger , Bishops SOMETHING ???? , not to be compared with LION BITTER , but a taste and a drink of unusual quality . Do you or any of your reader / contributors know this Ales correct name and brewer ???? .

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  53. Bishops Finger brewed by Shepheard Neame of Kent , looked the names up on my I Pad and like magic , up comes the relevant info . I have only had my electric box of tricks for over a year and it never ceases to amaze me with the amount of informed knowledge you can obtain from it so simply without being a TECHNO WHIZZ KID ! , if I had been in possession of one of these at St Barnabas's in the 1950s I may have passed my 11 plus and gone to QUEGS and then university , finished up working in banking for JP MORGAN'S ! . Then again I am glad that the I Pad was something that came along at the end of my 60 s because I would never have met all the lads in the building trade and been a much worse person for the lack of those experiences . Be it working for the Council , Private Contractors or myself at later date these characters manifested themselves left , right and centre , every one with a political , religious or ethical view on something and at times quite willing to voice it , but not to the point where it became offensive to others of a differing outlook . Over the years I worked with some tough and uncompromising men who would talk about anything and everything but one thing that seemed TABBOO was their intimate side of life with their wives and was never raised , the younger end would talk familiarly about this present girlfriend or relationship , but they changed as they got older and settled down in life . A unwritten law of the workplace was never to say anything about another mans wife or in a dispute spit out at anybody , be it at their feet or otherwise this was a challenge that nearly always resulted in fisticuffs right away and not at dawn , needless to say whatever the outcome of these set to's no one ever witnessed anything , the Cosa Nostra had its code of silence so had the building trade and low behold any one who broke that code! .

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  54. Disappointed my last letter failed to be printed for all to see , can't think of anything controversial that it had to be binned .Explanation would bein order so as to know what is and is not acceptable for these columns ??????????????????? .

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  55. Impossible to comment on something I haven't seen. Maybe your last 'letter' failed to arrive in my inbox. As moderator I can't approve something I haven't even seen.

    These blogs get inundated with spam, up to 25 per day, that have to be deleted, as they ALWAYS contain a link that is usually a virus. There is a slight chance your message might have been inadvertently deleted by mistake, especially if there was a link of some sort in it, but I doubt it was. Some days I'm in a rush when sifting through the comments, trying to decide what is spam and what isn't, but even so I'm usually very careful not to delete genuine comments.

    I sometimes delete comments that have no relevance to this blog (a look at Blackburn's past), but I don't recall deleting anything like that within the last fortnight.

    Your message about eating pies on some Scottish football terrace had very little relevance to Blackburn's past, save for a brief mention about Hollands pies (made in Baxenden by the way, not Blackburn) and that was 'approved' which sort of demonstrates my tolerance and flexibility, but if I do receive comments that have nothing whatsoever to do with the theme of the blog, they will indeed be 'binned'

    I hope that clarifies things for you.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  56. Being a BLACKBURNIAN domiciled up here in Scotia found it rather alarming to be cut off from my comfort foods , Hollands Meat and Potato ( Spuddies ) Pies , and Lancashire Eccles Cakes , so my mention of these on a regular basis even though they are not actual Blackburn manufactured products , stresses the fact that they are a actual and factual part of my HOME TOWN LIFE and thus constitute my reasons for reference to them . I hope this is a acceptable explanation .

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  57. WANTED , WANTED , WANTED :: ORIGINAL ' LION ALES SIGN WITH RAMPANT LION ' ( Copper Alloy ) with 4 fixing holes , must be in ' PERFECT CONDITION ' :: £60.00 plus postage paid . Can exchange for BLACKBURN ROVERS MEMORABILIA if you wish .

    DAVID GEORGE .
    E Mail Address :::::::::::::
    david@jonathangibb.co.uk

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  58. Colin , I am unable to find adequate information on the concept of the ' BEERHOUSE OR ALEHOUSE outlets , could you please enlighten me as regards what constituted such premises ? .

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  59. David -- Wikipedia entry below.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Nineteenth-century brewery

    The Beerhouse Act 1830 (11 Geo 4. and 1 Will 4. c. 64) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which liberalised the regulations governing the brewing and sale of beer. It was modified by subsequent legislation and finally repealed in 1993. It was one of the Licensing Acts 1828 to 1886.[1]

    The precursor to the Beerhouse Act was the Alehouse Act 1828 (9 Geo.4 c.61), which established a General Annual Licensing Meeting to be held in every city, town, division, county and riding, for the purposes of granting licences to inns, alehouses and victualling houses to sell exciseable liquors to be drunk on the premises.[2]

    Enacted two years later, the Beerhouse Act enabled anyone to brew and sell beer on payment of a licence costing two guineas (£2.10 in decimal currency, not adjusted for inflation). The intention was to increase competition between brewers,[3] and it resulted in the opening of hundreds of new beerhouses, public houses and breweries throughout the country, particularly in the rapidly expanding industrial centres of the north of England.[4][nb 1] According to the Act itself, the Parliament considered it was "expedient for the better supplying the public with Beer in England, to give greater facilities for the sale thereof, than was then afforded by licences to keepers of Inns, Alehouses, and Victualling Houses."[2]

