History and Information on Holder's Brewery Ltd. in Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire.

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Holder's Brewery Ltd.

One of Birmingham's principal breweries, Holder's Brewery Limited was owned by a family that became significant benefactors to the town. It is not quite a tale of rags to riches but, from humble beginnings, the family rose through the tiers of society which saw the founder's son becoming the holder of a baronetcy. The story, like so many movers and shakers of the Victorian town, started not in Birmingham, but at the foot of the Cotswold Hills. It was in 1801 that Henry Holder was born in the Gloucestershire village of Bishop's Cleeve. As a young man, the son of a farmer moved north to Birmingham. I suspect he was apprenticed or training under the butcher Isaac Purser as he lived on the same premises at Aston Road in Duddeston. In October 1837 he married the butcher's daughter at the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul at Aston. Henry Holder went into business himself as a butcher. In 1838 he was recorded in the Electoral Roll occupying a house, slaughter house and stable in Coleshill Street.

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Coleshill Street, an extension of Dale End, had a large number of taverns and it was the Rodney Inn - or Rodney Tavern as it was generally known at the time - that attracted the attention of Henry Holder who viewed the business as an opportunity to diversify. He took over the business around 1843 and kept the tavern with his Bewdley-born wife Maria. Henry Holder probably had a penchant for music and entertainment. He may have been inspired by the earlier attempt to put on music entertainment at the George and Dragon, a tavern that stood in the gun quarter on the corner of Weaman Street and Steelhouse Lane. It was there that a small music hall was opened in 1825. It was a simple affair with a raised stage on which a piano was played by Mr. Pearsall, brother of the famous tenor of Lichfield Cathedral Choir. It was a Mr. Roberts who became the first celebrity entertainer at the George and Dragon. Hailing from Aston, the teacher turned comic singer was a big attraction, his most popular song being "When Birmingham's a Seaside Town." Another key attraction at this music hall was the Dragon's Blood strong ale.

Birmingham : Rodney Inn and Concert Hall in Coleshill Street [c.1865]

The dogma of Birmingham's strong non-conformist ideology of the town's administrators made it difficult for entrepreneurs to offer musical entertainment for the working classes in the early 19th century. The endeavour at the George and Dragon failed, but a seed had been planted. Henry Holder's early effort of recreating the spirit of the George and Dragon was to provide sing-songs in a back room of the Rodney Tavern. The room was little more than 30ft by 12ft in which a small band of locals put together a programme of music and singing to entertain the pub's patrons. This proved so popular Henry Holder took over an adjacent building, formerly a manufactory and retail shop, and in 1846 opened a concert hall measuring some 1,674 sq.ft.

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Henry Holder seemingly didn't do half measures and went for broke by investing heavily in the Rodney Concert Room. 600 guineas was spent on the organ alone, a magnificent instrument that had four rows of keys and 27 stops. Built by Hills of London, the organ was installed by Mr. Sanford of Hockley Hill. Mr. J. N. Sola became the first organist and pianist at the Rodney Concert Hall, the grand opening of which took place on June 24th, 1846. Prior to the evening's performance a dinner was attended by 150 men. The entertainment consisted of glee singers, madrigals and choral items, with excerpts from the operas.

Birmingham : Rodney Inn and Concert Hall in Coleshill Street [c.1865]

Henry Holder was possibly making money hand-over-fist but was not one to shirk his civic duty and responsibilities. He made many donations to the Queen's Hospital at Bath Row. He would also stage concerts specifically to raise funds for charity. In addition, he and his wife Maria would also allow other institutions to use their concert hall in order to raise funds through benefit concerts.

One journalist, W. R. Lloyd, published an article which criticised the use of a tavern and music hall for funding a medical institution in Birmingham. This brought a pejorative reply from Henry Holder who stated that the Rodney Concert Hall satisfied a demand for "cheap and popular entertainment for the million; in a place where refreshment can be obtained." He considered that, left to their own devices and without such places of recreation, the labouring classes would simply engage in "dice and dominoes, cards and pitch-and-toss, dog fighting, pugilistic battles and other debasing pursuits." He was keen to stress that alcohol was never allowed to cause a problem in his house and up to 1854 his trained staff had "never admitted any improper, suspicious, or intoxicated person" and had not allowed entrance to "youth of either sex under twenty years of age, unless accompanied by their parents, guardians, or friends." In addition, his staff were trained to "insist on the immediate removal of any person who may attempt to disturb the good order and peace of the hall." Henry Holder was proud to claim that the Rodney Concert Hall had not had one drunken or disorderly person to spoil the great decorum of the place and he had never had occasion to require the services of the police.

Birmingham : Tavern Check for the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall in Coleshill Street [c.1850s]

It is interesting to note the dress of the people stood outside the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall [see above] as it is claimed that Henry Holder's establishment was so high class that patrons were not admitted unless wearing a top hat. I assume that Henry Holder is the man stood by the entrance to the Rodney Inn. He was often described as rather portly! The above tavern check for the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall shows the interior of the auditorium, along with the aforementioned organ.

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The Rodney Concert Hall was so successful that it was enlarged again in 1857. Measuring some 116 feet by 72 feet wide and capable of accommodating 2,000 patrons, it was reputed to be the largest of its kind in the country. To celebrate the occasion, the press reported "a gala programme was presented and the proceeds of £100 3s. 6d. were given to the Queen's Hospital." The Rodney, as with all early music halls, was run on "wet money." The profits from the refreshments paid much of the running expenses as well as the artists' salaries.

