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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:08 am 
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Massey's: Burnley's famous brewers

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/lancashire/ ... 370395.stm

If you live in Burney, you must have heard of Massey's.

The Massey family dabbled in the cotton trade, but were more well known for being the owners of the Bridge End Brewery, founded around 1750.

The company once owned over 150 pubs and off-licenses in the town and Edward Stocks Massey was generous with his wealth.

Alan Gall tells us more about the history of the famous Burnley brewing family...

The duty of a parent to name a baby should not be taken lightly. Mr Child, for example, must have been thinking of future prosperity when his son was christened Baron de Roths in about 1888.

But the Palmer family of Brentford might have been taking things a little too far with 'Lord Sir' for their offspring. Surprisingly the first name 'Lord' is not totally uncommon - over a thousand examples exist - and this was given to a number of males in the Massey family of Burnley.


The Bridge End Brewery at Burnley is reputed to have been founded in 1750. It operated under the name of Lord Massey until 1889, when Massey's Burnley Brewery Ltd. was formed. The Massey family also dabbled in the cotton trade, and owned the Victoria Mill, Trafalgar Street.

Trade was poor for Massey's from about 1908. The Investor's Guardian of 9 December 1922, reported that the Chairman had sent a circular to shareholders warning that if matters did not improve, there would be a drastic impact on dividends. Matthew Brown & Co. Ltd. of Preston had put in a bid, by cash or an exchange of shares, an offer that he personally recommended. It would appear that this didn't happen.

The problem was a loss of sales owing to pub closures under the Compensation Act and one way of getting out of the doldrums was to take over the local competition, if finance could be raised. In 1925 Masseys acquired William Astley of Nelson followed by J. Grimshaw Ltd. during 1928 and then John Kenyon Ltd. of Cloughfold later that year.

The Astley family were looking to relinquish active management of their brewery and decided that flotation of the business under the umbrella of a larger company might be the answer. In 1921 Astleys had their estate valued at £293,720; £40,000 for the Nelson Brewery and the balance for 50 pubs and miscellaneous properties, totalling 75 separate lots in all.

Considerable profit

Matthew Brown was approached about the flotation but the negotiations ran into difficulties. When William Astley died, his executors sold the business to Massey's.

Apart from the Burnley Clubs Brewery, J. Grimshaw Ltd. was Massey's last competitor in Burnley. J. Pletts & Sons Ltd. of the Borough Brewery, Stanley Street, had appointed a liquidator in 1923 and Grimshaws had already absorbed G.D.L. Fernandes' Old Brewery on Bridge Street in 1918.

The purchase of Grimshaws, financed by the issue of shares, gave Massey's about 120 houses. Many were in Burnley itself and by 1939 the company had over 150 pubs and off-licenses in the town.

John Kenyon Ltd. operated from the Rossendale Brewery on Bacup Road, near to the Rossendale Union Gas Works. The company's major acquisition was the Edenfield Brewery Co. Ltd. bought during World War I. This substantially increased Kenyon's pub estate so that Massey's inherited another 78 outlets.

In 1904 the Mayor of Burnley received a very unusual letter from Edward Stocks Massey JP. The brewery had made a considerable profit for the owners over the preceding years and now Edward was prepared to see most of his fortune, estimated at over £125,000 after death duties, go to the town of Burnley.

There was a catch.

If the police or magistrates should close any of Massey's pubs in the borough of Burnley, then the full value of the property would be deducted from the town's inheritance. The letter made pointed reference to the recent refusal of a licence for the Wheat Sheaf Inn; "This loss might have been avoided if the frequenters of the house, who were inhabitants of Burnley, had been more careful as to their conduct."

Prize Stout

The period over which this clause was to operate extended from the date of the will to the time of death. As it turned out, the will in force on 27 December 1909, when Edward Stocks Massey died following a stroke (aged 60) had only been drawn up and signed ten months before.

The eleven-page document revealed that the University of Manchester was to receive a gift of £6,800 plus any additional amount forfeited from Burnley's share of the closure of pubs. eventually the university received £10,386.

The donation of the money helped to fund a new professorship called the Edward Stocks Massey chair of Electrotechnics, with Robert Beattie as the first holder. The title ceased with the death of F.C. (Freddie) Williams, famous for his involvement with the world's stored-program computer at Manchester.

Massey's introduced an Owl trademark in 1937. This featured on beer labels, although the exact style varied in detail. The bottled beers included Massey's 6d Special Mild Ale, Prize Stout, King's Ale, Golden Bitter Beer and Pale Ale. The brewery also successfully entered their products in numerous competitions.

Massey's Burnley Brewery was taken over by Charrington United Breweries Ltd. in 1966 and came under Charrington Lancashire Breweries Ltd. The Birmingham brewers Mitchells & Butlers Ltd. merged with Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd. in 1961 to form Bass, Mitchells & Butlers, which then combined with Charrington United Breweries in 1967 to become Bass Charrington Ltd.

