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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 B/THB
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1527-1977
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 64.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Truman, Hanbury Buxton and Co Ltd | brewers x Trumans Ltd


Administrative/Biographical history:

The precise origin of the Truman family's involvement in brewing is unclear. Although 1666 is often cited as the start date, it is more likely to have been in 1679 when Joseph Truman Senior (died 1721) acquired the Black Eagle Street brewhouse from William Bucknall. The two sons of Joseph Truman Senior, Joseph Truman Junior (died 1733) and Benjamin Truman (died 1780) entered the business in 1716 and 1722 respectively. Joseph retired in 1730 and Benjamin developed the business so that in 1760 (the year he was knighted) Truman's brewery was the third biggest in London, brewing 60,000 barrels of beer per annum. After 1780, James Grant (died 1788), Sir Benjamin's assistant and executor, ran the business whilst the property passed to Sir Benjamin's grandsons, General Henry Read and William Truman Read.

In 1789 Sampson Hanbury acquired James Grant's share of the business and manged the brewery until 1835. He was joined in 1811 by his nephew Thomas Fowell Buxton. Additional partners joined in 1816: Thomas Marlborough Pryor and Robert Pryor, who had previously run Proctors brewhouse, Shoreditch. Production rose from 100,000 barrels per annum in 1800 to 400,000 barrels per annum in 1850, so becoming the largest brewery in London.

Truman Hanbury Buxton and Co. Ltd was registered in 1889 as a limited liability company. The company was acquired by Grand Metropolitan Hotels Ltd in 1971 and changed its name to Trumans Ltd. In 1974 it merged with Watney Mann Ltd. Brewing at Burton ceased in 1971 but the Black Eagle Brewery at Brick Lane, Shoreditch, continued to operate until 1988. In 1991, Grand Metropolitan Hotels Ltd was taken over by Courage Ltd.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Truman Hanbury Buxton and Co Ltd, 1527-1977, comprising: corporate records, (B/THB/A); accounting records (B/THB/B); production records (B/THB/C); property records (B/THB/D); trade records (B/THB/E); staff records (B/THB/F); family and personal papers (B/THB/G); records relating to the history of the firm (B/THB/H); diaries (B/THB/J); printed material (B/THB/PMT); photographs (B/THB/X); and artefacts (B/THB/Y).

Also records of breweries taken over by Trumans, comprising Burton Brewery (B/THB/BUR); George Wood and Son Ltd (B/THB/GW); Russells Gravesend Brewery (B/THB/RUS); Swansea United Breweries (B/THB/SUB); and Writtle Brewery (B/THB/WRI).

The records include administrative papers, correspondence, stocks and shares papers, deeds, agreements, articles of agreement for partnerships, board meeting papers, monthly reports, order books, ledgers, records of brewing, stock, bottling and cooperage, gyle books, deeds, tenancy agreements, licensing records, papers relating to public houses including visitation registers, inventories, photographs, sales and deliveries records, wages books, staff medical records, registers of employees, recruitment records, historical research, house journals, newspaper cuttings, official publications and souvenir badges.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection has been arranged by three successive archivists, following the pattern set by the Business Archive Council.

Conditions governing access:

Open, except board and committee minutes and unpublished corporate and accounting records which are closed for 30 years. Staff records containing personal and confidential information are closed for a longer period of time, and written permission is required from the Company Secretary.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Suitable copies can be made for the purpose of private study only. Permission to publish copies of documents or to quote large quantities of text in published works must be obtained from the Company Secretary. It is the responsibility of the individual researcher to contact Courage Ltd about matters of copyright.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records have been deposited in the London Metropolitan Archives in nine separate but interrelated sections from 1973 to 1979 (AC/73/036, AC/75/064, AC/75/068, AC/76/053, AC/76/083, AC/77/043, AC/77/094 and AC/77/114).

Allied Materials

Related material:

London Metropolitan Archives holds records for Phillips' Brewery, Burton on Trent (purchased by Truman's in 1873); Swansea United Breweries Ltd, Orange Street Brewery, Swansea (purchased by Truman's in 1926); Russells Gravesend Brewery Ltd, West Street Brewery, Gravesend (purchased by Truman's in 1930). Extensive collections of brewery records are also held, including Barclay Perkins and Gourage (Acc 2305), Fuller, Smith and Turner (Acc 891), Meux Ltd (Acc 1724), Sich's Isleworth Brewery (Acc 1214, Acc 1939) and part of Reid's (Ac.75.108 interim list only); Watney Combe Reid and Co. and Watney Man and Co. (Acc 1979).

Additional records of Truman Hanbury Buxton and Co Ltd are held by the Company Archivist of Courage Ltd.

Publication note:

Trumans the Brewers 1666-1966 (GLHL 35.145 TRU); The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830, P. Mathius (GLHL 35.145 MAT); The Brewing Industry: A guide to Historic Records, L. Richmond and A. Turton (GLHL 60.43 RIC) Spitalfields, Survey of London vol 27 (GLHL 78.3 LCC).

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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