Wharfedale Brewery Co. Ltd

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Coates Wetherby -2.jpg

Wharfedale Brewery Co. Ltd, Castle Street, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

Registered 1896 to acquire James Coates & Co.

Merged with Braime's Tadcaster Breweries Ltd. in 1899 when brewing concentrated here. 76 houses leased to the Leeds City Brewery Ltd. from 1903-11 when brewery was reported being let.

Brewing recommenced on site 1911. Demolished for bus station 1959.

List of James Coates & Co. pubs

List of Wharfedale Brewery Co. Ltd. pubs


First, a note on the address - I prefer, in writing of bygone breweries to use the old county names that would have been current in the lifetime of the company.

The name of the brewer, maltster and farmer, John Rhodes is first mentioned in records of the Duke of Devonshire's estate at Wetherby in 1756. Farming appears to have been the least of his occupations as it entailed only 59 acres. He was, however, reputed to have been a cattle breeder, producing in 1769 - “a famous large fat ox, that is allowed by all judges that have seen him to be the largest and fattest ox of his age in the kingdom.” When John Rhodes died in 1780 he was succeeded in the brewery by his eldest son, Gregory, who was then only twenty. Gregory was joined by the second son, Quintin, and the two of them guided the fortunes of the brewery well into the nineteenth century.

The tying of public houses, by which the products of the brewery can have a guaranteed distribution, engaged the attention of the brothers from early in the new century, although not exclusively. Quintin Rhodes went and established a second brewery in 1803 on Kirkgate in Thirsk, and both breweries were run independently.

The greatest impetus to the Rhodes' acquisition of a tied estate came with the Great Sale of 1824. The sixth Duke of Devonshire, probably due to his own extravagance, was obliged to sell large parts of the estate and property. Gregory Rhodes was able to purchase the house and brewery, which had previously only been on lease to him, plus a number of public houses - five in Wetherby, three in York, three in Tadcaster, two in Otley, and one each in Knaresborough, Kirk Deighton, Marston and Langthorpe. Altogether the noble gentleman disposed of more than 1,300 acres of land and some 200 properties of all kinds.

According to the last will and testament of Gregory Rhodes, published in January 1831 the following houses were owned:-

  • George & Dragon, High Street, Wetherby.
  • White Hart, Wetherby.
  • Black Bull, Market Place, Wetherby.
  • Blue Boar, High St., Wetherby.
  • Red Lion, High St., Wetherby.
  • Swan & Talbot, Low St., Wetherby.
  • Three Legs, Market Place, Wetherby.
  • Bay Horse, Skeldergate, York.
  • Black Dog, Jubbergate, York.
  • Black Horse, Pavement, York.
  • Brewers Inn, Knaresborough.
  • Barrel Inn, Knaresborough.
  • Cock & Bottle, Marston.
  • Bay Horse, Kirk Deighton.
  • Rose & Crown, Tadcaster.
  • Railway Hotel, Kirkgate, Tadcaster.

After the death of his brother Quintin Rhodes carried on the business, adding the following public houses to the tied house estate:-

  • White Swan, Otley.
  • Yorkshire Hussar, Wetherby.
  • Admiral Hawke, Boston Spa. Later owned by Sam Smith's of Tadcaster.
  • Blacksmith's Arms, Wetherby.

When Quintin Rhodes died in December 1854 the estate passed to his nephew, John Rhodes, a man in holy orders who declined the business. However, a willing successor turned up in the person of James Coates, a native of Stokesley in North Yorkshire, a solicitor by profession. He had come to live in Wetherby in 1831 and had married his first wife, Sarah Rhodes. James Coates purchased the Wharfedale Brewery from the executors of John Rhodes in 1855. He was a rising man of business, politics and local government, being the clerk to the county court as well as holding the office of clerk to the Board of Guardians after the Wetherby Union was founded.

Only a minority of the Rhodes’ public houses passed to James Coates:-

  • The Three Legs.
  • The White Hart.
  • The Red Lion.
  • The Bay Horse at Kirk Deighton.

The rest were disposed of piecemeal, one of them, significantly, to Godfrey Braim, innkeeper of Tadcaster. That was the Railway Hotel.

James Coates was to add, if sporadically, to the list of tied houses. When a more or less monopoly of the hotels in Wetherby had been secured, he turned his attention further afield, particularly in the direction of Leeds, where the following houses were acquired:-

  • Albion Inn, Savile Green, Leeds.
  • Black Dog Inn, York Rd., Leeds.
  • Dyer's Arms, Kirkstall Rd., Leeds.
  • Eagle Brewery (formerly Perseverance Brewery - see Arthur Whitehead), Whitwell Street/ York Road, Leeds.