Edward Stocks Massey had married Eleanor Harrison in 1887 and taken up residence at Bamford Hall, near Rochdale. He may have sent his butler out for a jug of Massey's ale at the Grapes Inn, 69 Bamford Road, Bamford.

The Bridge End Brewery stood near to the junction of Active Way (A679) and Westgate, close to the river Calder. Numbers 31 and 33 Westgate now mark the site.

Edward's legacy lives on and two students from Burnley College were recently awarded a Stocks Massey bequest of £3,000 each to subsidise their university education.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:20 am 
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Chance to visit the brewery

http://www.burnleyexpress.net/peek-into ... 3134526.jp

Published Date: 21 August 2007
THE first full weekend in September means only one thing if you are interested in local history and our local environment: Burnley's Heritage Open Days.

This year an exciting programme has been put together by Jackie Whittaker, Burnley's tourism officer, and excellent leaflets have been published which give details of all of the 30 guided walks, exhibitions and buildings open to the public (free) from September 6th to 9th.

The first mentioned guided tour is to Moorhouses Brewery, in Accrington Road, where you can learn about the brewing process on equipment dating back more than 150 years. Visiting a brewery is an interesting experience. You can feel, smell and taste the raw ingredients which go into producing Moorhouses award-winning brews. The tour takes an hour and starts at 7-30 p.m. at the brewery, but you have to book and two numbers are given in the Heritage Open Days leaflet which is available from public buildings across the borough.

In Burnley, we are very fortunate so far as breweries are concerned. We have two – Moorhouses and the Moonstone Brewery, which is part of the Ministry of Ales (formerly the Nelson Hotel), in Trafalgar Street. Both produce excellent ales and they are the joint inheritors of a brewing tradition which goes back hundreds of years in our town.

The picture I publish today is of the Bridge End Brewery of L. Massey & Co. though the sign on the building indicates the firm preferred to be called "L. Massey, Maltster, Wholesale Ale & Porter Brewer". It is difficult to say when the photograph was taken but the information that the brewery was enlarged in 1877 is included below the picture.

What I can say is that the photo was taken before 1908 when another extension was constructed to the right of the low wall which connects the brewery, as it is shown in the photo, with the two gates, below right. Substantially, the 1908 extensions were that last major work that was carried out to the building and, if you can remember the brewery just before it was demolished about 30 years ago, that was what it was like in 1910 when the Ordnance Survey produced a map of the part of Burnley in which Massey's stood.

Perhaps I should say where Massey's was. The building was in Westgate, the road which can be seen in the photo, and was between Ashfield House, which stood at the top of Ashfield Road and Calderdale Road. The latter survives for part of its length, but the section near the brewery has been replaced by Active Way. The brewery itself is now the site of a DIY store which is located in a building that has little if any of the interest of the former brewery.

The Bridge End Brewery, which took its name from one of the old names for this part of Burnley, was an interesting building. It was not just the process or the end product that was interesting. Though not a drinker, I am old enough to remember the products made by Massey's, and those made by both Moorhouses and the Moonstone Brewery, and the latter are much better.

What I miss about Massey's is the distinctive smell which pervaded the whole of the town centre when the brewers were about their work.

In 1914 Massey's (Burnley) Brewery Ltd. was joined by James Grimshaw Ltd. of the Keirby Brewery, John Hargreaves & Son of the Old Brewery, J. Pletts & Son of Stanley Street and the Burnley and District Clubs Brewery of Keighley Green. There was also Thomas Horsfall of the Brierfield Brewery and, possibly, the Canal Tavern, in Manchester Road which was the last of the old public houses to brew its own ale.

I do not know anything about brewing in Padiham, so I must look into this. In the Burnley district there were other brewers. Perhaps the best known, at least historically, was the Cliviger Brewing Co. which was at Walk Mill in the parish.
In Briercliffe, the Hare and Hounds in Haggate once had its own brewery, as did the Roggerham Gate Inn, the Dog and Gun (Robinhouse Lane), Mon John's (Halifax Road and the Thursden Inn.

Nearby, I suspect that the Scarlett Arms, at Marsden Heights, had its own brewery because one of the landlords there (Miles Hardcastle) had been the landlord/brewer in Thursden. The Farmer's Arms at Southfield (now Nelson) is also supposed to have had its own brewery and though what was the public house, near Coldwell, remains, there is nothing to show that there was a separate brewery there. The inn at Coldwell, now the Coldwell Centre, was once a significant hostelry. It is likely that it, too, brewed its own ale. Massey's was one of the oldest firms in Burnley. It was founded around 1750 but not as Massey's because it was not until c1825 that the Massey family acquired the business, though I have yet to determine from whom. There are two candidates; the Holgate family and partners Tattersall and Crook, both firms of brewers and both bankrupted in 1824.

I hope readers will obtain copies of the Heritage Open Days leaflet. Next week I will look at another of the events and see if it inspires an article.

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