Thursday, 12 February 2009

Best In the West

I've mentioned these brewery plaques in the past but never shown one. I spotted this one on a pub in town a couple of weeks a go. I have to admit I can't remember the name of the pub, and that isn't due to drink! Below is some detail on these plaques, which I took from the Gloucestershire Pubs website.

"These colourful brewery plaques are still quite a common sight in Gloucestershire and are taken very much for granted. However, they deserve far more recognition as these West Country Ales plaques are a reminder of Gloucestershire’s once proud brewing heritage.

West Country Breweries were established in 1958 when the Stroud Brewery merged with the Cheltenham Brewery. By coincidence both the Stroud Brewery and the Cheltenham Brewery first started brewing in the same year – 1760. The date is recorded in the ceramic plaques. West Country Breweries were a large regional company with tied houses
(pubs) extending into Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and parts of Wales. As a result these colourful ‘castle’ plaques can still be seen as far away as Presteigne in Wales and Marlborough in Wiltshire.

The distinctive ‘castle’ or ‘tower’ design was first used by the Cheltenham Original Brewery and ceramic brewery plaques once graced the outside of their tied houses with the words ‘Cheltenham Ales’. After the Second World War the Cheltenham Brewery acquired the Hereford and Tredegar Breweries. As a result the company changed its name to Cheltenham & Hereford Breweries and the old plaques were replaced with the new, but similar, ‘Cheltenham & Hereford Ales’ design. The old Foxhill Inn near Guiting Power still has such a plaque inlaid into the wall.

The ‘West Country Ales’ plaques were placed in pub walls from 1958 until c.1967. Whitbread took over West Country Breweries in 1963 but for a few years after the acquisition Whitbread still used the West Country Ales ‘castle’ logo. There are two sizes and some slight colour differences in the glaze."

Once I read this I decided I had a new challenge - to find one of the original Cheltenham Brewery plaques. Watch this space. Right, which pub first...
_

13 comments:

magiceye said...

cheers to the pub plaque chase!

Web-OJ said...

It's a beauty. Best in the West?? Hmmm! Beast in the East? Heh! Heh!

Bibi said...

Oh, this is lovely, and if I passed, I'd pop in for a pint.

Babooshka said...

Now you have me thinking about this here. I couldn't tell you what the local beer is, as I drink spirits. Get back to you on this one. It's very ornate.

Knoxville Girl said...

that's really interesting, and I like the clarity of the image. you really excel at macro shots, Marley. I hope you can show us some more.
oh, and pub crawling for CDP - gotta love it. :^)

Saretta said...

Lovely color and design! Thanks for the history, too!

Corky said...

I bet you will enjoy that challenge.
By the way - I have changed my blog from mewli's to mine as he was too lazy to keep it going - its now
http://www.cheltenhamdailyphoto-marley.blogspot.com/

Ruby said...

I'm quite a fan of pub plaques. There were a few in Bury St Edmunds, but I haven't noticed any in York as yet, though I'm sure there'll be some somewhere. I like the castle on this one - looks like it could be York!

Hilda said...

Fascinating history! Hope you find one — and find it while you're not too soused to take a decent photo! :D

Dusty Lens said...

love these history posts. we wait anxiously for more of these plaques. Remember, photo first, beer after. ;)

Tash said...

I like the crips lines and the intricate details of the tile. I really liked English pubs (well, show me an American that doesn't...) & the food was so good - ate at Seven Stars somewhere btw London and Portsmouth (Irish owner whose son is a master chef), and Sherlock Homes in London were the locals gathered for their Friday evening pint or more.

Stephen Hopcraft said...

My Father who was the MD of the Cheltenham Brewery had these placques designed and made by the famous Doulton Ceramic Factory in Lambeth during the 1940's and 50's. We had over 600 tied houses and each one had this fine sign let into its front wall. They are of course very rarely seen and would be worth heaps as a collector's item Original cost £20 each!
Steve

Anonymous said...

Superb quality picture of West Country Ales.

I went to the 200th anniversay party for children. Had a wonderful time

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