History of Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire.


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1845 Trade Directory for Birmingham

Birmingham, the capital of the Midland counties, an emporium of the mechanic arts, is what in other places should be called a city, on account of its importance but is not legally entitled to the designation. It was anciently called Bromwycham, the broom village home, several adjacent places having a similar derivative, as Castle Bromwich, Little Bromwich, West Bromwich, Bromsgrove, the Bromleys, Broom, Broomhill, etc. How the name came at an early date to be corrupted into Birmingham is not at all known. The old pronunciation is, however, it should be observed, still preserved among some classes, and is the popular term of Brummagem. The name has caused much controversy, and imposture even has been resorted to by the advocates of particular doctrines.

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Birmingham Streets & Suburbs

Birmingham Breweries

Ansell's Brewery Ltd.

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This brewery was founded by Joseph Ansell in 1857. He was originally a maltster and hop merchant but, together with two of his sons, he moved into the brewing business in 1881. I have a fair amount of information on this brewery so have created a separate page for the company. Click here to read more about Ansell's Brewery Limited of Aston.

Atkinson's Brewery Ltd.

Queen's Road with Atkinson's Brewery in Aston [c1968]

This brewery was founded as Atkinson's Brothers and based at the Aston Park Brewery. The company operated taverns in the surrounding areas, particularly in the Black Country and Warwickshire. The brothers came to Birmingham when the original Model Brewery founded by William Smith was sold off in 1878. I have a bit of information regarding this firm so have created a separate page for the company. Click here to read more about Atkinson's Brewery Limited of Aston.

Grigg & Brettell Ltd.

This brewery was located in Kyrwicks Lane in Sparkbrook. Former gunsmith Edward Knight was the proprietor in the mid-1870s. In April 1876 he succeeded Thomas Smith as the licensee of the Cottage of Content public house at No.51 Kyrwicks Lane, though it is not certain if the brewery was behind the pub or based at another location in the street. Henry Grigg acquired the business in 1895. The firm was registered in 1907 but, as part of the bigger breweries movement that mopped up the local competition, the brewery was bought out by the Holt Brewery Company in 1912. It is not clear how many public houses were tied to Grigg & Brettell Ltd. The company must have been supplying a number of properties to have attracted the attention of the Holt Brewery Company.

Holt Brewery Company

This brewery was founded in February 1887 although the company was established to formally acquire the brewery of Henry Fulford created in 1872. Holt's were fairly aggressive and acquired other local breweries in order to gain and secure their share of the Birmingham market. They expanded their estate considerably when they bought the Sparkbrook-based Grigg & Brettell Ltd. in 1912 and Myatt's of Wolverhampton in 1927. By the time the company had 250 public houses, Holt's were themselves acquired by Ansell's Brewery Limited in 1934.


A Halted Mail Coach by Henry Thomas Alken [The British Postal Museum and Archive]

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Bar Parlour Stained Glass

Beer is Best Poster

Pipe Smoker with Beer

Drinking Beer from a Tankard

Drinking Beer from a Tankard

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