Birmingham : Sale of Surplus Furniture, Beer and Brewing Equipment at the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall in Coleshill Street [1861]

The ales sold in the Rodney Inn were produced by the family who employed a brewer. A sale notice, dated March 1861, for surplus household furniture and miscellaneous articles at the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall provides a tantalising glimpse of the quantities being produced for the house. The sale was the result of Henry Hall retiring from the tavern and concert hall, the latter he renamed The Birmingham Concert Hall. Henry Holder may have been considering retirement from this business but he was not about to retire from other commercial enterprises, including brewing and cider production. The Rodney Inn and attached Concert Hall would remain in the Holder's family ownership for a number of years with Messrs. Gardiner and Soward being the tenants.

Birmingham : Sale of Surplus Furniture, Beer and Brewing Equipment at the Rodney Inn and Concert Hall in Coleshill Street [1861]

The above advertisement appeared in the Birmingham newspapers in 1867 and shows that the lease on the Rodney Inn and the Concert Hall was being offered. Even given estate agent embellishment, the premises sounded very lush. Now, this advertisement was offering the lease but it is possible that Henry Holder sold the building at this point. Certainly, this was around the time that he was able to invest in a purpose-built brewery and acquire a large farm at Hanley Castle in Worcestershire. At the latter he went into cider and perry production which was sold in Birmingham. His enlarged brewery, a significant development from the family's brewing operation attached to the Rodney Inn, was located at Gem Street, possibly a larger site behind the concert hall. So far I have only mentioned Henry Holder but he was assisted throughout by his eldest son John Charles Holder. Indeed, it is possible that it was the son who was principally involved with the founding of the Midland Brewery. Having said that, trade directory listings for the brewery showed Henry Holder as the proprietor. The address of the brewery was No.33 Gem Street.

The family involvement with the Birmingham Concert Hall continued for some time. The venue was upgraded by Henry Holder as late as the autumn of 1867, following which there was a grand re-opening benefit concert on December 2nd to raise funds for the Queen's Hospital. The refurbishment and improvements were "executed by Mr. Holland, the renowned decorator of Warwick, under the able superintendence of T. Naden, Esq., the eminent architect." Click here to read about the grand re-opening concert.

The Midland Brewery was evidently producing popular ales and new premises were required for an enlargement of the brewing plant and production capacity. By 1869 the business had been moved to New Thomas Street, a thoroughfare off Coleshill Street. By this time, the Holder family had moved to a farm at Robert's End near Hanley Castle. I imagine that they took a carriage to the railway station at Malvern in order to commute to Birmingham. Henry and Maria Holder later moved to Lansdowne House at Barnard's Green Road in Malvern.

Birmingham : Map showing the location of Holder's Midland Brewery in Nova Scotia Street [1889]

Henry Holder died at Lansdowne House in January 1880. By this time his son John Charles Holder had been running the Midland Brewery for a decade. Further increases of sales and production resulted in a move to a new site close to Curzon Street Goods Station on the corner of Nova Scotia Street and Grosvenor Street. A part of the goods station can be seen in the above map extract dating from 1889. Advertisements for the brewery's ales in this new location emphasised that "they are brewed with the choicest malt and hops and pure artesian well water and are celebrated for their flavour, brilliancy and strength."

Birmingham : Advertisement for Holder's Ales on Tram [c.1900]

The company seemed to favour advertising on trams trundling the streets of Birmingham. There are a number of images floating around the Internet and within books, which feature trams with the name of Holder's emblazoned on the side of the vehicle.

Following the death of his father, John Charles Holder was able to step out of his shadow and spearhead a period of growth and prosperity for the Midland Brewery. Foreseeing growth in the brewing industry, it is claimed that he urged his father to expand the Gem Street brewery and equip the building with modern plant. This was where the brewery started to produce beer for wholesale. The Holder family employed up to twenty men and produced between 100 and 150 barrels per week.

Birmingham : Sir John Charles Holder

John Charles Holder took over the brewing business from his father in 1870. It is thought that the company's move to Nova Scotia Street took place in 1877. The success of the brewery put pressure on this new site and further buildings were added to cope with demand. By the end of the Victorian period Holder's Brewery Limited employed around 200 men. John Holder spotted the trend for breweries to acquire public houses in order to ensure exclusive outlets for the ales produced at Nova Scotia Street and he set about developing a tied estate of properties. The total number of houses within the brewery's estate is thought to have reached 300. I have provided a list of some of these on this page. I do not have a complete list - yet! Like other rival firms in Birmingham, Holder's Brewery Limited started up in the bottled beer trade for the domestic market.

Like his father, John Charles Holder was a generous patron of the many public institutions in Birmingham, particularly with donations to the General Hospital and University. He was considered unostentatious in his philanthropy, and the very antithesis of a man who courted public favour.

He married Worcester-born Geraldine Augusta Baynton Knipe in August 1872. The couple lived for some years with his mother at Lansdowne House in Malvern but later moved to a residence named Pitmaston at Moor Green. The couple had four sons and six daughters. A justice of the peace and deputy-lieutenant for the county of Worcester, along with his appointment of magistrate, John Holder was created baronet in 1898 and was appointed High Sheriff in 1903. His baronetcy was given in the New Year's Honours List of January 1898.

