Thursday 18 April 2024

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #20 - The Harp Magazine (1963)

A TELEPHONE shrills in the Brewery Fire Brigade night quarters at 84 James's Street.

“There's been an accident.”
“In the brewery yard at the old weighbridge.”
“How many injured?”
“Two men.”
“I don't know.”
“Right, we're on our way!”

The four-man team pile into the ambulance stationed outside and in a matter of moments are at the scene of the accident. Accident? Well, not a real one on this occasion. To keep the members of our Fire Brigade on their toes a competition is staged annually to provide practice in rescue technique. This year seven teams, each of four members, had been drawn out for the contest and the two teams of finalists were going through their paces in the presence of the Board.

Conditions made as true to life as were possible and on arrival the rescue teams discovered two men trapped in a crater beneath a pile of planks and rubble, which had collapsed on top of them.

Under the searching gaze of Dr. Eustace, F. W. Derbyshire and Dan O'Brien they go into action One man, still conscious, whose leg is trapped beneath a plank, presents the symptoms of a compound fracture; the other (a dummy) has the signs of a skull injury.

Praise is due to John McGuirk of the Rigging section, a most realistic casualty whose acting lent an authentic touch to the proceedings.

Both units displayed a high standard of proficiency, but the judges finally decided in favour of Team A, led by Edward King, with Dermot Harnett, James Scallan and James Duffy giving able support. Sir Geoffrey Thompson made the presentation to the winners at a short ceremony in the Fire Station afterwards.

We in the Brewery have indeed reason to be thankful that we have such a well-trained group of men on hand, should a real accident call them into action.
The Harp – Spring 1963

Work was a dangerous place in the past, and certainly for those who worked in industrial spaces full of noise, distractions, heat, and time pressure, then add to that toothed and spinning machinery, elevated gangways, and equipment literally on an industrial scale. Many workers were taking their lives in their hands every day that they showed up for their job, and although it would be incorrect to say that there were no safety measures in place in the 19th and early 20th century, there were certainly far fewer procedures and checks in place than we would expect to see in any factory are large processing plant today.

The above quoted training procedure from the Guinness brewery in Dublin demonstrates that breweries in Ireland were certainly as dangerous a place to work as any other similar sized and focussed enterprise, perhaps even more so, due to the oversized buildings and equipment which needed to be scaled in numerous ways at various times, and also the use of hot liquids and other unseen hazards as we shall see.

Breweries could be unforgiving and deadly places at times, and please note that this article will deal with and describe some of those deaths so those who feel uncomfortable with these types of descriptions should probably not continue.


The newspapers of the 1800s and early 1900s are dotted with reports of deaths in Irish breweries to the point where almost every decade had a report or two of workers being killed on or off site. It is, even at this remote juncture, a difficult read, as many of the reported inquests go into the details of precisely what happened these individuals, and often include a list of the people they have left behind, where sometimes, almost an afterthought, the reporter will mention the wife, children, parents or siblings that were left in heartache and possible destitution at the loss of a loved one. It is worth remembering at all times that we are dealing with actual human beings who lived not terribly long ago and who possibly still have ancestors walking our streets whose lives were affected directly or indirectly by such a dreadful occurrence.

Deaths appear to have happened in almost every brewery in this country and from multiple causes. Falls were quite common, with brewery workers - or at times hired contractors - tumbling to their deaths from the gangways that stretched across the upper reaches of the tall brewery structures. Falling from the top of the various brewing vessels was a hazard, as was falling from the roofs of the buildings themselves. At times the unfortunate individuals tumbled into mash tuns, kettles and other hot water sources, or fell close to lit boilers and suffered agonising scalds or burns that more often than not resulted in death.

Drownings in porter vats, wells or water tanks also occurred, and in the case of the deaths in vessels which held beer, the owners of the breweries were forced to comment on the fact that the porter within was dumped, due to scurrilous reports of the beer still being put out for sale after the event. In 1874, at the inquest into the drowning of a worker in a vat of porter in St. Fin Barre's Brewery in Cork, Mr. Thomas Lane felt the need to put on the record and into the local paper that 'an injurious report has gone abroad that we stocked a quantity of the porter, whereas it is all gone down the river.'

