News:
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone  (Read 13519 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2010, 11:37:59 »
Hi Paul, the warehouse wasknown as "The bus station" when first built. The opening ceremony was another "couldn't organise a p***up" job, someone forgot to order  a cask of "bright" bitter so one was set up from stock, thick as mud as it hadn't settled, we spent  about an hour pouring bottles of brewmaster into it, got it reasonably bright for the opening nd everyone said how much better it tasted at the brewery than in the pub.  :) :)
Wateringbury only brewed Gold Label and Export pale that was tankered over to Belgium. It later did a bit of English Ale/gold top. As you say most of the vessels were slate squares jointed with lead. Gold Label was stored for 3 months before bottling. It came under Whitbread London not Fremlins and they had the luxury of free meals, all home cooked stuff, we used to fight to get an early morning Tanker sampling when I was in the lab just to get the breakfast. Another "black" enterprise there was turkey raising feeding them on spent grain, killed and hung in the cellars all OK until one year they were a bit early and the whole lot went off. The brewer you mention (can't rmember his name) was in to messing about with brews (he was a Morriss Dancer too) and finally left & set up a micro brewery, I think in Hants.

Paul Narramore

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2010, 11:02:27 »
Fremlins used to sell small gilt elephant badges and I'm certain I owned one once. In the 1980s I was in the local branch of CAMRA and designed a 'Save the Elephant' badge when there was a risk that Whitbreads would close Fremlins down, something they finally did. I was also in a group of CAMRA members when we had an evening at the brewery where staff showed us the then new warehouse building. It resembled a dull grey corrugated shoebox and has been demolished, such is the short life of buildings these days.

At the same time, our group visited the Phoenix Brewery in Wateringbury, a small offshoot of Fremlins, where I remember drinking some 'Gold Label' Barley Wine straight from the vast 'stone' vats prior to the stuff being bottled and pressurised. Fantastic stuff, a bit like port. The brewer also made a pin of ale, and by 'ale' I mean beer made without hops, the way it was done before the Hugonots brought hops into this country. They used herbs to give the ale it's bitterness.

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2010, 10:23:59 »
That archway, by the way had an extreme list inwards. .

Never noticed that! Just inside was a button to control the traffic lights, set them all red except leaving the yard. There were also 2 siver Jumbos made for one of the World fairs one was still in the brewery reception and the other was presented to the Amphib RE regt when it left Maidstone for Hameln. It had its own mess kit and held the rank of WO2 and was always given a place setting at mess dinners. One of our PSOs was involved in "borrowing" it , caused such an inter regimental punch up that orders from on high were given for it's return no questions asked.

Offline karlostg

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
  • Appreciation 23
    • Bluewasp Media
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2010, 20:39:50 »
Fascinating. I'm pretty sure the gilt Elephant weathervane is still on top of the old Fremlins building.

Oh yes, looks like you are correct  :) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/951217

Paul Narramore

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2010, 19:33:08 »
Fascinating. I'm pretty sure the gilt Elephant weathervane is still on top of the old Fremlins building.

The lovely clock over the arch which used to be the entrance to the brewery yard was repaired by an horologist friend of mine. That archway, by the way had an extreme list inwards. When all the rebuilding of Fremlins Walk took place, they shored the arch up so it was vertical before mortaring it in place.

Offline karlostg

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
  • Appreciation 23
    • Bluewasp Media
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 18:02:02 »
Nice pic Kyn, thanks for the info Seafordpete.

Do we know what happened to the Golden Jumbo?