Sir John's mother died on May 14th, 1893, at Lansdowne House, Malvern, aged 83. In July of the same year John Charles Holder paid for a new memorial chancel at Bishop Ryder's Church in memory of his father. Opened in the presence of a large congregation, the chancel was designed by J. A. Chatwin and built by Mr. J. Bowen. The ceiling of the chancel was of wood, with arched ribs, and the floor covered with tiles. An altar cloth was presented by Mrs. Geraldine Holder.

Birmingham : Sale of the Midland Brewery in Nova Scotia Street [1921]

In 1900 Holder's Brewery Limited acquired the City Brewery based at Cato Street North in Nechells. This added over forty tied houses to the estate operated by the company. The brewery at Nechells was sold off to the Vale of Evesham Brewery but this failed during the Edwardian period. Holder's Brewery Limited were themselves acquired by Mitchell's and Butler's in 1919 with Sir John Charles Holder joining the board of the Cape Hill Brewery.

Birmingham : Map showing the re- of Holder's Midland Brewery in Nova Scotia Street [1937]

Mitchell's and Butler's kept the Nova Scotia Street for a short period before the inevitable rationalisation resulted in the closure and sale of the Holder's brewery site. The advertisement above provides good detail of the buildings and plant at Nova Scotia Street. The map extract above shows the site being used as a milk dairy during the inter-war years. Note the Gaiety Palace in the top-left of the map extract. This was the site of the old Rodney Concert Hall run by the Holder family in the early 19th century. After rebuilding, the theatre re-opened as the Gaiety Theatre of Varieties in November 1897.

Leaving effects of £597,278 16s. 5d., Sir John Charles Holder died in April 1923 and was succeeded by his son Henry Charles Holder. He was residing at Linden Hill at Twyford. John Alexander Holder was a resident of Broome House near Clent and Alfred Ernest Holder had moved to Hood Manor at Totnes in Devon.

Birmingham : Terracotta Motif for Holder's Midland Brewery at the Summer Hill Stores on Summer Hill Terrace [2002]

Considering the size of the tied estate operated by Holder's Brewery Limited, it is not that easy to find traces of the company's existence. This motif in terracotta [above] is from the former Summer Hill Stores on Summer Hill Terrace. However the most spectacular legacy of Holder's Brewery Limited can be found on the frontage of the Craven Arms at Upper Gough Street.


Related Newspaper Articles

"A very gratifying testimonial has been presented by the Railway Guards' Friendly Society to Mr. Holder, as a mark of their respect for his uniform liberality, especially the kindness with which he has on several occasions gratuitously placed his establishment at their disposal for benefit concerts. The testimonial consists handsomely-chased silver tea and coffee service, supplied by Messrs. Collis and Co., and bearing the following inscription : "Presented to Mr. Henry Holder, proprietor of the Rodney Music Hall, Coleshill Street, Birmingham, the members of the Birmingham District of the Railway Guards' Universal Friendly Society, as a mark of the high esteem in which he is held by the whole of the members, for his kind and liberal conduct in placing at their disposal his establishment gratis, for five years, in aid of the funds of the Society and they also wish to express their gratitude to Mrs. Holder for her kind and courteous manner upon all occasions. May 15th, 1855."
"Local Intelligence"
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : May 28th 1855 Page 2

"The remains of Sarah Pratt, the young woman who was murdered in Deritend, were buried on Wednesday in the graveyard of St. Bartholomew's Church. The funeral procession started from the house of Jackson, the Swan-with-Two-Necks, about two o'clock, the streets in the neighbourhood being densely crowded with spectators. A body of police, under the direction of Superintendent Sullivan accompanied the procession. At the Church, again, there was a vast throng spectators, by whom the greatest excitement was manifested. The funeral service was read by the Rev. James Eagles the Incumbent. After the ceremony a cry was raised that Mrs. Thompson, the woman to whom the murderer attributed his crime, was on the ground, but it appears that a Mrs. Stanley, the wife of a brewer in the employ of Mr. Henry Holder, was mistaken for Mrs. Thompson, and the mob inflicted serious injuries upon her and would most probably have killed her but for the interference of the police. After discovering their mistake they went back to Deritend, and broke the windows of the woman Thompson's house."
"The Murder in Deritend"
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : April 30th 1860 Page 3

