History of Showell's Brewery Company Ltd. at Langley in the county of Worcestershire. Research is augmented with photographs, beer labels, pump clips, stories of local folklore, newspaper articles and a genealogy connections section for those studying their family history.



 

Showell's Brewery Company Ltd.
Showells Brewery Company Ltd.

Some History on this Brewery
This brewery was established by Walter Showell in the mid-19th century and by the end of the Victorian age he and his sons were at the head of a large regional brewery with a tied estate of almost 200 public houses. Not bad going for a man who started out from a modest background.

Walter Showell was born in Birmingham in September 1832 and spent his formative years living with his aunt on Ashted Row. He initially pursued a career as a chemist and druggist and moved to Oldbury to work as an apprentice to Charles Tonge who had a chemist's shop in Birmingham Street. His change of career path came as a result of his marriage in 1854 to Sarah Hartill, the daughter of a master miller based in Oldbury.

With a background in chemistry, his association with a family working with malt perhaps inevitably led to a new career in brewing. He may have also had some financial backing from his father-in-law Joseph Hartill. He established a small brewery in Simpson Street, a short distance from the Dog and Pheasant. His recipes seemingly proved successful because the expansion of his brewing operation was swift. He accumulated enough capital to buy a large tract of land that included the Crosswells Spring. He constructed a new brewery on the site and started production at this larger brewery in 1870.

With a healthy growth of sales, continued expansion came in the mid-1880's when another brewery was built in order to increase production. The outlets for the beer were mainly in Birmingham, along with some houses dotted around the Black Country. The business was registered in March 1887, a time when control of the company was taken over by his son Charles.

Showell's acquired the Brewers' Investment Corporation Ltd. in 1894 which doubled the company's tied estate in Birmingham to around eighty public houses. The firm moved their head office to Great Charles Street and established a warehouse and stores just off Broad Street, the canal link between Birmingham and Oldbury enabling the transportation of goods between the brewery and the supply depot.

The company acquired the Hockley Brewery in 1890 which was arguably logical in their regional expansion plans. However, they took over the Brookfield Brewery in Stockport which brought considerable risk as the firm were suddenly having to supply and service pubs in remote locations. Pubs in London, the south-west and the coast were acquired in the company's ambitious plans of expansion. Some of the board's grand plans however proved to be the firm's downfall and a downturn in the economic climate hit the company hard. They were forced to sell the brewery at Stockport and they also offloaded their London houses to Refell's Bexley Brewery.

Walter Showell died in 1901 at the family home of Stourton Hall near Kinver. Thirteen years later his sons sold the company to Allsopp's of Burton-on-Trent. The sale included 194 public houses and 30 outdoors. The brewery was closed by Allsopp's and they subsequently supplied the tied estate with their beers produced at Burton-on-Trent.
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Showell's Brewery Debenture [1898]

Genealogy Connections
If you have a genealogy story or query regarding this brewery you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Worcestershire Genealogy.

Quotation
Robin Hood and Friar Tuck
“This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption... Beer!”
Friar Tuck - Robin Hood

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