Bradford Industries: Brewing
The Wilkins brewery in Newtown, seen from the river
Brewing beer was originally carried out in farms and houses for the own use of the people who lived and worked there. Certain brewers started to sell to other people through their beer houses or inns. By the 18th century larger breweries, known as common brewers, were supplying several public houses, some of which they came to own. The late 19th century saw mergers and takeovers to form larger brewing companies that swallowed smaller ones, a process that went on for the next century. The cycle has recently started again with the setting up of small-scale micro-breweries.
Like many places the Bradford on Avon area has had its own brewers and, having a suitable supply of hard water, produced breweries on a scale that was more than just local, with outlets as far away as Bristol and Berkshire. However, then came a fairly swift decline and Bradford’s breweries did not develop into a rival to Burton-upon-Trent! By the early 1920’s it had all gone.
Only recently has brewing returned to the area, but this is on a much reduced scale.