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"The occasion of Mr. Henry Holder leaving the establishment in Coleshill Street which under his able management has grown to colossal proportions, was seized upon by some of his oldest friends to present to him, and other members of his family, substantial tokens of regard and esteem. The annual meeting of the £50. Society was held at the Hotel on Wednesday, when Messrs. Gardiner and Soward, the new lessees, showed their fitness for their office in one material respect by providing a bountiful and excellent dinner for nearly 200 persons. The chair was taken by Mr. T. Robinson, the vice-chair by Mr. J. Clay; and among those present were Messrs. H. and J. Holder, Alderman J. B. Payne, Messrs. W. J. B. Scott, J. Ludlow, T. Daniells, E. Devonport, J. Key. J. Rawlins, C. Jones, J. Norton, J. Langford, Glydon, Denton, Foster, Wolfe, etc. The chief feature of the after-dinner proceedings was the presentation of several articles which had been privately and unostentatiously subscribed for by the members of the £50. Society, and some other friends. For Mr. Henry Holder there was a magnificent silver cup by Messrs. Sherwood and Sons, Birmingham, elegantly chased and embossed, surmounted by a model of the portly form of the recipient; and a splendid driving whip, by Mr. Birtell. For Mrs. Holder there were a pair of beautiful crystal tea-trays, by Messrs. Walton, of Wolverhampton; in the centre of the smaller one was inserted a photograph of the humble hostel the "Rodney," in which Mr. Holder commenced business; and in the larger one a picture of the fine pile of building just completed under his auspices. For Miss Holder there was a very handsome workbox and dressing-case, with family likenesses inserted in the lid; and for Mr. John Holder, who has rendered his father good service, a capital gold-mounted hunting whip. These presents were handed to the recipients by the chairman, amidst enthusiastic applause, in a speech replete with hearty good feeling, which was thoroughly reciprocated by the Messrs. Holder in their brief but sincere acknowledgments. The health of the chairman, the vice-chairman, the visitors, and others, were afterwards proposed, and the harmonic efforts of some of the professional gentlemen connected with the establishment were supplemented by some good amateur singing. The evening was spent right pleasantly by all present, and in the course of the festivities Mr. Holder presented to Mr. W. Giles, the secretary of the £50. Society, an elegant silver snuff-box, by Mr. Horton, High Street, "as a mark of respect, and as acknowledgment of honourable and upright conduct for upwards of twelve years." The cup presented to Mr. H. Holder bore the following inscription : "Presented to Henry Holder, Esq., by subscription, as a token of respect, and in acknowledgment of his uprightness of character, beneficence, and kindness of disposition."
"Presentation of Testimonials"
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : May 11th 1861 Page 5

"At the Public Office yesterday [Friday], before the Mayor and Alderman Phillips, a special session was held for hearing appeals against the parochial assessment. The only case of interest was that of Messrs. Gardiner and Soward, the proprietors of Holder's Hotel and Concert Room, Coleshill Street, who appealed against the assessment of that establishment at £949. gross annual value, £729. net rateable value. Mr. Edwin Wright, solicitor, and Mr. Corder, clerk to the Guardians, appeared in support of the assessment, and Mr. Hawkes for the appellants. Mr. H. Leonard, the parish surveyor, proved the correctness of the assessment, assuming the value of the structural works, i.e. the buildings on area of 1,430 square yards, at £11,886. 0n behalf of the appellants, Mr. Henry Holder, the owner, and late occupier of the premises, proved that the entire outlay upon the structural works, including the architect's commission, was £10,135., from which would have to be deducted about £1,700., the value of three houses not included in the present assessment. Mr. J. Ludlow, surveyor, estimated the net rateable value of the premises at £479.; and Mr. Hornblower, surveyor, fixed the total gross annual value at £576., and deducting one-sixth, left £480. as the rateable value. Mr Richard Clarke, valuer to the corporation of Birmingham, in January last valued the premises at £479. net annual value, for the Birmingham Improvement Rate. The sum fixed upon by the valuer for "goodwill" to be paid by the present tenant of the premises as included in the rent of £1,000. a year. The Bench, after a brief deliberation, reduced the assessment from £729. to £550."
"The Parochial Assessment"
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : May 11th 1861 Page 6

"The Birmingham Concert Hall, which has undergone an elaborate process of decoration and renovation, was re-opened last evening, under the management of the original proprietor, Mr. Henry Holder, when the entertainment was for the benefit of the Queen's Hospital. The distinguished patronage of the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, Lord Leigh, Mr. Davenport Bromley, M.P., and Mr. G. Dixon, M.P., had been secured; and Mr. Holder, with a liberality which cannot be too highly commended, had undertaken to hand over to the Hospital the whole of the receipts of the inaugural performances, making no deduction whatever for expenses. In the way of embellishment the hall, as we have already stated, has undergone a complete metamorphosis; the auditorium, wherever practical, has been improved, so as to secure additional comfort, and convenience; and the old proscenium and stage properties have been replaced by others of a more elaborate and artistic character. A new drop-scene, by Mr. Johnson, of the New Queen's Theatre, London, is really a work of art. The programme of last night exhibited in itself a desire on the part of Mr. Holder to cultivate a higher class of music than that which characterises the performances of many concert halls; and with that desire is combined, we know, a determination that respectability shall mark not only the management but the audience. These are two virtues which it is to be hoped will meet with the full appreciation of the public. Among the list of artistes engaged are Miss Edith Percy, prima donna; Miss Rosina Bellingham, contralto; Mr. Viottl Glover, baritone; Mr. G. W. Jester a very clever ventriloquist, from the "Polytechnic;" Mr. Liskard, a musical Momus; Messrs, Harcourt and Daniels, a couple of delineators of negro life, who have already gained much favour elsewhere in Birmingham; Mr. C. J. Sansom, a comic of considerable renown in the concert hall world; and Mdlle. Alida and Mdlle. Lucle, Parisienne danseuses who made their debut, supported by an efficient corps de ballet, Mr. Harry Sidney, the well-known comic author and vocalist, was the special attraction of the evening, and he favoured the audience, as is his wont, with some impromptu and amusing effusions apropos to the occasion. For the first time out of London, a selection from Offenbach's comic opera, "Orphée aux Enfers," was performed. The services of Mr. Russell Grove, late of the London Pavilion and the Regent Concert Halls have been secured as the stage manager and musical director and the orchestra, consisting of seventeen instrumentalists, is under the leadership of Mr. G. Hayward. There was an overflowing and appreciative audience, everything passed off satisfactorily, and in remembrance of old associations, Mr. Holder and his son were called before the curtain and were most heartily greeted."
"The Birmingham Concert Hall"
Birmingham Daily Post : December 3rd 1867 Page 8

