Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd
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 1876, 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.
- Phillips & Marriott Ltd of Coventry were acquired in 1924 and closed.
- Merged with Worthington & Co. Ltd in January 1927. In the same year they also took over Thomas Salt & Co. Ltd of High Street, Burton-upon-Trent, and closed that brewery.
- James Eadie Ltd of Cross Street, Burton-upon-Trent, was taken over in 1933 and closed.
No 1 brewery opened 1968 and the Old or No 3 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).
The brewery features in The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland by Alfred Barnard published 1890.
An assortment of images of the brewery:
The brewery in the 1960s:
The New Brewery, demolition 1987:
The Bass Museum:
The Crown & Anchor Yard off Castle Street in Hinckley, where the Bass family were brewing in the 18th century:
A plaque commemorating the birth of William Bass is displayed at 67 Castle Street, Hinckley: