by Bev Parker
|One of Penn Common's most distinctive landmarks,
which nearly everyone will know, is the old Penn Brewery. Although the brewery remained in use for
around forty years, comparatively little is known about it.
As far as I am aware, only one image of the original brewery
survives, and this on an old postcard.
The only known image of the
brewery, which can be seen in the background with its
pitched roof and tall chimney.
The old brewery, now a residential
|The Brewery was built in 1860 by John Millard who lived
about a mile and a quarter away at Netherby House, on Gospel
End Road. It stood where Caswell Road is today, and is
commemorated by the adjacent Netherby Road.
John Millard is listed in the 1881 census as a farmer and
maltster with 75 acres of land. He employed three men and a
maltster, and lived with his wife Mary, his daughter Ellen,
his niece Esther, a live-in housemaid, and a kitchen maid.
On the opposite side of Gospel End Road was his malthouse. A
lot of barley was grown in the area, so it is possible that
John Millard grew the barley for use in his malthouse where
it would have been germinated on the floor, then roasted to
prevent further growth. The malted barley was then sold to
|It seems likely that he wanted to expand his malting
business by brewing beer himself. The site chosen for the
brewery stands above an area of old red sandstone which
allows water to percolate through it, and is porous enough
to store large quantities below the surface.
is in a hollow with a hill on either side, so due to
gravity, trapped water will appear at the surface in
springs. The water is of a high quality, and can easily be
obtained in large quantities from a suitable well.
The brewery had a chequered history, always struggling to
compete with the larger, more mechanised breweries. From
1872 it was run by Thomas Fox Allin, and in October 1887
became a limited company; Penn Brewery Company Limited in
order to acquire the business of Williams and Empson.
In 1888 it became Hall & Haden's Penn Brewery with V. E.
Heathcote as manager, and in 1897 took over William Harper's
brewery in Dudley.
Looking up the hill, past the brewery,
Looking at the brewery from the west.
|Later that year it became a take-over victim itself when
the Burton Brewery Company acquired the business.
August 1899 it was sold to Wolverhampton District Brewery
Limited, then acquired by Ansell's, and within a short while
Although the hollow in which the brewery sat provided an
excellent water supply, the steep hill on either side was
difficult for the heavily laden drays to negotiate.
|After closure the brewery building was acquired by James
Lakin and turned into a private residence. The original
pitched roof was removed, castellations and decorative
features were added, and the brewery's tall chimney
demolished. In 1903 the Lloyd Roberts buildings were added
to the south eastern side of the original tower, where the
single storey brewery building once stood. The building is
named after William Lloyd Roberts, one of the supporters of
the original golf course and tenant of the Barley Mow from
1891 until 1896.
A final view of the brewery with the Lloyd
Roberts buildings on the left.
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