There were rarer fatalities too, such as the man who suffocated in barley in Perry’s brewery Rathdowney in 1906 when he stood in a hopper containing grain which was then then tipped into a larger silo along with the worker and he was smothered by more grain being added while the unfortunate man was still inside it, something similar had occurred in Guinness in 1895 too.

There are also particularly gruesome accounts of workers becoming entangled in a piece of machinery in the brewery with the obvious and unrepeatable horrific injuries that this would entail. One particularly poignant report from 1867 tells of an 11-year-old boy who while visiting his father’s place of work – the Beamish & Crawford brewery in Cork – was caught in the cogs of machinery. He lost a leg amongst other injuries and died later in hospital.

One form of death that seems to have been dreadfully common was death by carbon dioxide suffocation, where a worked descended into a fermenter to clean it out without realising that it was full of this deadly odourless gas, a byproduct of the fermentation process, which can incapacitate a person almost instantly. This type of death was relatively common, and some of the fatalities recorded in this way were in an unnamed Cork brewery in 1782, Guinness’s in 1839 and 1864, Lane’s brewery Cork in 1846, Wickham’s in Wexford in 1869, Jameson and Pim’s in 1894, Darcy’s in 1898 and 1915 and Cairnes Brewery in 1908. Tragically these sometimes involved two or three fatalities, as one person went down to aid the other as happened in Clonmel Brewery in 1916, when three worked climbed into a vat one after another to help the others and were overcome, only one survived.

Two Brewery Workers Killed.

A shocking tragedy occurred at the Clonmel Brewery resulting in the death of two workmen and the narrow escape of a third from similar fate. While a man named Michael Mc*** was engaged on a ladder washing, with a hose, a large vat, about 15 feet high, covered at the top, and entrance to which effected by means of a ladder through a trap door, he was overcome gas fumes and fell the bottom. Another employee, James R***, apparently climbed down to the rescue, but was likewise overcome and a third, P. C*******, followed also for the purpose of rescuing his fellow-work men, but he too was overcome. Further help was quickly at hand; holes were bored in the sides of the vat to let in air, and, eventually, the three men were pulled out, and placed on the top where, under the directions Drs. Wynne, O’Brien, and Murray, artificial respiration was employed for several hours. C******* recovered under this treatment, and was sent hospital, but all efforts to revive Mc**** and R*** were unavailing. Distressing scenes were witnessed as the bodies were removed to the Morgue, the wives and relatives giving vent their grief. Rev. W. Walsh, C.C., was promptly in attendance and climbed to the top of the vat to minister to the unfortunate fellows. Both of the victims were married, R*** leaving a large young family.

The same calamity happened in Manders brewery in 1882 where one of the three men died.


On Saturday evening three men, named George D****, Patrick R*****, and Patrick J****, were working on a loft in Messrs Manders' brewery, 113 James's street. D**** went in to a vat for some purpose, and was immediately rendered insensible by the carbonic acid gas. R***** and J**** went to the assistance of D****. and were themselves immediately overcome by the gas. In the meantime the three men were missed, and with great difficulty got out with the aid of ropes. D**** was found to be dead, and the other two remain in a precarious condition.

Reports of these types of deaths used words such as ‘foul air’ or ‘gas fumes’ or ‘spirit’ as well as ‘carbonic acid gas,’ so it appears that many breweries were aware of the issue but didn’t have the terminology or knowledge to know exactly what was the cause in the very early reports, although it appears to have been common practice to lower a candle into the vats, as it would be extinguished by the presence of this ‘foul air.’ There are also mentions of the need to open taps - or bore holes in an emergency as mentioned above - to let air in, or probably more accurately as we now know, to let the heavier than air carbon dioxide flow out.


Outside of the brewery could be a dangerous place to be working for the brewery too, especially if you were a drayman who hauled beer around the country to the various public houses or bottlers. Drivers lost their lives on occasion in accidents such as one drayman for a Dungarvan brewery who in 1870 was killed when his cart collapsed and he was pitched forward into the space between the horse and the front of the vehicle, where he was kicked to death by the animal as it tried to extricate itself. He left a wife and six children to mourn his untimely end.

A young driver from the Macardle Moore brewery in Dundalk who was delivering ale to the local military barracks in 1868 was killed when his horse was startled by the sound of a trumpet and bolted. The unfortunate individual was run over by the wheels of his own cart as he attempted to catch the reins to stop the horse.

