Hewitt Brothers Ltd
Hewitt Brothers Ltd, Tower Brewery, Pasture Street, Grimsby, Lincolnshire.
Brewery built by John Garniss in 1806. Registered March 1888 and public company formed 1934.
Acquired by Northern Breweries of Great Britain Ltd in 1961 with 320 houses.
Closed 19th April 1968.
Hewitt Brothers took over the lease of the Pasture St. brewery c.1871. In 1874 the brewery was sold to the partnership of W. T & T. Hewitt. William Taylor Hewitt was born in 1833 at Tuxford, Notts., his wife, Elizabeth, was born in 1831 at Kettlethorpe, their son, Thomas William, was born in 1868 at Egrnauton(?). W. T. Hewitt had been a grocer in Old Market Place before acquiring the brewery, Thomas was already a brewer in Doncaster. Their other two brothers were also brewers, John Henry in Retford and Edwin in Hull. There is a reliable reference to Edwin founding the Exchange Brewery, Doncaster. The Grimsby firm eventually acquired the Exchange Brewery, St. Sepulchre Gate, Doncaster (c.1905); The Ordsall Brewery, Retford (c.1909); a Gainsborough brewery (c.1900); Gale's Brewery in Bull Ring, Grimsby (1892) and Norton & Turton, 5 Drury Lane, Lincoln (c.1922).
Hewitt Bros. Co. was formed in 1885 and Hewitt Bros. Ltd. was registered in March 1888. The first directors were W. Taylor Hewitt (chairman), Thomas William Good Hewitt (secretary). There was a nominal capital of £200,000, divided into 750 preference shares of £100 each and 12,500 ordinary shares of £10 each. The share allocation was as follows:
- W Taylor Hewitt, brewer, 750 preference & 11,250 ordinary shares
- T W Good Hewitt, brewer, 1000 ordinary shares
- Titus Henry Hewitt, brewer, 40
- Miss Mary Elizabeth Hewitt 40
- Emmanuel Carter, working brewer, 5
- Herbert Pindar, Hull, brewers manager, 2
- John William Jowl, brewers clerk, 2
- Thomas Johnson, maltster, 1
Titus Henry and Mary Elizabeth were T. W. Hewitt's children.
W. T. Hewitt personally visited licensed houses in Grimsby after buying the brewery in a successful effort to persuade them to buy his beer. He was responsible for expanding the business. William Taylor lived at first in the brewery before moving to Weelsby Old Hall, which was destroyed during World War Two. Weelsby Farm, which had been the property of the late W. T. Hewitt, was given up, except one field for brewery horses in 1930. He died in 1902, his son, T. W. G. Hewitt, took over as Managing Director and chairman, Titus H. Hewitt was appointed a director and J. T. Baumber was appointed cashier and secretary. Titus H. Hewitt died in 1909/10.
Thomas adopted his father's attitude to the business, supervising personally all aspects of the work. He would sample and buy the barley himself; samples of malt would be taken to him each morning; various grades of beer were tasted by him each day, and he had a reputation for being an excellent taster. Every member of staff was given a daily allowance of beer, but if anyone exceeded his allowance he would be dismissed. He was a great lover of horses and not one of his employees was allowed to carry a whip. Thomas personally purchased the horses used by the firm, and these were frequently taken to the grounds of Weelsby Old Hall for rest periods at weekends. T. W. G. Hewitt died in 1931.
Gladstone Arnold Fowler was appointed a director in 1929. In 1930 Ernest Leigh Grange was appointed as a director and chairman, Baumber resigned; George Henry Payne was appointed secretary with G. A Fowler as Managing Director. The firm was converted to a public company in 1934, under the Chairmanship of Sir James C.Calder CBE, with Percy Frank Chaplin as a new director; the AGM's were held in London, directors' meetings were held alternately in London and Grimsby. When the company was formed 125,000 New Preference Shares of £1 each, 175,000 New Ordinary Shares of £1 each and £700,000 4 1/2% First Mortgage Debenture Stock were issued. Donald Newman Burt became Managing Director in 1939; G. A Fowler remained on the board. Roland Forge was assistant secretary in 1940 and secretary a year later. Reginald Arthur Neale Shuttle joined the board as a director in 1946. G. A Fowler died in 1952, he was thanked for his local knowledge by the board. John Derek Wigan was a director in 1954. In 1959 Michael Richards was chairman and in 1960 Norman Barker was secretary.
The brewing plant was constantly being upgraded. In 1930 eight new slate fermentation vessels were purchased for £250 each. In 1934 five new round fermenting vessels were added. The Pasture St. maltkiln and four shops were sold for £8,500 in 1936. In the next year new bottling stores were built in Upper Burgess St., opposite the brewery, by Wilkinson & Houghton for £26,303-5-2, to the designs of William Bradford. A new bridge had to be built to convey steam from the brewery to the new stores. The old bottling stores had been in Bull Ring (Gale's former brewery).
