Welch Brothers

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Welch Brothers, St.Martin's Brewery, 10/12 Loseby Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire.

In 1843 Samuel Else was a brewer, maltster and wine & spirit merchants at 43 Humberstone Gate. He possibly moved to the Loseby Lane site used by the Millers (see entry) after 1849, since his brewery was thought to date from the late eighteenth century. In 1847, Richard Pepper Froane was an auctioneer in Bond Street East, but in the 1857 poll book was shown as a brewer in Loseby Lane.

In 1855, the business had become Else & Froane, shown in Loseby Lane as brewers, hop merchants and maltsters. In 1863 Else & Froane were listed as maltsters and brewers at 14 Loseby Lane, next to the Crown and Thistle, and at 50 Humberstone Gate. However, Alfred Else was an architect and surveyor at 12 Loseby Lane, his home being at 5 de Montfort Square. This would suggest that the Froanes had become the more active members of the brewing partnership.

The premises were rebuilt as a tower brewery around 1863 and in 1867 the address was shown as 12/14 Loseby Lane. In 1870, the Else & Froane brewery was listed at 12 Loseby Lane, ale and porter merchants etc., with No 10 being used by a bookbinder. Alfred Else, of Else & Froane, was living at 4 de Montfort, with Mrs Mary Else at No 5.

The maltings at 50 Humberstone Gate, were on the corner of Upper Hill Street. Richard Pepper Froane was described as the maltster in the business, living at 45 Waterloo Street. However, he died in 1870. Charles Henry Orton, manager at the brewery, was living at 56 Southgate Street. In 1875 William Salmon, at Else & Froane, was living at this address. Around 1871, the business may possibly have been trading as Alfred Else & Company as well.

White’s directory for 1877 lists them at 10 Loseby Lane and Friar’s Road. The Friar’s Road maltings were built in 1872, but later demolished for the construction of the Great Central Railway in the mid 1890s. They were replaced by a building on Millstone Lane, which seems to have been bought from Coopers (see entry).

Wright’s 1881 Directory shows Else & Froane at 12 Loseby Lane and maltsters in Friar’s Road selling - Pale Ale, Bitter Beer and Double Stout. Bennett’s directory for 1888 shows the business as Else and Thorne; however, this series of directories was prone to errors and this was probably another one.

In 1888, the Brewers’ Journal stated that Else & Froane had been taken over by Welch Brothers; however, the business was still shown in 1891 as Else & Froane (F2710). Nevertheless that year, Welch Brothers were listed for 10/12 Loseby Lane and in 1894 were also shown as maltsters.

In October 1897, Welch Brothers bought the Light Hussars, 142 Stoughton Street from LB&M. However, the following year the partnership of J Welch, HR Welch and A Welch was dissolved. There was investment in the business, with new maltings built at Millstone Lane.

In 1913, 43 Humberstone Gate was used by Warwicks & Richardsons Ltd, the Newark brewers. The following year the New Inn was sold to LB&M. Then in April 1917, partly as a result of the wartime restrictions on output, but also because of the close links between the local brewers, Welch Brothers arranged for their beer to be brewed by LB&M. In December 1919, they offered their houses, but not the brewery site to Leicester Brewing & Malting Co. Ltd.

To finance the purchase, LB&M had increased their ordinary capital by £100,000. However, the LB&M minute books show a figure of £700 for the Welch Brothers houses and casks, which seems rather an understatement and at least £7,000 seems more likely. Henry Robert Welch became a director of LB&M. In line with LB&M’s estate policy, the country pubs were sold and these seem to have included the following:-

  • Barley Sheaf, Whetstone
  • Shoulder of Mutton, Anstey
  • Fox, Barrow
  • Cock, Peatling

The sale included an off-licence, but no location was given. The sale was finalised in February 1923 and it seems that Ansells Brewery Ltd bought the properties for around £5,000.

List of Welch Brothers Pubs