A driver for Perry’s brewery in Rathdowney drowned in a water-filled ditch near Cuddagh Bog when the cart he was steering overturned and trapped him beneath it in 1905, and a similar accident occurred much earlier in 1829 when a drayman for D’Arcy’s brewery was drowned while attempting to rescue his horse which had ended up in the canal at Ringsend, and both man and beast perished.

But it wasn’t just drivers that were killed as can be seen from the following incident involved a young drayman from the Creywell brewery in New Ross owned by Cherrys.


During the Quarter Sessions in New Ross, an old man named P****, a farmer, from Misterin, county Wexford, was knocked down outside of the Courthouse by a local brewery van, which rolled over him, and killed him almost immediately. The driver of the van, a boy named Peter W*****, was immediately arrested and remanded. The evidence up to the present show that the deceased was more or less intoxicated - that there was [sic] some cars down the footpath outside the sessions house railings, which made the narrow lane still narrower - that W***** was driving the brewery horse (which is blind) at the rate of about six miles an hour, and did not slacken his pace coming around the corner of Cross Lane; that the deceased was crossing the lane obliquely, when the "off" shaft struck him, and when the people shouted out to the driver to stop, he pulled up, just as the wheel had rolled up from the unfortunate man's abdomen to his neck, and that he died almost immediately. Mr Colfer, solicitor, is engaged for the relatives of the deceased, and Mr Hinson, solicitor for the defence of the prisoner. Mr Carey, D.I., R.I.C, prosecuted. Bail was refused.

It would be hard to decide here whether the drunken individual, the speeding driver or the blind horse were to blame.

Sadly, small children were killed by brewery drays on at least two occasions, and there were probably even more fatalities than that. In 1899 a float belonging to Mountjoy brewery in Dublin was involved in an accident with a two-year-old boy which resulted in the loss of the child’s life, and in 1912 a three-year-old girl was killed near Bow Bridge, also in Dublin, having been run over by a dray belonging to D’Arcy’s brewery when she ran from a shop and tumbled under the wheels of the cart.

Staying with transport there have also been a few fatalities related to steam engines, with crush injuries and other accidents known to happen. For example, in 1889 a driver died on the narrow gauge in the Guinness brewery when he was knocked from his engine in a tunnel while driving between the brewery and the quay. He was crushed between the wall of the tunnel and his locomotive.

Even tugboats plying the Liffey were not completely safe, as in 1879 an employee of Guinness who was working on the steam tug Lagan was drowned after the boat hit the central arch of the Queen Street Bridge – now called Mellows Bridge - and he was thrown into the river with a companion, who survived.


Stranger incidents occurred too, such as the death in 1891 of a man in Kilkenny from rabies he contracted from a dog who ran into Sullivans’ James’s street brewery.


In the Moderator of Saturday but we stated that a man named Martin M*****, who was employed as a vanman in the James's-street Brewery. Kilkenny, was lying so dangerously ill in the workhouse hospital with an attack of hydrophobia that he was not expected to recover. We regret to state that the poor fellow expired early on Saturday morning last. One day in March last, it may be remembered, a dog - which it was afterwards discovered was suffering from rabies - ran into the yard of the James’s-street Brewery, where poor M***** was working. The dog ran towards M*****, and on raising his hand to keep the animal back, it immediately snapped at him and bit him on the finger. Information was at given of the to the James's- street police. and early the following morning the dog was destroyed, Mr. John Barry, V.S.. having pronounced it to be suffering from rabies. M*****, on hearing this. did not, as he should have done, place himself under medical treatment, but continued, poor fallow, from day to day at his usual employment until last Wednesday evening, when he was taken suddenly ill. Dr. Hackett was immediately sent for, and he at once stated that M***** had developed symptoms of hydrophobia, and ordered him to be removed to the hospital of the workhouse. Hydrophobia is, according to one of the highest medical authorities, a disease from which scarcely any person has ever been known to recover, and but little hope was entertained of the unfortunate sufferer's recovery. From Wednesday evening be continued to linger on until Saturday, when, as we have stated, he expired in great agony. The greatest sympathy is entertained for the deceased man's wife and family in their bereavement, and the large assemblage of the general public at his funeral on Sunday last testified to the high esteem and regard in which the deceased was held. It is a most unfortunate thing that a human life should be thus lost, merely by not having a strict law enforced as to the muzzling of dogs, and it is to be hoped that the authorities will take such steps in future as will prevent a similar dreadful occurrence.

