Combe’s in Covent Garden

Week 22

I wonder how many of the crowds thronging Covent Garden’s Shelton Street realise that they are walking through a former brewery – if not quite through its yard (a private but visible space) – then certainly along roads lined with brewery buildings. Indeed the cellars of Belgian brew/food specialists Belgo are probably part of the original brewery cellars. It was the site of the former Combe & Co Woodyard Brewery which closed in 1905, after its 1898 merger with Watney’s and Reid’s, thus forming what we know as Watney, Combe, Reid & Co, as seen on the nearby pub, which clearly postdates 1898 – perhaps it was a rebuild of an earlier brewery tap. The brewery itself stretched across two roads, with several high-level bridges connecting the various sections. Bookwise, still working on illustrations, nearly halfway there now – more next week.

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