Vale Brewery Co (W Furmidge & Co)

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Vale Brewery Co (W Furmidge & Co), Harby, Leicestershire.

Edward Oakden in 1895 then W S Davy of Newark-on-Trent February 1899.

See: Goodwin Brothers Ltd

In 1875, Samuel Furmidge was a coal merchant, and two years later William and Samuel Furmidge were corn cake and coal merchants. By 1881 they had started brewing, trading as W&S Furmidge. Local history books suggest that the brewery may have been located next to the canal wharf as part of the mill.

An advertisement in 1887, described W Furmidge & Co at the Vale Brewery, with stores at the Black Horse, King Street, Melton Mowbray. In 1888 they were shown as brewers and maltsters as well as corn, coal and coke merchants and farmers. They were also malting at Stathern. The Furmidge name originated as Fromagear, i.e. cheese maker. In 1891 the business was shown as Furmidge W & Company, although the following year it was still trading as W&S Furmidge. This name was used until 1895, when shown as Furmidge and Kemp, with George Kemp as the new partner. They were shown as farmers and corn and coal merchants, as well as still malting at Stathern. The brewery was bought in 1895 by Edward Oakden, living in Nottingham. Arthur H Oakden was shown as the brewer and the following year Furmidge & Company were listed only as farmers and merchants.

However, Edward Oakden had also bought the Dolphin Brewery at North Church Street in Nottingham (F3709), although he seems to have allowed a Mr Barker to continue to operate locally there. Hence, there was a court case in 1898, at which Mr Barker argued that Oakden had broken his agreement and was poaching customers for his Harby brewery. He was offering 27½% discounts to the off-licensed trade in Nottingham, compared to the 20% given by the Dolphin. Oakden lost the case and had to pay damages of £100 plus costs and the Nottingham brewery seems to have continued under William S Barker.

In 1898 Arthur H Oakden was shown as a brewery traveller, whilst the business was trading as the Vale Brewery Company (F2011). In February 1899, the Vale was taken over by WS Davy of Newark, who had recently bought the Devon Brewery there. The following year, John Dewey was listed as a brewers traveller, but there was no mention of brewing in the village. WS Davy were themselves bought by Warwicks & Richardsons Ltd of Newark in 1919.