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2010, 17:14:20 »
That view is taken from the bottom of St Faiths St with Fairmeadow to the right. The LH tower building (with flag) was the fermentation block and the RH one the malt & hop stores and the mash tuns, The square tower on the photo edge is a hoist shaft with trap doors that  opened as the sack passed uo through then crashed closed, OK for raising stuff but when I worked in the lab there we used to have to go to each floor and prop the doors open if we were lowering.  The bridge that ran over Fairmeadow ran from there too. Although it had been altered a bit in my time I think the low building with a pitched roof was the cask wash yard with water (or liquor as it is known) tanks on the building behind it. These had been moved when I was there and the lab was there. The Chimney top is just visible top centre. There were several photos like this , about 3ft x 2ft in the canteen above Corpus Christi Hall.
There was an old chap there called Percy Jeffries, he had started in the building dept as a 13 year old about 1915 and his first job was to help golld leaf the Jumbo weather vane, he did about 50 years then stayed on part time buying bric abrac for pub decorations and did 65 years in all. His last job was to re gold leaf Jumbo about 1980

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7409
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2010, 16:49:59 »
Fremlin's Maidstone 1897

Offline sheppey_bottles

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 944
  • Appreciation 56
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2009, 19:55:04 »
Found my old Prentis beer bottle and this is embossed Maidstone, Folkestone and Sittingbourne. They were in the High St Sittingbourne trading as Mineral water manufacturer and with a seperate Wine & Spirit merchants store. They had stores at Maidstone, Sittingburne, Folkestone, Ashford, Sheerness and Tonbridge..so they were quite a big concern with George Prentis at Maidstone being the centre of it all as you say. As regards Findlater I know nothing of these but my Findlater spirit flask was dug from a dump on Sheppey! having an applied lip it dates to the turn of the century apprx 1890/ 1920's

PS.. I have told my better arf that I am on the look out for a Papier Mache nodding Elephant for the front room :)  I am writing this from the laptop in the shed..my new home !!

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2009, 15:37:51 »
I remember the Morello cherry brandy and the smell around Hart St. Only Prentis references in Sittingbourne are wool merchants, corn merchants, insurance agents and estate agents. George Prentis is recorded as a wine merchant 1898 & 1913 at High St & 37 Earl St Maidstone. Only Findlater references ciome up in National Archives relating to a bry in Hasting taken over by Beer & Rigden >Fremlins> Whitbread so may have been fomed by merging  a Sussex & Kent wine merchant.
Re the Elephants there were the  plastic moulded one piece ones and the large papier mache nodding ones. These had red silk coats on which were made by Chiesmans. I had a Saturday job there in the soft furnishing dept, one day a guy comes in and asked to place an order for 50 elephant coats "as usual" I thought I was being set up.... There were also 2 large silver nodding ones that were made for one of the World fairs, one was in the reception at Maidstone bry and the other was presented to 28 RE regt at Maidstone   It was made up to WO2 and had its own place at Mess dinners and a mess jacket etc. Last I heard it was at Hameln.

Offline sheppey_bottles

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 944
  • Appreciation 56
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2009, 14:39:52 »
I have never seen these items before in relation to Fremlins..the only Fremlins items like this are plastic Elephants that stood behind the bar. Grants produced Cherry Brandy in Maidstone though..from Google..

Thomas Grant and Sons Ltd., of 31 Hart Street, Maidstone, were manufacturers of Morello Cherry Brandy. The company was taken over in turn by Luis Gordon and Sons Ltd, Domecq, Medway Bonding Company and Private Liquor Brands Ltd.

 I have an old whittled bottle that is embossed 'Maidstone Distillery' which dates to around 1890/1900's so Maybe these little figures came from there. Is Maidstone mentioned at all on the paper label?
Seafordpeter...I have an old spirit flask embossed Findlater, but no town name. I also have bottles from Prentis of Sittingbourne who I am sure is part of the same concern.

