Hewett & Co
Hewett & Co, St.Leonard's Brewery, Shepherd Street, St.Leonards, East Sussex.
Founded 1831 as the Crown Brewery.
Went into voluntary liquidation on 6th April 1907 and was acquired by Breeds & Co. Ltd. with 7 or 8 houses.
Tony Hyde writes:-
The Crown Brewery, Shepherd Street, St Leonard’s-on-Sea was founded in 1831 three years after James Burton started to build the town, in open country less than two miles to the west of Hastings. By 1839 there is an entry in Pigot’s Directory “John Evenden Brewer, Shepherd Street”. In 1845 Thomas Godfrey is shown and by 1851 William Mantell Eldridge.
By this time Mr Eldridge was well known to the Breeds. In 1836 he purchased the Swan, still Hastings’ major hostelry. The following year James Breeds Snr was bankrupt. Mr Eldridge took the opportunity to purchase part of his estate including the Bell at Bexhill, The Queen’s Head, Fishmarket, and, on 1st January 1850, The Harrow. In 1853 he bought The Ship at Rye from the Rye Corporation. From 1854 to 1858 Mr Eldridge had a partner named Young; this partnership ended in 1858 and Eldridge resumed sole ownership.
The first detailed information about the Brewery comes that same year when it was put up for sale by auction. This was to be at the Swan on 23rd September. The whole, to be sold in a series of lots, included were:-
- The Crown Brewery..fitted up with a 5-quarter plant embracing all the modern improvements
- Dwelling, stores, stabling in Shepherds Street
- Six dwellings adjoining, in London Road
- The Queen’s Head, Fishmarket, and a dwelling
- The Crown Inn, All Saints, dwellings, stabling
- The Milkman’s Arms, Mount Pleasant
- The Bell Inn, Bexhill
- The King’s Head, Horsebridge
The Harrow is not included and may have been sold then or later privately to the Hastings Brewery. It was in their possession later in the century.
It seems probable that Edward Hewett purchased the brewery in 1858 but the disposal of the other lots is not known.
However, his name does not appear in directories until 1862. He at some stage acquired The Ship at Rye which was not included in the auction.
By 1913 the list of houses associated with the brewery includes none of the houses in the 1858 auction.
Edward Hewett called the Brewery “The St Leonards Brewery” though the name Crown does also appear in the 1870s. In 1864 it was registered as Hewett & Co. Ten years later for a short period in 1874 to 1876 it was run by a partnership of Hewett and a Mr C. Wells. On 20th November 1882 it was advertised for sale by auction, because of Mr Hewett’s ill health. At that date it had an estate of 9 freehold and 4 leasehold houses. The sale was, however, indefinitely postponed as a result of a sudden worsening of Mr Hewett’s health; but in the event he did not die until 10th March 1885. The firm of Hewett & Co continued after his death. It was run by his heirs and from advertisements and directory entries appears to have been a going concern until the difficult years at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1907 the Company went into voluntary liquidation. It ran on independently until 1913 when Breeds & Co. Ltd agreed to take over the houses leasehold and presumably the brewery ceased to function. Breeds seal book entry is dated 26th June 1914 and new leases were granted to tenants in the next six months. The estate had, by 1913, been reduced to seven houses:-
- The Tower Hotel, St Leonards
- The Broad Oak, Brede
- The Ship Inn, Rye
- The Cinque Ports Arms, All Saints Street
- The Rising Sun, St Leonards
- The Royal Albert, St Leonards
- The Royal Sussex Arms, Old London Road