24 Oct. 2013: Rival brewers and the scramble for property

Drinkers in public houses would have had a bewildering time of it. In the eastern half of Norfolk in the second half of the 18th century there were few publican brewers who brewed on the premises. The commercial or common brewers had the retail sector in their grip and traded their outlets rapidly as fortunes rose and fell.

This struggle for ascendancy—or scramble for property, as it was known in the late 19th century—was already well established by the time of Mary Hardy’s birth in 1733.

Tuttington, the Ship House

The former Ship at Tuttington, near Aylsham. Drinkers here had their beer supplied by six different breweries in turn in the 120 years to 1900 as the property was traded between the wholesalers

On Thursday 24 October 2013 Margaret Bird, the editor of Mary Hardy’s diary, will give an illustrated talk to the Aylsham Local History Society on the competition to secure retail outlets in the area. Entitled ‘Rival brewers in north-east Norfolk in the 18th century‘, the meeting will be held at 7.30 pm in the Friendship Hall, at the corner of Cawston Road (the B1145) and Mill Road.

Visitors are welcome, with a fee of £3.00 per person. The full programme is given on the society’s website.

A village public house

Tuttington stands as just one example. During Mary Hardy’s Coltishall years 1773–81 she notes the comings and goings of the innkeepers from the Ship as they call with their orders and beer payments and notify her that a new family will be taking over.

Within 15 years the house had changed hands from her husband’s brewery to that of his Coltishall competitor, the thrusting young brewer Chapman Ives. Early in the 19th century it passed to Siday Hawes, also of Coltishall. In 1841 it was sold to the Erpingham brewery of John Brown, only to return to supply by the Hardys from their base at Letheringsett in the north of the county. In 1896, after the death of Mary Hardy’s grandson, it was sold to Morgans, the Norwich brewers.

Sometimes the distance between brewery and outlet was great: perhaps as much as 25 miles. Both the innkeeper and the drayman faced great difficulties in maintaining the link.

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Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

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