Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd

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Bass M&B letterhead 1966
Bass letterheads
Burton Barrel stack
Burton Unions
Burton steam engine
Bass postcar.jpg
Bass artefacts
The Three Pots Inn on the A5 at Hinckley
Bass lantern from the former Castle Tavern in Hinckley
Letter 1962


Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd, 137 High Street, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire


The Bass family were from Hinckley in Leicestershire, where they brewed beer and operated a carrier's business. William Bass (1717–1787) moved to Burton and founded his brewery there in 1777. When William died, his sons Michael Thomas Bass (1760-1827) and William Bass inherited the business. Michael Thomas took sole control of the business in 1795, and in 1796 he entered into partnership with John Ratcliff. At Michael Thomas's death, his son, a second Michael Thomas Bass (1799-1884) took control of the company. This Michael Thomas Bass was MP for Derby from 1848 to 1883. John Gretton became a partner in the company in 1835.

The second (Middle) brewery opened on the north side of Station Street in 1853 and third (New) brewery on the south side of Station Street 1864. The Old Brewery was rebuilt 1884-1885, but most of this brewery was demolished in 1971; the water tower (1866) and offices (1886) survive on the east side of High Street.

Registered 1880 and was reconstructed 13th January 1888. Merged with Worthington & Co. Ltd. January 1927. Merged with Mitchells & Butlers Ltd. 1961 to form Bass, Mitchells & Butlers Ltd.

Merged with Charrington United Breweries Ltd in 1967 to become Bass Charrington Ltd. Brewery demolished in 1971.

Bought by Interbrew in 2000 and sold to Molson-Coors in 2002. Site of Middle brewery still used for brewing in much altered form: the new brewery site retains more of its original buildings.

References: The Capital of Ale by Keith Osborne (2008).

An assortment of images of the brewery

Some images courtesy Steve Peck.

The Crown & Anchor Yard off Castle Street in Hinckley, where the Bass family were brewing in the 18th century:

The second Michael Thomas Bass (1799-1884) was MP for Derby from 1848 to 1883. He presented the central Library to the town, and there are two brass plaques within the entrances marking the occasion. There is also a bust of M T Bass within the Library, and a statue of him in the adjacent Museum Square.




Entry in the Trade Mark Registry

Registration No : 1, 2, 3 & 914
Description : A red triangle and diamond
Date of Application : 01/01//1876
Used Prior to 1875? : Triangle from 1855. Diamond from 1857

Registration No : 21,701
Description : Facsimile signature
Date of Application : 24/12/1879
Used Prior to 1875? : 37 years

Registration No : 21,702
Description : Facsimile signature
Date of Application : 24/12/1879
Used Prior to 1875? : 37 years

Registration No : 383,601
Description : Mild Ale Label
Date of Application : 31/05/1918
Used Prior to 1875? : NO

Registration No : 492,366
Description : Salt & Co Label
Date of Application : 14/06/1928
Used Prior to 1875? : NO