As seen above, brewery horses died on occasion too but in 1896 there was an unusual occurrence as reported below:


On Saturday last, the 20th instant, a man named Daniel Brennan, was dispatched from the firm of E Smithwick and Sons, St Francis Abbey Brewery, to the licensed premises of Mr T Kennedy, Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny, with a load of drink. He arrived there about six o'clock, and after he had made delivery, was about leaving for home, when quite suddenly, a whole hive of bees landed on the horse’s head and neck to begin their deadly havoc. Immediately the horse became frantic and dashed madly along the road for some distance, when he was with much difficulty brought to a standstill. Some helpers having arrived at the time, he was unyoked from the car. and put into an adjacent field. Here he lay down and remained in the most acute pain until the following morning, when he was got up and removed slowly along the road. He never rallied, however, and on Monday morning he expired after undergoing the most dreadful agony.


It is worth mentioning that in many cases in the deaths reported above there was a recommendation for the breweries to make some payment to the dependants of those who died, and it would be good to think that this was followed up on, or that there was payment made via The Workman’s Compensation Act which legislated for such eventualities. But it is also worth restating that these were all real people who died in tragic circumstances, but with each death it could be hoped that steps were put in place to lessen the risk of a reoccurrence of such a tragedy in the future. The outcome can perhaps be seen in the opening quotation from Guinness’s The Harp magazine - a brewery that has seen its own fair share of those deaths as we saw - where at least there was a rapid response if an accident did occur, and presumably more preventative procedures in place too.

I know many people love a ghostly story, so maybe some think that a form of essence, or possibly a life-echo reverberation, still inhabits the brewing-related (and other) places where these deaths occurred. Perhaps they think that a small part of the dead's souls live on even still, although many of the locations are now homes, offices or just empty spaces. But whatever our thoughts on whether ghosts exist or not at least these unfortunate people live on in one way in the faded ink of newspapers - or in pixels and 1s and 0s - for ever, perhaps. They are fact not fiction.

Stories are just that, tales for entertainment be they ghost related or not, but death is real.

So brewers, be safe.

Liam K

(I have deliberately left out a couple of deaths I came across, as even though much time has passed they are connected to living, known descendants. I have also left out any mentions of self-harm or murder, and I have purposely doctored the surnames of victims in newspaper reports. As someone whose great-grandfather met a gruesome machinery-related death over a century ago, the subject and thought of his name appearing in an ‘entertaining’ article might make me or my family members feel uneasy, hence my reticence to use those last names.)

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph and magazine itself are the authors own and the image cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. The actual magazine was published by Guinness for its personnel, which allowed use such as I have done here according to the notes inside the front cover. Newspaper research was thanks to The British Newspaper Archive and the exact sources for the deaths and quotations mentioned and shown above can be requested from me via email or message. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!

Friday 22 March 2024

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #19 - Arnott’s Prize Medal Porter Ghost Sign c.1890

“This stout is of full Alcoholic Strength, and possesses great body, as shown by the proportions of Malt Extract present. It is quite free from any impurities, such as Foreign Bitters, and is in very good condition. I am of opinion that it is of excellent Quality and highly Nutritive, and one of the best Stouts on the Market.”
Mr B A Burrell, F.I.C., F.C.S., late Public Analyst for Cork – Cork Daily Herald, May 1893

As you walk along Farren’s Quay in Cork, heading west towards North Mall it is usually necessary to stop at the busy junction where Shandon Street flows on to North Gate Bridge as it crosses the river Lee. While you wait patiently at the crossing for that little green person to appear, it’s difficult to miss the ghost of a sign - or in fact a ghost-upon-a-ghost of a sign - on a handsome brick building across the road. The words ‘Arnott’s Prize Medal Porter’ are still clearly legible in faded white paint on the first floor of number 64, framed in a plain cartouche and sitting nicely between two windows. This large object – and it can still be called an object, regardless of its size, make up and position – is the wraith like remains of an advertisement for a long-gone Irish beer and a pointer to what once was a brewery-tied public house, something that Cork – unique for Ireland – was famous for. Breweries and pubs in other cities did have similar arrangements, both official and unofficial, but not quite so many or with so obvious a tie. Being a tied-house meant that the public house was obliged to purchase beer from their tied-to breweries due to various factors such as the brewery owning the property, the license, or for services rendered or payments made, and it was of course a much more common practice in England.


