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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1399
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1706-1962
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Watney Combe Reid and Co Ltd | brewers
Isleworth Brewery Ltd


Administrative/Biographical history:

Watney, Combe, Reid and Co Ltd was formed in 1898 when a merger was negotiated between Watney and Co Ltd of the Stag Brewery, Pimlico; Combe and Co Ltd of the Wood Yard Brewery, Long Acre and Reid's Brewery Co Ltd, of the Griffin Brewery, Clerkenwell. Following the merger the company was the largest brewing concern in the United Kingdom, and was based at Watney's Stag Brewery in Pimlico.

The Stag Brewhouse and Brewery, Pimlico, was founded in 1636 by John Greene and his son Sir William Greene. In 1837 James Watney, a miller, bought a quarter share in the Stag Brewery, alongside John Elliot. From 1849 the firm was known as Elliot, Watney and Co. John Elliot withdrew from the business in 1850, remaining a partner in name only until 1858 when he retired. The firm became known as James Watney and Co. In 1885 Watney and Co Ltd was registered as a limited liability company.

Combe and Co Ltd was founded in 1722 by John Shackley in a former timber yard off Long Acre, London. In 1739 the business was acquired by William Gyfford who enlarged the premises, trading as Gyfford and Co. In 1787 the brewery was purchased by Harvey Christian Combe, a malt factor, but it was not until 1839 that the firm began to trade as Combe and Co. The Wood Yard Brewery closed in 1905 but the Combe family continued to take a major role in the management of Watney, Combe, Reid and Co Ltd.

In 1757 Richard Meux and Mungo Murray acquired the Jackson's Brewery in Mercer Street. When this was damaged in a major fire they constructed new premises at Liquorpond Street (now Clerkenwell Road). In 1793 Andrew Reid joined the business which became known as Meux, Reid and Co. In 1816 the Meux family left the business which changed its name to Reid and Co. The company was registered in 1888 as Reid's Brewery Co Ltd. On the merger with Watney and Combe it ceased to brew.

In 1956 Watney, Combe, Reid and Co Ltd decided that the Stag Brewery offered no further scope for expansion. Mann, Crossman and Paulin Ltd of Whitechapel was acquired to provide a new London brewery, and the company name was changed to Watney Mann Ltd.

The Isleworth Brewery, St John's Road, Isleworth, passed through various owners until it was acquired by William Farnell in 1800, thereafter it remained in the Farnell family. In 1886 it was incorporated as a limited liability company; and acquired Sich and Co Ltd of Chiswick. In 1923 it was acquired by Watney, Combe, Reid and Co Ltd.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Isleworth Brewery Ltd, later owned by Watney Combe Reid and Co Ltd, comprising deeds and related legal documents concerning the brewery premises at Brazil Mill Lane, Isleworth, and public houses owned by the Brewery: the "Waggon and Horses" at Hayes, "The George" at Heston and "The Jolly Sailors" at Kingston upon Thames, 1706-1962; and legal documents of the Farnell family, brewery owners, 1817-1881.

Also deeds and legal documents for other public houses owned by Watney Combe Reid and Co Ltd: The Unwin Arms, Turnpike Lane, Hornsey; No. 161 Turnpike Lane, Hornsey and The Woodberry Hotel, Seven Sisters Road, Tottenham, 1861-1913.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

ACC/1399/001-155: Papers relating to Isleworth Brewery; ACC/1399/156-240: Deeds of public houses.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 1977 (ACC/1399)

Allied Materials

Related material:

For further records of Watney Combe Reid at the LMA see ACC/0735 and ACC/2979. For records of Watney Mann held at the LMA, see ACC/1311, ACC/1320, ACC/1348 and ACC/1290. For further records of the Isleworth Brewery see ACC/1309 and ACC/1214.

For further records of Watney Combe Reid , Watney Mann, Combe and Co Ltd and Reid's Brewery Co Ltd see also Westminster City Archives.

Publication note:

For more information please see Hurford Janes The Red Barrel. A History of Watney Mann (1963) or Walter Pearce Serocold The Story of Watneys (1949). Also Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton The Brewing Industry: a guide to historical records (1990), LMA Library Reference 60.43 RIC.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
July to October 2009

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