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    Friday, 29 June 2007

    A Beautiful Frontage

    The picture on the left is the front of a former pub in Grendon, Northants. For me it's absolutely fascinating because it still has its old signage: "Praed's Noted Ale And Stout". It's very rare to see such wonderful signage on a pub, and is, of course particularly interesting because the brewery is no longer in operation.

    Campbell Praed & Company started brewing in Wellingborough in 1878. They were successful very quickly, and even as early as 1895 they were making annual profits in excess of £10000. One of the Praed brothers, Arthur, was one of the founding directors of a company called San Francisco Breweries Ltd. I am endeavouring to ascertain if that is actually what we know as Anchor Brewery, and would be interested if anybody has any information.

    In 1920 Praed's bought out a rival Wellingborough brewer W Dulley & Sons, which with the extra 53 licenced premises they inherited meant their beer sales almost doubled. Praed's continued to flourish and in 1949 the business was valued at over £725K, a huge amount of money obviously in those days. Then three years later their brown ale met with success at the National Brewer's Exhibition, thereafter being renamed "Prize Winning Brown". At the end of 1953 though and with 149 licenced premises in their estate the huge Northampton brewers Phipps came a-knocking, and things moved so quickly that a complete take over had happened by March 31st 1954. The brewery itself was demolished just two years later.

    I am not aware of any other Praed signage at all, certainly nothing could compete with Grendon. Eagle-eyed readers may spot the "For Sale" sign. I really hope that the signage is protected in some way. Certainly if any potential purchasers have any idea of spoiling the beautiful facade I will send the boys round.


    MicMac said...

    Hi Maeib - I googled "san francisco brewery limited" & got one result back - - it's from the Master Brewers of America Assoc - a piece on Californian Brewing History - have a search thru for the parag. starting "Fredericksburg Brewery, San Jose. — This plant, which is owned and operated by the San Francisco Breweries, Limited . . ." & goes onto say "an English corporation controlling many of the large breweries on the Pacific coast, and still remaining in possession of the plant."

    I don't know whether it has anything to do with Anchor, but over to you for the research! Cheers, MikeMcG.

    Unknown said...

    There is a former pub in Rushden that still has its original Praed frontage dated 1907 too, check out 31 Grove Road on Google Earth.
    It's no longer a pub, but has been restored and converted retaining its original frontage.