Richmond Brewery

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A price list from 1888.
The sale notice from 1886.
The sale notice from 1897.
The brewery in 1990

Vincent Rollison, Richmond Brewery, St Helena Wharf, Friars Lane.


From the new London Brewers book by Mike Brown

In November 1701:- "Proposals by Richard Hawes jun, for a new lease of his Majesty's House and Gardens and Brewhouse now in said Hawes' occupation with leave to lay pipes from his brewhouse to the river through the slip of back meadow ground called the Friars and right of free passage from the Brewhouse Yard, to the waterside to load beer."

The messuage and brewhouse in the tenure of Richard Hawes mentioned March 1703 and again 1722, then Richard Hawe’s will proved 17th March 1730. William Collins, brewer of Richmond probate 1st December 1760. In 1762 John Collins was paying rates for a brewhouse; however his will went to probate 25th February 1766. In 1763 brewer Edward Collins married. In 1770 Edward Collins brewer involved with the White Hart. In 1778 Edward insured property near the Green, which in 1783 was shown to have a value of £3,100. On 25th February 1800:- "Edward Collins: Charles John Lawrence: John Armitage: Albany Wallis. Concerning Brewhouse, Water Lane, Richmond."

In 1801 Mr Collins was said to have been here twelve years. However, in 1802 the Richmond Brewery was described as being newly erected and near the entrance to the town at the 8 mile stone. Edward John Collins, brewer, probate 5th February 1819 and William Collins, brewer and maltster, probate 29th July 1819. In 1822 Collins & Downs, were shown as brewers, maltsters, coal merchants and lightermen. In 1826 Sarah Collins, although in 1834 Mesdames Collins. On 25th December 1831 partnership dissolved of E Collins & Co, being Edward, William and Sarah. In June 1837 Edward and Sarah Collins dissolved their partnership. In 1833 John Downs, maltster etc, from Edward Collins, mortgage and William Collins, an architect, in 1838 in Liverpool – share in Greyhound (previously the King’s Head), Market Place, Kingston and the Seven Stars at New Brentford. There was a partnership 29th September 1840; however, John Downs, brewer, lighterman, maltster and dealer in corn, probate 29th March 1844. His will was dated 13th April 1843:- To his son, Edwin, moiety of the business of a lighterman and maltster (the other moiety belonging to his son, Henry). To his sons, Edwin and Henry, his moiety of the copyhold brewhouse in Richmond, of the malthouse and appurtenances in Water Lane, beer houses etc purchased from Edward Collins. To his wife, Sarah, their dwelling house at the end of Friar's Lane. To his sons, Henry and Edwin, the aforesaid house and counting house adjoining and freehold houses adjoining and forming St Helena Terrace, 2 freehold malthouses and storehouses in Friar's Lane, 1-4 Whitecross Row.

His son, John Henry, inherited his interest in the Swan Brewery in White Lion Street, Norton Falgate, to be sold (see entry). A sum of £2,500 was on trust for the wife and children of Edwin Downs. One deed mentions Edwin Downs, 4 Albion Square, S Queens Road, Dalston, brewer; Thomas Furze of Richmond, wine merchant, and Thomas Gaskell, 9 Tyssen Terrace, Hackney, brewer. Furze was Edwin Down’s father-in-law. Appointment of new trustees of Settlement dated 21 Feb 1849 1) Thomas Gaskell, formerly of 9 Tysson Terrace, now of 107 Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, gent 2) Thomas John Downs of Richmond, malt salesman, and Arthur Edward Downs of Richmond, corn salesman.

In December 1845 there was an inquest on the death of Collins’ son Frederick, aged 28, from scurvy at his brother’s home in Aldred Street. In March 1848 there was a court case in which the sons claimed mis-management in Downs vs Collins, it seems John Down’s sons did not want to be involved. Sale 31st May 1849 of Richmond brewery + 17 pubs, described as on the river bank. Having been trading for 200 years; 3 floor malting; equipment including 54 and 80 barrel coppers and 30 qtr mash. There was also a 44 qtr malting and 8hp steam engine. In March 1850 Edward Downs applied for licences to re-open the White Cross, Waterside and the Cricketers on the Green. Downs would hold the White Cross for himself.

Mark Dickson, aged 41, brewer presumably employee 1851.

Despite the sale Collins & Downs were listed to c1860. In 1852 Edwin Downs probate and Edward Collins, brewer Richmond 7th December 1854, having died August. As a result of Collins Vs Collins it was for sale 6th May 1856, with 13 inns and 18 leasehold houses. That year:- "Stephen Wilson of Streatham, esq, and Nicholas Charrington of Mile End, William Thomas Farnell, of Isleworth, brewer: copyhold messuage called the Artichoke Richmond in occupation of William Fawkes; also the New Inn at Ham in Kingston, now in occupation of Adam Goddard; all previously mortgaged by John Downs and Edward Collins, deceased. Consideration: £2,260."

Some properties such as the Greyhound, George Street and the former Roebuck on Richmond Hill were for sale separately. In March 1857 for sale by private contract, with 21 licensed houses, 30 qtr mash and two coppers giving a total of 140 barrels, some properties having been sold, but this had not reduced the overall trade very much. In October 1859 sale with 18. In 1860 for auction 20th September, with 45 quarter plant, could be used for any business, Water Lane next to the Castle Hotel. Then again:- The copyhold premises, lately occupied as part of the Richmond Brewery. They are situate upon the bank of the Thames, near Richmond-bridge, with extensive frontages to the river and Water-lane, and comprise the building lately used as the brewhouse; a granary of two floors, and two counting-houses. 6th August 1863.

In 1871 Downs & Kennedy were listed, then in 1874 Downs, Kennedy & Co, Richmond Brewery, Queensberry Lane. The Downs and Kennedy families look to have been related by marriage:- Deed of Arrangement, 1 Dec 1876

  • 1) Edwin Downs of Richmond, lighterman, maltster, corn and coal merchant
  • 2) Frederick Downs Kennedy of Richmond, lighterman, maltster, corn and coal merchant, and Amelia Elizabeth, his wife
  • 3) Thomas John Downs of Richmond, malt salesman
  • 4) Arthur Edward Downs of Richmond, corn salesman.

In 1876 listed as Edwin Downs & Co, but 1878 Downs, Kennedy & Co, St Helena Wharf, Waterside, possibly being an out-of-date entry. In May 1876 the old site was sold for £2,339 to be used as an artesian well and pump. Presumably, they had built on a new site in Friars Lane, near Queensberry Lodge. Around 1876/7 Robert Dean Piper was involved, in 1878 as Piper & Shearly, but in October 1879 RD Piper & T Shearly partnership dissolved. In 1886 as Piper & ‘Shearley’, but that year for auction 4th February. Then 1887 on 21st November 1887 sale of property including Friars Lane (Water Lane), with two maltings, the brewery held on lease by Rollison. On 26th January 1897 there was a sale of the ‘very costly and nearly new’ plant, machinery and effects of the Ajax brewery. This included a 20 barrel steam-jacketed copper.