Albion Brewery Co. Ltd (Wigan)

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An advert from 1880

Albion Brewery Co. Ltd, Hardybutts, Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Registered in July 1872. In 1891, they acquired the Chester brewery and pub estate of Edward Seller.

Acquired by Threlfall & Co Ltd in 1919 with 11 public houses in the Chester area and 21 in Wigan.

The Wigan properties were sold to Walker Cain Ltd in the 1930s.

Colliers Arms, Wigan:

The Seller family sold their Chester brewery to Albion Brewery Co Ltd of Wigan in 1891. The conveyance was dated 19 June 1891, and the purchase price for ‘the business of Brewers Wine and Spirit and Ale and Porter Merchants heretofore carried on by the firm of Messrs E.R. Seller and Co at the Foregate Street Brewery’ was £24,000.

The Chester brewery was closed – it was offered for sale in 1893 with a restrictive covenant against brewing – and Albion were left with a brewery and a group of pubs in Wigan and a second group of pubs in Chester, with nothing in between.

The Albion Brewery Co Ltd was registered in July 1872. In 1903 the directors were Col. R.A. ffarington (chairman), E.H. Beaman, Dr R. Prosser White, C. Gidlow Jackson, Sam. A. Oliver and G.H. Oliver; in 1906 they were Col. R.A. ffarington (chairman), Dr R. Prosser White, G.W. Nixon, Sam. A. Oliver and G.H. Oliver; in 1914 Dr R. Prosser White (chairman), G.H. Oliver and John Browne (Manual of British & Foreign Brewery Companies 1903, 1906, 1914). It is assumed that ffarington was a banker and local politician.

In 1872, soon after the formation of the company, a local auctioneer announced that he had been instructed by Albion to sell the ‘modern and compact STEAM BREWING PLANT (formerly the plant of Mr. Joseph Craig)’ at Acton’s Court, Scholes, Wigan. It was being sold because it was ‘not sufficiently large enough’ for Albion’s purposes (Wigan Observer, 26 October 1872).

In 1889 a correspondent to the Wigan Observer drew attention to the large number of pubs in the borough that were owned by brewers. There were 136 fully licensed houses and 62 beerhouses altogether, of which 104 and 56 respectively were owned by breweries. Albion was the smallest of the five local breweries, in terms of the number of pubs owned:

Fully Licensed Beerhouses Total
H. Robinson and Co 27 8 35
J. Fairhurst 25 14 39
Oldfield Brewery Co 21 8 29
Thos. Airey 13 14 27
Albion Brewery Co 5 4 9

The Albion houses were:-

  • Green Man, Standishgate
  • Waggon and Horses, Millgate
  • King of Prussia, Hallgate
  • Bay Horse, Hallgate
  • Miner’s Tent, Whelley
  • Raven Inn, Hardybutts
  • Red Lion, Wiend
  • Collier’s Arms, Frog Lane
  • Vine Inn, Caroline Street

(Wigan Observer, 28 August 1889).

According to Neil Richardson, Alan Gall and Jeff Wilson (Wigan’s Pubs 2), the company was reformed and issued a prospectus on 31 December 1898, its directors including ‘a surgeon from Southport, a Wigan doctor, a bank manager, an agent and a mining engineer – not a single practising brewer amongst them’.

The Chester area pubs were sold by auction in May 1919. These were:-

  • Queen’s Head, Foregate Street
  • Ring o’ Bells, Foregate Street
  • Black Lion, Boughton
  • Gardeners’ Arms, Boughton
  • Old Queen’s Head, Foregate Street
  • White Lion, Foregate Street
  • Watergate Inn, Watergate Square
  • Mariners’ Arms, New Crane Street
  • Castle Inn, Nicholas Street
  • White Bear, Lower Bridge Street
  • Coach and Horses, Handbridge

All in Chester

  • Old Trooper Inn, Christleton
  • Greyhound, Saughall
  • Bird in Hand, Guilden Sutton

All in Cheshire

and the Rose and Thistle, Spon Green, Buckley, Flintshire.

All except the Coach and Horses and the White Bear, which were about to lose their licences, were bought as a single block by Threlfall & Co Ltd for £50,000, there being no other bids (Cheshire Observer, 24 May 1919).