"Annie Elizabeth Taylor, beer retailer, the Windmill Inn, Dudley Road, brought an action against J. C. Holder, brewer, the Midland Brewery, Nova Scotia Street, and W. J. Seal, auctioneer, Union Street, to recover £50. damages for illegal distress. Mr. Dale [instructed by Messrs. East and Smith] appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Parfitt [instructed by Messrs. J. B. Clarke and Co.] for the defendants. The plaintiff, at the time the action was commenced, was a single woman, named Osborne, and arrived on business at the Windmill Inn, Dudley Road. Since then she had married a man named Taylor, but continued the business in her own name. She was the tenant of the public house under Mr. Holder, at a rent of £60. a year. At Christmas last she owed £30. for rent, less the property tax and water rate. On the 3rd January a bailiff named Jonathan Bradley levied a distress upon her goods. Bradley was sent by the defendant Seal, and the warrant purported to show that Bradley was the servant of Walter Cooper, a certificated bailiff. The case for the plaintiff was that Cooper had never authorised Bradley to levy, and that in point of fact Seal was the person who gave Bradley the instructions. Neither Bradley nor Seal was certificated to act as a bailiff, and therefore they could not levy a distress. Plaintiff consulted her solicitors, and an application was made by them for an injunction, which his Honour had granted, against Seal and Bradley. The bailiff stayed in the house altogether eight weeks, fed on the best he could get in the house, and smoked cigars at the expense of the plaintiff. The plaintiff paid money to Seal under the distress, and altogether had overpaid him £2. 0s. 9d. Some days after the distress was levied Cooper levied a distress for gas, and then discovered that Bradley was in possession. Cooper was paid out by Seal, and he had nothing more to do with the matter. The defence was that Bradley told Seal that Cooper was accustomed to authorise him to act on his behalf, and that Seal accordingly took the steps he did as the agent of Mr. Holder. Witnesses were called on both sides, but the case was not concluded when the Court adjourned."
"Alleged Illegal Distress"
Birmingham Daily Post : April 28th 1891 Page 6

"The Birmingham Coroner held an enquiry this afternoon relative to the death of Frederick William Payne [41], 47, Francis Street, whose dead body was found on Wednesday evening last at the bottom of the hydraulic lift at Holder's Brewery, Nova Scotia Street, where he was employed as a foreman cellarer. Mrs. Payne said that her husband left home on Tuesday, March 29, after dinner. He did not return, and she gave information to the police on the following day. She did not hear anything of him until his body was discovered. William Cochson, the engine-driver at the brewery, deposed that a search had been made throughout the premises when it was known that the deceased was missing, but the efforts had been unsuccessful. The lift had been working night and day until just before six o'clock when the chain came off pulley. Witness got down into the dark well to remedy this defect, when his hand came into contact with a man's head, and striking a match found Payne lying dead. By Mr. Clarke [who appeared for the company] : There was electric light on every floor. Several fellow-employees spoke to seeing the deceased on Tuesday night, March 29th, whe he put on his overcoat and wished them "Good night," preparatory to going home."
"Birmingham Brewery Mystery"
Birmingham Mail : April 16th 1904 Page 3

"Mr. Justice Joyce had before him in the Chancery Division yesterday the action Davies v. Holder's Brewery [Limited], in which Mrs. Ada Anne Beatrice Davies, Tennyson Road, Small Heath, claimed against defendants, brewers in Nova Scotia Street, Birmingham, injunction restraining them from further pulling down or making further alterations at 30 and 31, Nova Scotia Street, or in the boundary wall dividing the premiees demised to defendants, on the north side from their premises, or from otherwise committing a breach of a covenant to keep in good and substantial repair; and an injunction to restrain them from continuing certain erections. Mr. Tomlin, K.C., and Mr. Francis Errington were for plaintiff, and Mr. Hughes, K.C., and Mr. Roope Reeve for defendants. Mr. Tomlin said the covenant was accepted by defendant, who had an under-lease of the premises. The action was in respect of Nos. 28, 29, and 31. Nova Sootia Street, and a court at the back called Court No. 5, the numbers being 1 to 11. The only entrance to the court was a footway which ran under No. 29. Mr. Currie, agent to plaintiff, became aware in August, 1913, that a cartway was being driven through the ground floor of No. 30. Nova Scotia Street, into the yard at the rear. Defendants' solicitor had approached him for permission to carry out certain alterations, and Mr. Currie said this could not be done because the matter affected not only plaintiff, but the freeholders, and they must be communicated with. Defendants did not do this, but proceeded with the work, and pulled down Nos. 9 and 10, of Court No. 5, together with a port of the wall. Defendants had apparently treated the matter in a very high-handed manner, and said the alteration was of such importance to the brewery that they did not intend to wait for any permission. Then Mrs. Davies's solicitors wrote to defendants, and in reply it was stated that defendants were making extension of their premises, and in order to facilitate building operations they had cut an opening through the ground floor of No. 30 for the purpose of easy access to the land behind, which was their own freehold, and they would make good all damage. It was also added that plaintiff was probably aware that four of the cottages were taken down some years previously order the Housing Committee. Defendants further said they had spent a considerable sum in rebuilding the premises and necessary outhouses, and that they were fully aware of their obligations under their lease. That was the first notice they had had, said counsel, of this alteration and demolition of the cottages. His Lordship gave judgment for plaintiff with costs, and with declaration that the acts and defaults of defendants specified in Paragraph 4 of the statement of claim were breaches of the covenants in the under-lease, and that defendants were liable for such breaches. His Lordship gave liberty to apply."
"Alleged Breach of Covenant"
Birmingham Daily Post : November 11th 1914 Page 3