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2009, 13:25:46 »
Findlater Prentis was the wine & spirit and off sales side of Fremlins, guess the ornaments could have come through them. Look more like alchemists than brewers (not fat enough for a brewer  :) )
NAAFI was supplied by bulk deals on 2 or 3 year contracts. Deliveries were usually to the local NAAFI warehouse. Sgts messes and above had the option of picking there own supply  others had to go  through the NAAFI. Even TA units had to buy through NAAFI. Stock rotation was crap considering that they were the  worlds largest distribution and retailer in the 1960s/70s. Beer often delivered months out of date.
I think all the brewers had there little chains of tied houses, it was the estates that made them attractive to the big boys in the 60s & 70s- buy a small brewery with 100 pubs and sell the  brewery site off, retain the pubs and you have a nice increase in outlets for your brands. Look around the towns and see the old brewery names on engraved windows. It started to rationalise in the late 70s when Whitbread and Truman started swopping pubs to spread coverage. Before then the only tied houses in Gravesend was the New Inn and Chase and a managed house the General Gordon. We took on Somerset and a couple of others in exchange for some in Maidstone

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2009, 11:28:30 »
PS.. My son in law had to clear out a cellar the other day and in one corner he found a wooden barrel stand from Fremlins!! It has a transfer of the Elephant to the front and on the inner edge burnt into the wood it has Fremlins 20/- deposit. It is a bit the worse for wear but I have an old wooden barrel from 'Hero' LV mineral water company of Sheerness that would fit on there nicely...trouble is where do you put these things!!! Er in doors aint to appy :)

Remember the stalders or stillages well, they held firkins or pins and came with a white plastic cover for the cask with the elephant on it. I had the same trouble with  'er so all my countermounts and pump clips got ebayed, which was best as they were stuck in the loft.
 
I joined them in 1970, after being made redundant at Kemsley Board Mill, only until I found something better, took me 31 years to find it-retirement!!

Offline sheppey_bottles

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 944
  • Appreciation 56
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2009, 10:29:55 »
Excellent info there seafordpete, it is so nice to hear/read a first hand account of these things and that sounds like a good job you had there. I shall look out for that maidstone pub/brewery book you talked about also. The other brewery you mention is Isherwood, Foster and Stacey I believe, who were listed at Lower Stone Street and were taken over by Fremlins. I have a nice book called 'Images of Maidstone' by KM and virtualy every pub has the Elephant of Fremlins outside in the photographs.

PS.. My son in law had to clear out a cellar the other day and in one corner he found a wooden barrel stand from Fremlins!!
 It has a transfer of the Elephant to the front and on the inner edge burnt into the wood it has Fremlins 20/- deposit. It is a bit the worse for wear but I have an old wooden barrel from 'Hero' LV mineral water company of Sheerness that would fit on there nicely...trouble is where do you put these things!!! Er in doors aint to appy :)

seafordpete

  • Guest
Fremlins Brewery, Maidstone
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 16:04:22 »
WOw I've never seen one before. I don't think it was owned by Fremlins though, just in the same area. You had Style & Winch across the river, another one  higher uo near West Station but later incorporated into the Style site. Masons was on Waterside behind the Libray as far as the High Level Bridge, Fremlins bought the site after Sheps bought the business and it was the motor repair shop. There was still the cooperage there at the back in my time. There was another (Stacey? ) on the River Len behind the Granada, it used to be a warehouse in the 1960s and then went under the shopping centre, I think the iron work from the top is in Brenchley gardens next to the museum. A brilliant book on Maidstone pubs and breweries was Maidstone pubs in photos (or similar) by Meresborough books about 1975.
Fremlin brothers did have a strange attitude to beer though, I think theyhad Quaker origins. They owned no pubs until they bought the Bull on Penenden Heath about 1930 before that most of the beer was sold door to door -bit like the Corona man. When I joined in 1970  married male staff only got a takehome beer allowance, manual workers got an on site allowance of  mild a day- each man had a whiskey bottle with his clock number painted on. Women and single male staff got nothing. THe idea being to keep the married men at home.  Up until about 1960 it was necessary to go to church to get your Xmas bonus of a turkey and every 5 years or so a prayer book or bible was given instead- bet that didn't go into the oven too well. :). The last of the Family -  2 old dears known as the Misses Fremlin lived over at T Wells off the Heath. We used to deliver beer to them sometimes. By the time I joined the Rudgards were running the place (think they were cousins) then Michael left and went to Sheps.

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines