|AdminHistory||Brewing continued to be a major player on the industrial landscape of East London well after the end of World War 2. The organisation of modern brewing became characterised by mergers; acquisitions and takeovers. |
Watney Combe had plied its trade throughout the 19th century, largely independently from other breweries, both in East London and throughout wider London, including the Stag Brewery near Victoria and the Griffin Brewery in Clerkenwell. Initially many breweries were owned and run by families whose track records in the industry went as far back as the 17th century. Watney Combe came about following an amalgamation of several such establishments. Watney Mann and Combe became such a powerful player in the industry that at its peak in the 1930s, it was one of the Financial Times Index of leading companies on the London Stock Market.
In 1826, the Albion Brewery in Whitechapel had been bought out by James Mann. Fellow brewers Robert Crossman and Thomas Paulin joined him as partners in 1846. Initially they brewed porter although by the mid 19th century, tastes had changed in favour of lighter beers and bottled beers. Mann Crossman and Paulin thrived well into the 1950s.
By the late 1950s, the site of the Watney Combe brewery in Victoria was earmarked for closure, following proposals for the building of a road on the site. Watney bought out Mann Crossman and Paulin LTD (for which see B/MCP) , which was based at the Albion brewery in Whitechapel. Thus, the company became Watney Mann Ltd. Brewing at the Whitechapel site finished in 1959. In 1962, the trading assets of Watney Mann were transferred to Watney Combe Reid and Co.
The brewery was sold to Grand Metropolitan in 1972, and finally closed in 1979. The local industrial landscape changed even further in the 1990s, when its Grade II Listed frontage was converted into flats and offices. A Sainsbury's supermarket was built at the back of the site. Another part of the site was used as a work site for the Crossrail project, including a proposed station at Whitechapel.
Websites consulted include:
"Two Lost Breweries of Whitechapel ": The Gentle Author in Spitalfields Life, June 10th 2017.
Watney Combe Reid and Co.,and Watney Mann Ltd.: National Archives at Kew