"At the Victoria Court, today, the Acting Under Sheriff for Warwickshire [Mr. H. M. Blenkinsopp] and a jury sat for the purpose of assessing the damages to be awarded to Henry Rowe [47], iron moulder, 101 James Street, who had previously obtained judgment against Holder's Brewery, Ltd., Nova Scotia Street, in respect of personal injuries sustained on October 15tb last, through the negligence the defendants' servants, in leaving a hand lorry partly across the footpath in Lodge Road. Mr. Arthur Ward [instructed by Mr. A. J. Hatwell] appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. J. F. Eales [instructed by Blewitt and Co.] represented the defendants. For the plaintiff it was explained that on the evening in question he was walking along Lodge Road. It was a very dark night, partial lighting restrictions then being in force, and as he was passing tbe King's Arms public-house where defendants' draymen bad been delivering barrels of beer, fell over the hand lorry which had been left unattended, and fractured his right leg so badly that would never be able follow his employment again. He had been in the employ of Tangyes, Ltd., for seventeen years, and would now have been earning £3 15s. or £4 a week. Plaintiff gave evidence, and in reply to Mr. Eales said he had been used to the heavy class of castings. He would try do light work when able, but that would not be yet. Medical evidence having been given, the jury assessed tbe damages at £400."
"Award of £400 against Holder's Brewery"
Birmingham Mail : March 7th 1916 Page 3

"Widespread regret well be expressed at the death of Sir John Holder, Bart., which occurred yesterday morning at his residence, Pitmaston, Moor Green, Birmingham. He passed peacefully away after a long illness. The funeral will take place at Malvern at 12.30 tomorrow and will be quite private. The family request no flowers should be sent. A memorial service will be held in the Cathedral Church. Birmingham, at noon. By the death of Sir John Holder, the city has lost one of its noblest citizens, and probably its most generous benefactor. His one aim in life his was to further the cause of all sections of the community, and while the General Hospital stands as a lasting monument to his name, his generosity was by no means confined to that institution in which throughout his life he took a keen personal interest. A similar memorial to his large-hearted gifts is to be found in the Birmingham University, for he was one of the chief donors towards the endowment of the new buildings at Bournbrook. A prominent churchman, not only the diocesan funds, but those of numberless churches and other places of worship in the Midlands frequently benefited handsomely by his generosity. No deserving appeal, charitable, philanthropic, or personal, made to him remained answered. Eighty-four years of age, Sir John was born in Birmingham on 10th December, 1830, his father being Henry Holder, the proprietor of the Midland Brewery. Gem Street. Educated privately, he entered his father's offices at an early age. In April 1919, Holder's Brewery Ltd. was amalgamated with and became part and parcel of Messrs. Mitchell's and Butler's Ltd., Cape Hill. Though now a long time ago, the historic meeting at the Town Hall in 1891, when Sir John announced donations amounting to £75,000 towards the proposed new General Hospital, will not be easily forgotten. The building, which cost £219,459 5s. 7d., was opened free of debt in July, 1897. Sir John's total contributions amounted to a very considerable sum, while Lady Holder's own contribution to the Chapel was scarcely less handsome. Prior to joining the General Hospital Committee, Sir John served the Queen's Hospital in a similar capacity. He was one of the members of the first Worcestershire County Council, but he soon resigned and devoted himself to his business, much private work in connection with such movements as the Blue Coat School, the Dudley Trust, the House of Laymen in London, and the University Council. on the Buildings Committee of which he was a force. Sir John's love of pictures was well known. He had a very valuable collection at his home, Pitmaston, at Moor Green. To the English masters he devoted much attention, and at Pitmaston there is a valuable collection. From time to time he presented many valuable pictures to the Birmingham Art Gallery. Sir John leaves a widow and four sons and six daughters. Mr. H. C. Holder, the eldest son, succeeds to the baronetcy. In asking the Birmingham Diocesan Conference to send letter of sympathy to Lady Holder, the Bishop of Birmingham said Sir John's one thought was to be use and service to the great city of which he was so prominent a member."
"Sir J. Holder Dead"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : April 27th 1923 Page 3

"Mr. J. A. Holder, a pioneer motorist and balloonist and a former Birmingham brewer, Mr. John Alexander Holder has died at his home in Hampshire. He was 80. A son of Sir John Holder, he was born at Pitmaston, Moor Green, and after leaving Repton School he joined the family brewery business as a director. When the business was sold he was able to devote most of his time to the adventurous sports he loved. While still at Repton he had built a full-sized steam-roller in the school workshops, afterwards driving it home to Birmingham in a journey that took 3½ days. Later, while living in Worcestershire, he built a passenger-carrying model railway, part of which was lent to the great exhibition at Wembley in 1925. King George V and Queen Mary were among the passengers carried on the train when driven by his only son. Mr. Terence Holder. Motoring was perhaps his favourite hobby. In 1897 he was the first man to drive round Loch Tay, in Scotland, and among the early trials in which he took part was one of 1,000 miles from London to Edinburgh and back. He was one of the original members of the Royal Automobile Club. In his exploits as a balloonist he was closely associated with Mr. Charles Rollason. He also raced successfully on the water. In 1904, Mr. Holder married Miss Muriel Dorothy Forrest, youngest daughter of the then Dean of Worcester. She survives him, together with a son and daughter."
"Mr. J. A. Holder"
Birmingham Daily Post : July 2nd 1957 Page 24


Pubs Operated by Holder's Brewery Ltd.
Please note : This is not a complete list but simply those I have a record of being operated by this brewery.

