A History of Lovibond's Salisbury Brewery

From Brewery History Society Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

John Lovibond & Sons Ltd, St Ann’s Brewery, Salisbury By Geoff Martin

The brewery was situated in the Friary on the site of a Franciscan friary founded in 1228. The Grey Friars were resident for about three hundred years. Very few local people would have known Lovibonds as St Ann’s Brewery as it was generally known as the Friary Brewery. Malthouse hessian sacks were marked F M (Friary Maltings) in large letter.

The final staff photograph on closure of St Ann's Brewery in November 1960. Front centre: Mr T Spearing (General Manager), centre right: George Martin (General Foreman), centre left: Len Topp (Chief Clerk), far right: John Pike (Mineral Water Foreman), far left: Joe Pike (Bottling Charge hand), back left: Colin Sainsbury (Yard Checker). Some employees are absent having already left, the lorry drivers, wines and spirits, the carpenter and a few others. Taken in front of a demolished building mainly the toilet block.

Joseph William Lovibond was the son of John Lovibond, the Greenwich Brewer. The Salisbury Brewery was purchased in about 1868 or soon after. He will always be known as the inventor of the Tintometer for the measurement of light and colour, used for the accurate testing in malting, brewing, dyeing, oil refining and water analysis. The Tintometer company’s workshop laboratory was No.1 The Friary in 1896. When vacated to larger premises, the building was used as the mineral water factory until closure in 1960.

Joseph had three daughters, one married J Folliot the Salisbury brewer whose brewhouse only survives as offices in Rollestone Street. When acquired by Ushers the building was used as a depot to supply the large number of Ushers pubs in the Salisbury area. The parts no longer required were used to enlarge the bus station. Born in 1833, he entered the Greenwich Brewery in 1854. When becoming chairman, sharing his working time between Salisbury and Greenwich, being one of the first long time season ticket holders of the LSWR. Elected to the town council for St Martins Ward and Mayor of Salisbury in 1887. On his death in 1918 glowing appreciations were received from Sir Oliver Lodge (of sparking plug fame) and Sir Boverton Redwood Bart. (Government adviser of Technical Investigations).

Succeeded in Salisbury by his nephew Joe Lovibond, taking up residence in Windover House. He drove a wonderful rare Lanchester car. I believe Lanchesters were manufactured by Daimler. Salisbury has five rivers making the water table high. The brewery well was in the cask cellar, when lifting the cover, water level was only 18 inches below floor level. When the pumps were turned on, water would drop a few inches and hold that level all day. A hard water area, the Cornish steam boiler suffered badly from lime scale causing difficulties preparing the boiler for annual insurance inspection. During the 1940s a water softener was installed causing pitting to the steel of the 60 year old boiler. A new vertical cross tube boiler manufactured by Lumbys was installed. Most of the machinery was by J W Flowers (Engineers) of Wimborne, including a cask hoist, bottle filler, crown capper and labeller, the bottle washer (make unknown) was new ten years before closure. Pumps were double action Worthington steam pumps, also a very old single action.

Maltings built on the side of the brewery in 1873, had 4 floors and was approximately 42 yards long by 21 yards wide. I can recall during the war a steam traction engine and trailer loaded with barley was unable to negotiate the narrow Friary Road. The large vehicle parked in St Ann’s Street, sacks of grain were pushed on hand trucks to the malthouse. The malthouse foreman at the time was Frank Moore. Later controlled by Samuel Thompson when the foreman was J Isaac. In August 1924 the resident foreman Henry Martin slipped and fell into a cistern and died.

Government restrictions on commercial vehicles during the war, brought in A B & C license to control mileage. Products transported between Greenwich and Salisbury were carried by John Lampard (later BRS) of West Harnham using Leyland Beavers and AEC Mandators with trailers. They also delivered to Yeovil and Milborne Port. Bert Stag Haulier used Dodge lorries to supply Southampton, Romsey and the village pubs. Lovibond’s own transport on local deliveries consisted of an Austin K2 lorry and Morris Commercial vans plus horse and four wheel dray. Salisbury vehicles were painted green unlike Greenwich which were black. When brewing ceased, transport to London increased. The site was retained for distribution and as a bottling store.

The hop store was still used, storing hops for Greenwich, usually Kent hops the pockets having Invicta symbol printed on them. Pockets pulled through the cask cellar and hoisted up into the first floor store.

Three members of staff were resident within the complex. Mineral water foreman, malthouse foreman and the general foreman who supervised the day to day running and generally carried out mechanical repairs himself.

The Albion, Lovibond's Brewery Tap, Tom Feltham licensee and blacksmith had a workshop near St Ann's Gate. The property has now been converted into a house. I wonder do residents know a brewery horse was once shod in their sitting room.

George Martin, General Foreman, reached retirement on closure in November 1960, after more than forty years service.