Cheers! Let's get together to meet old friends from Norwich's breweries
PUBLISHED: 10:18 05 May 2014
It's time for former colleagues to toast each other when brewery workers, men and women, gather in Norwich later this month for a reunion... and this is your invitation to attend.
“We would like to see as many people as possible. It is good to keep in touch,” said one of the organisers Richard Little, who spent a lifetime working in Norwich breweries.
“There was a special bond of friendship between the brewery workers. It was more a way of life than just a job,” said Richard.
It was almost 30 years ago, in 1985, when Norwich Brewery closed with the loss of around 100 jobs. At the end of April that year brewing had come to an end but the other departments remained on the site. By 2005 it had all gone.
“The reunion is not just for Norwich Brewery workers but for everyone who worked in the industry over the years,” he added.
Remember these brews?
atney Mann Ltd was formed in 1958 by the amalgamation of Watney Combe Reid & Co Ltd and Mann, Crossman & Paulin Ltd. Some companies joined the group as it went nationwide. It employed more than 20,000 people.
Watney Mann (East Anglia) Ltd: Brewing took place on the Pockthorpe Brewery site in Norwich since the 14th century. In 1844 the business was bought by the Morgan family; after war damage it was rebuilt and later, in 1961, acquired by Watney Mann.
Remember these Watney Mann Group Beers?...
■ Red Barrel
■ Special Bitter
■ Special Mild
■ Star Light
■ Pale and Brown Ale
■ Export Gold
■ Party Four and Party Seven - large take-home cans.
Kett’s Finale, brewed in 1985, was the last beer packaged on the old Morgan’s Brewery site in King Street, Norwich. It was described as a tribute to the skill of the Norfolk brewers.
When it comes to brewing. Norwich has much to be proud of.
In 1783 there were nine breweries serving a population of around 35,000. By 1836 this had grown to 27 but slowly the smaller breweries were disappearing, taking with them many local beers. By the 1920s the big players controlled the business: Steward & Patteson, Bullards, Morgans, Youngs and Crawshay and Youngs.
The days of the beer barons, men who played a leading role in the commercial and civic life of the city, were gone.
Keg beers, lagers and the like arrived in the 1960s. The old family businesses were disappearing. Watney Mann emerged as top dog becoming Norwich Brewery at what was the old Morgan’s brewery in King Street where it operated until it closed.
The reunion for all brewery workers in Norwich over the years is taking place at Arkwrights Club at the city end of Hall Road on Friday May 30 from 7.30pm. And if you have any memories or photographs to share of life in the breweries drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.