Acorn - Ashted Row, Duddeston
Albion - Bath Road, Diglis
Albion Inn - Hope Street, Highgate
American Bar - Coleshill Street, Birmingham
Anchor - High Street, West Bromwich
Army and Navy - Barford Street, Birmingham
Bank Tavern - New John Street West
Barley Mow - Latimer Street, Birmingham
Barrel Inn - Cross Street, West Bromwich
Bath Tavern - Mary Street, Balsall Heath
Bear - Stratford Road, Sparkhill
Beehive - Bissell Street, Highgate, Birmingham
Beehive - Larches Street, Sparkbrook
Beehive - Nelson Street, Sand Pits
Bell Barn Tavern - Bell Barn Road, Lee Bank
Belle Vue Tavern - Wheeler Street, Lozells
Birmingham House - Summer Lane, Aston
Black Boy - Birmingham Street, Oldbury
Black Cock - Guns Lane, West Bromwich
The Black Horse in Park Lane in Birmingham [c.1910]
Black Horse - Park Lane, Birmingham
Boar's Head - Bradford Street, Bordesley
Brewer and Baker - Gooch Street, Highgate
Brewery Tavern - Nova Scotia St., Birmingham
Bricklayer's Arms - Moorson Street, Aston
Britannia - Hampton Street, Hockley
Britannia - Heneage Street, Aston
Britannia - Nechells Place, Nechells
Britannia - Princip Street, Gun Quarter
Britannia - Warwick Road, Tysesley
British Engineer - Wellington Street
British Queen - Lee Bank Road, Lee Bank
Brook Tavern - Lennox Street, Lozells
Brook Tavern - Stone Street, Oldbury
Brown Lion - Essex Street, Birmingham
Bull's Head - Stratford Road, Hall Green
Burton Stores - The Parade, Birmingham
Calthorpe Arms - New John Street West
Camden Tavern - Camden Street, Sand Pits
Castle - Prospect Row, Birmingham
Castle Inn - Cranford Street, Smethwick
Cherry Arbour - Stratford Street, Highgate
Church Tavern - Sandwell Rd., W. Bromwich
Church Tavern - Trinity Road, West Bromwich
Clock Tavern - Ashted Row, Duddeston
Compasses - High Street Deritend, Birmingham
Cottage Inn - High Street, Harborne
Craven Arms - Upper Gough St., Birmingham
Cricketer's Arms - Wrentham Street, Highgate
Cromwell Arms - Cromwell Street, Vauxhall
Crown - Prospect Hill, Redditch
Crown - Upper Sutton Street, Birmingham
Cup - Maney, Sutton Coldfield
Denbigh Arms - Great Hampton Row, Hockley
Eagle Tavern - Park Lane, Oldbury
Fountain Inn - Bromford Lane, Oldbury
Freemason's Arms - Kidderminster
Gardener's Arms, Woodcock St., Birmingham
George - Birmingham Street, Oldbury
George Hotel - Holly Bush Road, Bridgnorth
George & Dragon - Great King Street
Gladstone Arms - Clifton Road, Sparkbrook
Globe Inn - Benacre Street, Birmingham
Golden Ball - Parsonage Street, Oldbury
Golden Cross - Snow Hill, Birmingham
Golden Cross - Bromsgrove
Golden Horse - Duddeston Row, Birmingham
Golden Lion, Spring Hill, Brookfields
Gough Arms - Hurst Street, Birmingham
Grand Junction - Great Colmore Street
Grand Turk - Ludgate Hill, Birmingham
Granville Bar - Broad Street, Birmingham
Grapes Inn - Heneage Street, Birmingham
Grapes - Glover Street, West Bromwich
Grapes - High Street, West Bromwich
Great Western - Moor Street, West Bromwich
Green Man - Summer Lane, Aston Newtown
Greyhound, Spon Lane, West Bromwich
Gun Barrel Grinders' Arms - New John St. West
Gunmaker's Arms, Cromwell Street, Birmingham
Hen & Chickens - Summer Hill Street
Hop & Barleycorn - Dudley Port, Tipton
Hop Pole - Sherlock Street, Birmingham
Hope & Anchor - Fisher Street, Birmingham
Horse & Jockey - Great Lister Street
Horse & Jockey - Lyng Lane, West Bromwich
Jolly Boatman - Fazeley Street, Birmingham
Jolly Collier - The Brades, Oldbury
Justice Inn - Scholefield Street, Birmingham
King Bruce - Coleshill Street, Birmingham
King Edward's Stores - King Edward's Road
King's Arms - Alcester Road South
King's Head - Brearley Street, Birmingham
King's Arms - Sherlock Street, Birmingham
King's Arms - Suffolk Street, Birmingham
King'Arms - Whittall Street, Gun Quarter
Lamp - Bull Street, Birmingham
Lamp Tavern - High Street Bordesley
Lamp Tavern - Steward Street, Birmingham
Lewisham Hotel - High St., West Bromwich
Lion Inn - Great Bridge, Tipton
Lion & Lamb, Macdonald Street, Highgate
Lodge Tavern - Lodge Road, West Bromwich
Lord Byron - Farm Street, Hockley
Lord Clifden - Great Hampton Street, Hockley
Lord Nelson - Skinner Lane, Birmingham
The Masons' Arms at Solihull [c.1906]
Masons' Arms - High Street, Solihull
Mazeppa - Elwell Street, Wednesbury
Merrivale - Dog Kennel Lane, Langley
Moulder's Arms - Washington Street
Nag's Head - Great Bridge, Tipton
National Arms - South Road, Sparkbrook