    The Act's supporters hoped that by increasing competition in the brewing and sale of beer, and thus lowering its price, the population might be weaned off more alcoholic drinks such as gin.[5] But it proved to be controversial, removing as it did the monopoly of local magistrates to lucratively regulate local trade in alcohol, and not applying retrospectively to those who already ran public houses. It was also denounced as promoting drunkenness.[6]

    By 1841 licences under the new law had been issued to 45,500 commercial brewers.[6] One factor in the Act was the dismantling provisions for detailed recording of licences, which were restored by subsequent regulatory legislation: the Wine and Beerhouse Act 1869 and the Wine and Beerhouse Act Amendment Act 1870.[2] The Bill itself was often amended, notably in 1834 and 1840.[7]

    The final remaining provisions of the Act were repealed by Parliament on 11 November 1993, by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1993 (1993 c. 50), s. 1(1), Sch. 1 Pt. XIII GroupI.[8][9] The passage of the Act during the reign of King William IV led to many taverns and public houses being named in his honour; he remains "the most popular monarch among pub names".[10]

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  60. Colin , thanks for info , fascinating , I wonder if the BEERHOUSE ACT was brought about. due to the poor condition of the drinking water available or where there other deeper political reasons , such as using beer as a ' Opium Of The Masses ' to subjugate the populace at this time of unrest all over the Continent , like I said FASCINATING.

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  61. Colin , my ad for the Lion Brewery Sign as not been reproduced in your columns any reason why ? .

    David George .

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    1. David -- You need to start reading comments instead of just sending them. If you scroll up this thread, you will see your ad for the Lion's sign is there. It's the one that starts WANTED WANTED WANTED. Published / approved on 5th July (today is the 9th July).

      regards

      Colin

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  62. Colin , sorry but iti s all a new technology to me is this Electric Highway , and if it's not under my nose info wise , panic stations set in ! , and I have a tendency to react rather than rationalise .

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  63. Colin , seems to be little for you to have to cast your eye over as regards contributors since my last letter ( 9/7/15 ) , I appreciate having been able to read certain contributions from other scribes , but without constructive interaction the project leaves a lot to be desired .

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  64. I just bought a brewery barrel that has engraving around the bung hole "Lion Brewery Blackburn." But it also has stamped on the end in big letters Theakston Mash. Any one have any idea of what I have here? Bought it in California of all places.

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  65. Various LION BREWERY BOTTLE LABELS advertised , namely RABBIT AND ' S ' ALE , what can you tell me about these brews ? , because I am totally unaware of these products .

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  66. Update of advert for LION BREWERY SIGN £100.00 + p and p , or exchange for Blackburn Rovers F C Memorabilia !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

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  67. WANTED , WANTED , WANTED : 1 PINT GLASS WITH ' LION BREWERY ' NAME AND RAMPANT LION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

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  68. Wanted any rare memorobilia related to The Plough Gt Harwood, also will consider Lion memorobilia too

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  69. Hi I have some old (empty) embossed dutton brewery and lion brewery bottles as well as others.

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  70. Does anyone have any information or photo of a now demolished Lions Brewery pub called Bird i'the Hand on Grane Road? Thank you.

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    1. Hi Patricia I have a full collection of all or most of the Mathew Brown estate so I will take a look

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  71. What's a Nuttall's tray (c.1915) worth?

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  72. It would all depend on the condition, its rarity and how much someone is prepared to pay. I doubt there is a fair estimate, eBay would be your best gauge.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  73. Hello , I do house clearances in Lancashire and came across a full unopened bottle of rum I am uploading the pics to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/houseclearance9/ if you want to take a look if its something colectors might like

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  74. Hello, in need of some advice if possible. My Grandfather was Henry (Harry) Frederick Horn and was landlord at The Wheatsheaf and later The Victoria Hotel (as known as The Whittle Springs), in Blackpool. Both were Matthew Brown / Lions Pubs. Was wondering on the off chance that someone may know where any records may remain. Pensions, employment etc etc. I have an idea of the dates he was there (50's through to about 1980) but would like to know specifically. ANY help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Dave

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    1. Dave, you would probably be better off asking on the Facebook group 'Matthew Brown Lion Brewery'. There will be more activity and visitors on there, than there is on here. Regards.

      Colin

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  75. I've just been removing weeds and over grow plants etc just found a clear bottle with lion and Blackburn on it any idea what year

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  76. I've just been removing weeds and over grow plants etc just found a clear bottle with lion and Blackburn on it any idea what year

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  77. Without seeing it Paul, it's pretty difficult to say. But if it is clear glass, it will probably have been a mineral water / pop / fruit juice bottle. (Beer would come in dark green or brown normally). ''Clear'' glass up until the 1920s - 1930s would have a green tint to it (soda glass), so if your find is clear like milk bottle glass, it will probably be later than the 1930s and more than likely will be from the 1950s / 1960s or even later than that.

    Regards.

    Colin

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  78. Hi, my uncle worked at lion brewery as a bottle washer.

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  79. My Mum has a boxed bottle of very special old Demerara rum (unopened) aged 16 years to commemorate 150 years of Matthew Brown, if anyone wants it and would make a good offer she might part with it. My Dad got it from a landlord who was retiring - my Dad was one of the stock takers at the Lion Brewery. Fred Watson.

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