London old, London new

Week 58

Back from a flying visit to the British Library at the weekend, amongst other things delving further into the Pontifex family of coppersmiths, who were very dominant in the plant production scene in London in early to mid Victorian times. Thanks to a splendid piece of family history research found in the BL, most of their history, brewing-wise, is now sorted out but there remains one huge loose end. Although both branches (I summarise greatly) of the London firms, namely (at times) Pontifex & Wood, and Henry Pontifex & Sons, went out of busines in the 1890s – tho selling their names on to other firms – there was also a Leeds company, H Pontifex & Sons, also brewers’ engineers, established 1796, which lasted til 2010, and did some work for Tetley’s. However, they look to have risen without trace, totally archive-less. It seems inconceivable there’s no connection between the London and Leeds Pontifexes; there was a branch in Birmingham too, where the writer Henry Green worked for some time, but that was connected to the London firms. A mystery then, for the moment. Photos this week of newish London micro Camden Town Brewery, squashed in under the railway arches of Kentish Town West overground station (new beer, traditional surroundings) and the still-splendid Ram Brewery in Wandsworth. The latest Ram development plan was on show to the public just before Christmas, and included a brewing museum and microbrewery. That sounds good, but I’ve no idea what stage it has all reached in the planning process (or what the rest of the scheme entails). Now, back to steam engines…..

ram brewery (7)

camden town brewery (17)

One Response to “London old, London new”
  1. rupert says:

    Henry Green’s real name was Henry Yorke. His grandson, Matthew Yorke was the last director of the family company H Pontifex and Sons in Leeds. The connection you wanted?

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