Chelmsford Brewery (Wells & Perry) Ltd
Chelmsford Brewery (Wells & Perry) Ltd, 26 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex.
Founded 1793 as Bird, Hawkes & Woodcock.
Registered June 1890 to acquire Wells & Perry.
Acquired by Taylor, Walker & Co. Ltd. 1934 with 72 public houses.
Brewery demolished 1936.
From ESSEX BREWERS - The Malting and Hop Industries of the County by Ian P Peaty 1992 now out of print ISBN 978 1 873966 02 4
The brewery was founded in 1793, at 26, Duke Street with the title of Bird, Hawkes and Woodcock, Common Brewers. Thomas Hawkes was the Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, brewer, whose grandson bought a brewery in 1836 at Home Lane, Bedford, later selling it to Henry Collings Wells in 1851, he sold it to Piggot in 1862. This brewery was then bought by Charles Wells in 1875 and is the beginnings of the brewery of that name.
The Duke Street premises were rebuilt in 1812 by Joseph Woodcock and Hodges, who were in partnership, being joined in 1819 by a Mr Wells. The Directors were Joseph Wells; Henry Collings Wells, J.P.; Frederick Wells; William Woodcock Wells and Thomas Herbert Ridley. Mr T. H. Ridley who was born at Hartford End on 9th August, 1845, was the son of Mr T. D. Ridley, the founder of the Hartford End Brewery. Thomas Herbert Ridley married Lydia Wells, the daughter of William Collings Wells, he died on 25th April, 1894, at sea.
Dorothy Jane Wells, the daughter of Frederick Wells married William Perry Newport Ridley, a grandson of T. D. Ridley (see:- Ridley & Sons Ltd. Mabel Parker Wells, the daughter of William Woodcock Wells, married another grandson of T D Ridley, Mr Gerald Lorimer Newport Ridley. Clearly a very close relationship between the two rival Chelmsford breweries! After Mr Hodges' death on 2nd March, 1840, in his 67th year, the tithe was changed to Wells and Perry (William Woodcock Wells being joined by Isaac Perry).
Subsequently Joseph Henry and Frederick Wells and Walter Perry. In 1890 the business was made into a Limited Company, known as The Chelmsford Brewery (Wells and Perry) Ltd., with a share capital of £ 130,000 and an issue of £75,000 5% debenture stock. At this time Wells and Perry were also trading down at the Springfield Wharf on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation opened on 3th June 1797 as coal and timber merchants, stone lime and Stockholm Tar suppliers. They also were coal merchants at Ingatestone Railway Station in 1906.
The Springfield Wharf business had been purchased from Burne and Company prior to 1831. In 1934 the company was purchased by Taylor, Walker & Co. Ltd, London, with some 72 public houses, which had been reduced from 85 when Woodcock and Hodges had earlier purchased the concern. There was a small tap house The Lion and Lamb replaced by the present large building, better known to the younger generation as "Dukes" nightspot. The large brewery premises were situated almost opposite the existing Friends Meeting House, the land stretching up to the railway station being a nursery. Today a large modern red brick multi-storey office block and rear car park occupy the site, with a large yew tree fronting onto Duke Street.
"Golden Bitter" the premier prize draught beer of The Chelmsford Brewery Company, was sold in all the company's houses.