Hornchurch Brewery Co. Ltd

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Hornchurch 1918.jpg

Hornchurch Brewery Co. Ltd, Old Hornchurch Brewery, White Hart, Hornchurch, Havering, Greater London.

Founded 1789.

The Hornchurch Brewery Co. Ltd. failed to float in 1890. Revived as the Old Hornchurch Brewery Co. Ltd. and put up for sale in 1892 with 36 houses.

Bought by Philip Ronayne Conron formerly of Nicholls of Lewisham who died in 1895. Left it to son Philip who died in 1897 and acquired by other son, Stanislaus Ronayne Conron. The latter had an interest in Harman's Uxbridge Brewery Ltd. from 1914, hence they acquired it in 1924 and was sold to Mann, Crossman & Paulin Ltd. in 1925.

Brewing ceased 1929.

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 foundation stone for the Hornchurch Brewery was laid in 1789 by John Woodfine. Early accounts show that he supplied several consignments of beer, amounting to 225 gallons at 3/6d per 9 gallon, from 25th April to 23rd June, 1792, at a total cost of £4,7/6d. In the following year John Woodfine supplied in 16 different consignments, from 7th November, 1793 to 4th March, 1794, varying from 18 to 72 gallons each, to the workhouse, a total of 568 gallons at a cost of £10,10/10. John died in 1811, but his son, Thomas Woodfine, carried on the business, erecting larger buildings on the site nearest the town centre. Thomas lived in the Brewery House until his death in 1853. Again the family line continued with Thomas Woodfine junior carrying on in the third generation.

He had seven children and sold the brewery in 1874 so that he could take up farming firstly at Dury Falls and then in 1895 at Lea Gardens Farm. Four years later one of his sons Owen Woodfine, was listed as farming at Lea Gardens. The sale in 1874 was to Henry Holmes, better known as Colonel Holmes and his brother Benjamin. The two brothers set about improvements to the buildings and also developed the trading into wines and spirits, and aerated waters. On the 1st August, 1883 the business was made a limited company, with a capital of £70,000 divided into 7,000 shares of £10 each, of which 5,000 were "A" preference, and 2,000 "B" deferred shares. The four directors, Henry and Benjamin Holmes, Robert Tennant and Sir Joseph Neale McKenna, M.P. all had 500 shares each. Very few of these shares were taken up and so the company was dissolved. Brewing however continued, trading as The Old Hornchurch Brewery.

In 1889 Charles Dagnall & Co of Horley, Sussex, acquired the concern, it having been announced in the London Gazette of 30th September, 1884 that the company was dissolved. The final winding up was on 12th April, 1894. In June, 1892, Mr Philip R.Conron purchased it from the Official Receiver, and on his death in 1894, his two sons, Philip S.Conron and Stanislaus R.Conron, with Miss Julia Mary Monica Percival, continued the business. Philip died in 1897. At the turn of the century the brewery was at its peak, employing some sixty staff. There were 30 horses and 13 drays, with two Foden steam waggons being purchased in 1913. The brewery also has its own hand-operated fire pump. The site was 304 feet facing onto the High Street, with a depth of 173 feet. On each side were sited the two malthouses, one of 35 quarters the other 20 quarters, the kilns being sited away from the road, which had two lucarnes overhanging it. There was the usual tower brew house of three floors and a cellar beneath. Three wells, the deepest of which was 300 feet, was sunk in 1911. Atop the tower block were gold letters reading "Hornchurch Brewery". The employees allowance was of 5 pints per day on exchange for a brass token, which was taken at The King's Head opposite.

The range of beers which they and customers could choose from were draught Mild Ale, Light Bitter, Stout, Strong Ale I.P.A. and Porter, with bottled beers I P A; Double Stout, Light Dinner Ale and the strong Christmas Ale.

On the 3rd December, 1925, Stanislaus Conron sold out to Mann, Crossman & Paulin Ltd. of London, for £171,000, including the 23 freehold, 9 leasehold and 6 Copyhold licenced houses. A farewell dinner took place on 31st December, 1925; golden handshakes being given to employees. The only brewery acquisition made was Fielder & Co's Brentwood brewery in 1923.

After closure the premises remained empty for several years, finally demolition starting in September, 1930 and completed in February, 1931. Parts still remained as late as the 1950's, the site having been sold in October 1937 to Anglian Properties (Maldon) Ltd. Shops were erected on the site in the early 1960's.

Entry in the Trade Mark Registry

Registration No  : 269,810
Description  : Label design with Bull's Head and church i.e Hornchurch
Date of Application  : 02/02/1905
Used Prior to 1875?  : NO