Add to the above - the White Hart, Boroughbridge, the Blue Bell Inn, Tockwith, the Red Lion, Weyford Leys Lane, Boston Spa, and the Scott Arms, Sicklinghall, and William IV, Spofforth, both taken on yearly tenancies, and the extent of James Coates' public house empire can be appreciated. As a working lawyer, James Coates was to rely after the early 1880's on the services of his son, Edward Henry Coates, presumably with the day to day running of the brewery.

James Coates died in July 1890, and in June 1896 a new public company was formed, the Wharfedale Brewery Company Ltd. It was a venture which was to extend the capacity of the Wetherby brewery significantly. More than thirty new public houses and around twenty off-licence shops were acquired, mainly in the Leeds area.

In 1899 an amalgamation was effected with Braime's Tadcaster Breweries Ltd, although the terms of this merger remain obscure. Brewing was concentrated in Wetherby, and Braime's Victoria Brewery on Chapel Street, Tadcaster was bought by John Smith's in April 1899 for use as a store.

A decision was taken in late 1903 and early 1904 to lease all the Wharfedale Brewery and Braime's properties to the Leeds City Brewery Company. The Wetherby Brewery was closed at this time. We next hear of the Wharfedale Brewery during World War One, when it was used for billeting soldiers, and towards the end of the War, some 250 German prisoners. The premises lasted until 1959, when they were demolished and a new bus station built on the site.

This is a list of the properties which passed to the Leeds City Brewery Ltd from the Wharfedale Brewery Company:


  • 1. Red Lion, High St., Wetherby.
  • 2. Three Legs, Market Place, Wetherby.
  • 3. Royal Oak, Wetherby.
  • 4. Blue Bell Inn, Tockwith.
  • 5. Bay Horse Inn, Kirk Deighton.
  • 6. White Horse Inn, Wetherby.
  • 7. Shoulder of Mutton, Kirkby Overblow.
  • 8. Harlow Inn, Harlow Hill, Pannal.
  • 9. Robin Hood, Roe Head, Mirfield.
  • 10. Railway Tavern, Drighlington.
  • 11. Bay Horse, Canal St., Armley, Leeds.
  • 12. Albion, Savile Green Rd., Leeds.
  • 13. Black Dog, York Rd., Leeds.
  • 14. Dyer's Arms, Kirkstall Rd., Leeds.
  • 15. Larchfield Hotel, Larchfield St., Hunslet, Leeds.
  • 16. Windsor Castle, Eton St., Holbeck, Leeds.
  • 17. Prince of Wales, South Accommodation Rd., Leeds.
  • 18. Maltster's Arms, Meadow Rd., Holbeck, Leeds.
  • 19. Albion Hotel, Somerby St., Leeds.
  • 20. Rose & Crown, Derby St., Hunslet, Leeds.
  • 21. Blooming Rose, Holbeck Moor, Leeds.
  • 22. Queen Inn, Barrack St., Leeds.
  • 23. Malcolm Inn, Green Lane, New Wortley, Leeds.
  • 24. Prospect Inn, Moor Rd., Hunslet Carr, Leeds.
  • 25. Marquis Inn, Woodhouse Moor, Leeds.
  • 26. Ten off-licence shops.
  • 27. Fox & Hounds Inn, Scotton nr Knaresborough.


  • 1. Baker's Arms, Chatham St., Leeds.
  • 2. Blacksmith's Arms, Wetherby.
  • 3. Bull & Butcher, Globe Rd., Leeds.
  • 4. Greyhound Inn, Killinghall nr. Ripley.
  • 5. Clap Gate Inn, Kearby nr. Wetherby.
  • 6. Hare & Hounds, Hunslet Hall Rd., Leeds.
  • 7. Parnassus Inn, Knaresborough.
  • 8. Railway Hotel, Littlemoor, Pudsey.
  • 9. Royal Hotel, Boston Spa
  • 10. Station Hotel, Ossett Street Side, Chickenley.
  • 11. Three Hares, Bilborough nr. York.
  • 12. Wellington Inn, Meadow Lane, Leeds.
  • 13. Queen's Head, Kettlesing nr. Harrogate.
  • 14. Bars at the Hunslet Football & Cricket Club.
  • 15. Nine off-licence shops.