We were recently contacted by the archivist from Cumbria Archive Service to ask if we would be able to take in a hefty couple of share members’ ledgers relating to the Crown Brewing Company of Bury; they were duly delivered to us by courier and we added them to our existing collection of the company’s records. All that ale must have made the clerks who handled these ledgers super strong i’th’ arm! These volumes are seriously weighty!
The company was registered in 1861 as the Bury Co-operative Brewing & Distilling Company Ltd, changing its name to the Crown Brewing Co. in 1866.
The brewery and its offices were located in Rochdale Road, Bury.
The company was acquired by Dutton’s of Blackburn in 1959, at which point it controlled some 127 tied houses*.
Dutton’s in turn was taken over by Whitbread’s in 1964.
The records we hold cover the period up to 1964 and were originally held by the Whitbread Group Archives. The company dispersed their archives in 2001 – we received records relating to Crown Brewing Co and also Richard Seed & Co Ltd, brewers of Radcliffe. Cumbria archives must have received the Crown Brewing share members’ ledgers from Whitbread during the transfers.
Together these collections hold a substantial amount of fascinating information charting the history of the brewing industry in Bury and Radcliffe. Below is just some of the material from both collections.
When Dutton’s took over in 1959, Crown was the only remaining brewery in Bury and employed more than 60 workers. A report in the Bury Times on 8th August 1959 stated that some of the workers would be offered positions by Dutton’s but some, sadly, would have no job at all. A compensation payment of £25,000 was proposed by Dutton’s which would be distributed between the employees paying particular attention to workers with long service.
For a full listing please check out our archive catalogue – entering catalogue Ref BCB (for Crown) and BRS (for Richard Seed & Co.).
*a tied house is a public house required to buy at least some of its beer from a particular brewery or pub company. That is in contrast to a free house, which is able to choose the beers it stocks freely. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tied_house