The Company owned a maltkiln at Tuxford by 1931. Emmanuel (?) Sutton was appointed barley buyer for the 31/32 season. The malthouse was sold for £300 in 1934.
After the Supplementary Budget of 1931 it was decided to increase prices and reduce gravities of the beers. In 1931 a new crowning machine was purchased to meet demand for beer in 1/2 pint bottles, presumably instead of pint bottles. In 1932 an agreement that allowed Bellamy Bros. of Horncastle to supply some Hewitt's pubs with bottled beer was terminated, tenanted pubs were only to take Hewitt's ales; (Bellamy Bros. had probably been taken over, possibly by Whitbread) Whitbread managed to sign an agreement that allowed them to still supply some of Hewitt's pubs with bottled beer. Hewitt's were awarded second prize in class II for stout at the Brewers Exhibition of 1936.
In 1935 the Company purchased the goodwill and premises of John Beetham trading as M. Beetham & Son, wine and spirit merchant, Doncaster for £20,000.
In 1936 they purchased the property of C.J. Melrose & Co. Ltd., wholesale and retail wine, spirit and ale and porter merchants, 106 Petergate, York, which was in liquidation. The Petergate premises were purchased for £4,500 and the freehold properties; Cross Keys Hotel, Bay Horse Hotel, White Horse, Albert Hotel, York, off-license and grocers shop 114 Eldon St, and the leasehold of the Board Inn for £28,591 -5-2.
In 1932 some properties were leased from Kennington's Trustees for £1,250 per annum. In 1936 these properties; Ship Hotel, Flottergate and shop adjoining, bond stores, Burgess St., Humber Hotel, Humber St., warehouse, West St. Mary's Gate and a shop at 179 Cleethorpe Rd., were purchased for £35,000.
The brewery was now large enough to worry about being taken over. In 1930 an interview took place with Claude H. Burt, joint Managing Director of Bass, Ratcliffe & Gretton and Worthington & Co., to discuss a proposal for the sale of Hewitt Bros. In 1934 the Company considered expanding by purchasing a brewery for around £500,000 if a suitable one became available. In 1941 The Tadcaster Tower Brewery Co. proposed a merger with Hewitt Bros., this never materialised but the two companies did swap some pubs. By 1951 Hewitt's owned 287 licensed premises. In 1958 the Company agreed to supply some of its houses with draught Bass and Worthington and to bottle Bass Blue Triangle and Worthington Green Shield, for which there was increasing trade.
In 1935 the maltkiln, back Queens St., Retford, was sold for £175, the old Ordsall Brewery and Hopgrove House and cottage, Cobwell Rd., was conveyed to Sarah Emelia Cutts for £1,000.
The Company took over 30 former Flower's pubs in the Louth, Alford and Horncastle areas in 1956.
Hart, Son & Co., London financiers, gained control of the company in 1959. The Wood Hall Trust also owned about 39 per cent of the ordinary shares. Hewitt's had acquired Grimsby & District Mineral Water Co. Ltd. in 1935; A M & E. Sergeant, brewers and wine and spirit merchants, Brigg in 1954, and merged with Moors' & Robson's Breweries Ltd., Hull, in 1960.
The brewery's independence came to an end when United Breweries (created as a result of the merger between Hammond's United Breweries of Bradford, Hope & Anchor Breweries of Sheffield and John Jeffrey & Co. of Edinburgh in 1960; Canadian Breweries became the largest shareholder) put in a bid of around £7.5m for Hewitt's in December 1961. United merged with Charrington & Co. in a £78m deal during 1962. The new company had very few pubs in the Midlands but in July 1967 they merged with Bass, Mitchell & Butlers giving them 10,000 bars and shops in the £250m deal.
The Tower Brewery was closed on 19th April, 1968; the last Head Brewer being Barry Peacock. Hewitt's had a staff of 350, only 30 were effected by the closure; in its heyday Hewitt's is reputed to have employed over 1,000. At closure the Managing Director was Mr Bourdillon, he was succeeded by Michael Hignett who later became head of Charrington United, then by Peter Hewitt who became top man at Canada Dry, and finally by Gordon Robson. In 1980 Bass was reorganised and the Hewitt's name disappeared, the company was administered from Stone's in Sheffield.
In 1975 the 100 year old maltings in Victoria St. were badly damaged by a fire, they had been closed since 1967, although a listed building they were demolished in 1976 as being beyond repair. The Pasture St. brewery has been demolished but the barley store in East St. survives and a sign indicating the Hewitt Brothers car park can be seen near Hewitt's Tavern. Hewitt's Tavern houses a good collection of Hewitt's memorabilia.
An assortment of images of the brewery
The Duke of Wellington and Stores.
Hewitt Brothers Ltd, Trent Brewery, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
Recorded in 1898.
An assortment of images of the Gainsborough site
An assortment of views of the Retford site