New Inns - Summer Road, Birmingham
New Peacock - Aston Road, Birmingham
New Royal Exchange - Great Colmore Street
Observatory - Barker Street, Lozells
Oddfellows' Arms - Sherlock Street
Oddfellows' Arms - Carter's Green
Old Crown - Hargate Lane, West Bromwich
Old Engine - Dale End, Birmingham
Old White Lion - Lancaster St., Birmingham
Old Windmill - Dudley Road, Winson Green
Paul Pry Inn - New Summer Street, Birmingham
Plasterer's Arms - Lupin Street, Birmingham
Plough & Harrow - Webster Street, Aston
Plumber's Arms - Tyndall St., West Bromwich
Plume of Feathers - Miles Street, Birmingham
President Lincoln - Gooch Street, Highgate
Prince of Wales - Mount Street, Nechells
Railway Inn - Harwood St., West Bromwich
Red Cow - Church Street, Oldbury
Red Lion - Brearley Street, Birmingham
Red Lion - Union Street, West Bromwich
Reservoir Tavern - Eyre Street, Spring Hill
Rising Sun - Talbot Street, Birmingham
Roebuck - Darwin Street, Highgate
Roebuck - Upper Rushall Street
Roebuck - New Street, West Bromwich
Royal Oak - Causeway Green Road, Langley
Royal Oak - Dudley Port, Tipton
St. George & Dragon - Great King Street
St. Luke's Tavern - St. Luke's Road
Salmon Tavern - Severn Street, Birmingham
Samson & Lion - Yardley Green Road
Saracen's Head - Summer Lane, Aston
Selly Park Hotel - Pershore Road, Selly Oak
Shrubbery - Toll End, Tipton
Station Hotel - Sutton Coldfield
Stores - Shakespeare Street, Birmingham
Stork Stores - Harding Street, Smethwick
Summer Hill Stores - Summer Hill Terrace
Swan Hotel - Swan Street, Alcester
Sycamore - Clay Lane, Langley
Talbot - Dudley Street, West Bromwich
Talbot - Cinderhill, Coseley
Talfourd Arms - Talfourd Street, Small Heath
Telegraph Inn - Stour Street, Birmingham
Thatched House Tavern - Duddeston Row
Three Horseshoes - Irving Street, Lee Bank
Three Tuns - Digbeth, Birmingham
Train Tavern - Great Francis Street
Trees - Bristol Road, Birmingham
Turf Tavern - New Town Row
Turf Tavern - Toll End, Tipton
Turk's Head - Newhall Street, Birmingham
Unicorn - Summer Lane, Aston Newtown
Union - Berners Street, Lozells
Union - Lower Cross Street, Smethwick
Victoria - Bristol Street, Birmingham
The Villa Tavern on Villa Street at Lozells in Birmingham [c.1934]
Villa Tavern - Villa Street, Lozells
Vine - Hill Top, West Bromwich
Vine Inn - Burbury Street, Hockley
Warwick Castle - Saltley Road, Birmingham
Warwick House - Cregoe Street, Birmingham
Waggon & Horses - Heneage Street
Waggon & Horses - Ruston Street
Welcome - Great Lister Street, Birmingham
Welcome Inn - Park Road, Hockley
Wellington - Hick Street, Birmingham
Wharf Tavern - Wharf Street, Birmingham
Wheatsheaf - Cinderhill, Coseley
White Hart - Great Tindal Street, Birmingham
White Hart - Buckingham Street, Aston
White Hart - Hampton Street, Hockley
White Horse - Newbury Lane, Oldbury
White Horse - Upper Ettingshall
White Lion - Coleman street, Birmingham
White Lion - Henry Street, Birmingham
White Lion - Oozells Street, Ladywood
White Swan - Branston Street, Hockley
White Swan - Ingleby Street, Ladywood
White Swan - Navigation Street, Birmingham
Windmill - Tantany Lane, West Bromwich
Windsor Castle - Sams Lane, West Bromwich
Woodman - Dale Street, Wednesbury
Woodman - Well Street, Birmingham

In addition to public houses, Holder's Brewery Limited operated a number of off licences. This is one example, sadly with a tragic story.

"The death of Philip Nutting [51], 17, Templefield Street, formed the subject of an enquiry before Mr. Bradley [City Coroner] today. Mrs. Nutting, the widow, said her husband was a packing case maker. Trade had been short with him, and this circumstance had worried him very much. He retired to rest about eleven o'clock Friday night, and when she followed an hour later he asked for some milk, saying: "I've done it. I've took some that stuff." She found a bottle containing spirits of salts in his pocket. Dr. Parker, house physician at the General Hospital, said Nutting died early the following morning. Witness ascribed death to shock following the poison. A verdict of "Suicide" was returned."
"Birmingham Man's Suicide"
Birmingham Mail : February 15th 1915 Page 3

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Birmingham : Faience Tiled Panel at the Craven Arms in Upper Gough Street [2002]

Birmingham : Faience Tiled Corner Badge at the Craven Arms in Upper Gough Street [2002]

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