G & W F Cooper

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G & W F Cooper, Acresford Brewery, Donisthorpe, Leicestershire.

Acquired by Sidney Evershed Ltd. 1900.

List of G. & W. F. Cooper pubs

In 1848, Oliver Bowley was listed as a maltster and beer retailer at Blackfordby (Acresford), but it is not clear whether this was the forerunner of the Acresford Brewery. There was an entry for an O Bowley as a farmer and miller in 1870 and Friedrich suggests that he may have also involved with brewing. From around 1908 to 1922 a John George Bowley was running the Caves Arms.

Certainly around 1860, a John Harley Berry founded a brewery at Acresford. It is possible that he was related to the Harley family brewing at Loughborough. In 1870, Samuel Cooper was a farmer at Donisthorpe, who by 1876 had taken over the brewery. In 1877, Kelly’s directory identified this as a large brewery, but also showed it under Nether Seal. White’s directory identified this as the Acresford Brewery at Nether Seal, whilst George’s home was in Uttoxeter.

On 15th September 1900, the Acresford Brewery, of George Cooper & William Field & Co (F83), was taken over by Sydney Evershed of Burton and closed in 1902. The purchase included 15 freehold and 4 leasehold licensed properties. G&WF Cooper also had a depot at 352 Fosse Road North, Leicester.

The Coopers became millers, although “Billy” Cooper retired to the Beeches Appleby, where he died around 1902, at what was said to be a fairly advanced age. He was buried at Uttoxeter, his home town. Unfortunately, to get there involved changing trains at Burton and although the mourners were successful, when they arrived at Uttoxeter, they found that no-one had transferred the coffin from one train to the other. Luckily, in those days trains were more frequent and the railway officials were able to put it onto the next service. Whilst waiting, the party adjourned to the nearby hotel for some liquid refreshment. Eventually, the parties were re-united and were able to enjoy the really good lunch which Billy had paid for!

The brewery was near the junction of the A444 and B5002, on the county border (SK299132). The old brewhouse stood in the middle of the yard until recent years, being used as a depot for Staffordshire Farmers Ltd. It has now been demolished and houses built on the site.

Although in 1913 Richard Thomas was listed as a brewer in Moira Road, Donisthorpe, this was probably the same individual shown earlier as Thomas Richardson. Then he had been described as a brewery manager and insurance agent; however, he was also listed as a brewer in 1915. It is also possible that he was employed elsewhere, since the village also housed Richard Douglas Tanner brewer of “Ind Coope”.