London - Chiswell Street to St Pancras
Gather outside the Whitbread Brewery, Chiswell Street - now a hotel
Start outside Whitbread & Co. Ltd, Chiswell Street, EC1.
Wander into the main yard by going through the archway.
On the opposite of the road is Sun Court, or the North Yard. Much is unchanged. Here is where they stabled the horses and dispatched the beer. Point out sundial. It is true that there was a railway under the road connecting the two side. Evidenced by a BHS visit many years ago when we saw it, possibly for the last time.
'WHITBREAD STEAM EARLY ADOPTER GETTING A BOULTON 7 WATT ONE IN 1784 THIS REPLACED 14 HORSES IN 1787 KING GEORGE III AND QUEEN CHARLOTTE VISITED TO INSPECT THE WONDEROUS NEW MACHINE WHITBREAD BREWED OVER 150,000 BARRELS OF PORTER IN THE FIRST YEAR THAT THE ENGINE WAS INSTALLED THE ENGINE WAS LATER UPGRADED TO GIVE 200,000 BPA AND INCREASED THE WORK RATE TO 70 HORSES
IF YOU ARE IMPRESSED BY THIS ENGINE THERE ARE TWO WAYS YOU CAN STILL SEE IT
1 – IT IS IN THE MUSEUM OF TECHNOLOGY IN SYDNEY – STILL WORKING TO THIS DAY
2 THE OTHER IS LOOK ON A £50 NOTE
With the main brewery entrance behind you, turn left down Chiswell Street. Turn right into Whitecross Street.
Turn left into Garret Street.
On the right are the old Whitbread Stables []. Point out that it is a least 3 stories and mention the slope between them. If you are lucky you might get to see inside but this is a working timber yard.
Turn left onto Old Street and proceed until Goswell Road.
Divertion for the energetic
If you are feeling energetic, walk for almost a mile north to Rawstorne St is where there are brewers flats. Opposite Hermit Road was Buxton Road and Paget St was Brewer Street.
Reverse you journey.
In St John Street there are the substantial remains of the Cannon Brewery Co. Ltd with a clock tower in the main courtyard. Continue to the rear and the large block opposite facing you are the Fermenting Rooms.
Return to St Johns Street and retrace your steps until Old Street.
Turn right and continue along Old Street, Crossing the Farringdon Road.
On the corner of Hatton Garden is Reid's Brewery Co. Ltd, Griffin Brewery. Note the Griffin on the wall. The building behind you is Griffin House. Note the clock. Extra info Maxim and Trevicthic INTERESTINGLOY RICHARD THREVITHICK THE PIONEER OF STEAM TRANSPORT AND OF THE USE OF HIGH PRESSURE STEAM DID A FAIR BIT OF DEVELOPMENT WORK HERE WHEN IN LONDON AND THE CHIEF ENGINEER OF THE BREWERY HELPED DEVELOP SOME OF THE BOILERS AND VALVES USED BY TREVITHICK Maxim established the Maxim Gun Company with financing from Albert Vickers [la], son of steel entrepreneur Edward Vickers. A blue plaque on the Factory where Maxim invented and produced the gun is to be found in Hatton Garden at the junction with Clerkenwell Road in London. Retrace your steps back to the Farringdon Road and turn left. You will now be facing north, away from the city.
On the left hand side is Ray Street. Pause in the middle of the road opposite the pub/bistro, if safe of course. There is a grating in the road. Listen carefully, the noise you can hear is the rushing of water - the water of the River Fleet.
Proceed along the Farringdon Road until it becomes the Kings Cross Road. Opposite Wharton Street is an architect's office that is in the Phoenix Brewery buildings of Chapmans. Additionally this is the area where Bagginge Wells gardens and spa were situated, renown haunt of Charles II lady friend Nell Gywne.
Return to the Kings Cross Road.
Continue north, away from the city and turn left into Wicklow Street. On the corner, where this road meets Britannia Street is the bottling store of Whitbread. This can be confirmed by the sign on top of the main entrance at the junction of the two roads.
Proceed along Britannia Street until it meets the Grays Inn Road, turning right and heading towards Kings Cross.
Proceed to St Pancras and climb the stairs to the upper level. Go through the arched entrance way, pausing to imagine the hansoms, the hackney cabs and broughams which would have been queuing to let the Victorians enter the station.
When in the station, go to the railings overlooking the lower levels and again imagine the cellars as they were stacked from top to bottom with casks coming in from Burton on Trent.
Whilst on this level take time out to visit Sir John Betjeman's statue. A homage to the man who save this incredible space is always worthwhile.
If you descend to the lower level you will find on either side of the commercial concourse upright pillars. If you have the opportunity, measure the distance between them. Not an imperial nor metric distance but a multiple of the width of a standard ale cask. All the better for packing them in.
You have completed the walk, pause and savour the building with maybe a glass of something at the world's longest champagne bar.