Sir John Arnott, an M.P. and then Mayor of Cork purchased an old, existing brewery near St Fin Barre’s cathedral in Cork at the end of 1861 and by the following year was brewing both porters and ales. Arnott’s – or St. Fin Barre’s – brewery was in direct competition for the porter, and to some extent the ale, trade with Beamish & Crawford, Murphy’s and Lanes brewery who were all based in the city. As well as supplying their beer locally they were exporting to England, Scotland and Wales plus more exotic climes such as the Mediterranean and Barbados.. By the early 1880s Arnott’s were also operating a separate ale brewery in Riverstown just outside Cork city, and in 1882 at the Exhibition of Irish Arts and Manufactures held in Dublin the company was awarded medals for both its Porter and its ales. They entered their beers in The Cork Exhibition the following year and won medals for its pale ale but seemingly not for their mild ale, nor its porter - so it is probable that the prize that they were advertising in this painted sign was the one awarded in 1882 although it could relate to an even later award. (Incidentally, one judge criticised their pale ale at the Cork exhibition for being made with water that was over ‘Burtonised’ with mineral additions!) The company was wound up in 1901, just a few years after its founder died, and was purchased by one of its two main rivals, Murphy’s brewery, who bought both the porter and the ale brewery as well as the tied-houses. Murphy's promptly closed down the brewing side of the enterprise, and presumably started selling their own beers in the numerous Arnott tied houses that dotted the city. Curiously and perhaps sadly, when most people hear of Arnotts these days they would think of the department stores bearing that name, which were also part of sir John’s business empire, but for a not too short period at the end of the 19th century it was a relatively large concern, it was even visited and written about briefly by Alfred Barnard, who included and described it in one of his volumes on The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, although not in the most exciting terms.

Below we can see a plan of the brewery as it was in 1897, roughly around the same time that the sign was painted on the wall of the public house and when Barnard visited. It shows its three porter stores and the general layout of the brewery in good detail, including a sugar tank which probably shows that they were using some sugar at least - which many Irish breweries did apart from some very notable exceptions - at this time in their brewing.

The sign on the then public house appears to have been painted sometime between 1882 and 1901, given the award date and the closing of the brewery, with the original fainter wording underneath possibly dating from closer to the earlier year and second closer to the latter date. During much of this period the public house at 64 Shandon Street was being licenced by a succession of women. Catherine Healy appears to have taken it over, possibly from a Thomas Healy, in 1889. A Norah O’Connell was running the business in 1896 when she changed the licence into her married name – Buckley. Julia O’Connell was named as the licensee in 1898 and then later than our period in 1908 it was being ran by an Ellen O’Connell. During the time up to 1901 it was tied to and therefore was supposed to sell only the beers supplied by Arnott’s brewery, but even after the breweries were closed by Murphy’s in 1901 the ghostly sign remained, getting slowly fainter over the decades but a nice reminder of Ireland’s brewing history for all to see.


But here’s an interestingly footnote. Arnott’s Prize Winning Porter returned briefly in 1997, as according to a snippet in a newspaper column from that year it was rebrewed in some form at least by Murphy’s for the release of the Ó Drisceoil’s book - The Murphy’s Story, which was published in that year. It appears to have been keg only and there were branded glasses issued bearing the name of the porter as well as that of the original brewery. Some of these glasses, and the occasional pump clip, are still to be spotted in pubs around the city of Cork if you know where to look …

Liam K

(The image of the brewery layout above is from the Goad fire insurance map from 1897, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph is the authors own and the image cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. Newspaper research was thanks to The British Newspaper Archive. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!

Thursday 7 March 2024

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #18 - ‘International Bar’ Half-Pint Tankard (c. 1902)

to run “as dim eyed animals do, towards any glittering object, were it but a scoured tankard, and mistake it for a solar luminary” …

Memoirs of the Life of Scott – London and Westminster Review 1838 – Thomas Carlyle

There is something extremely appealing about public house drinkware. Even an item that has been maimed and repurposed like this once-tankard are a comforting joy when held in hand and raised ritualistically to the drinker’s lips. This vessel is certainly enigmatic in many ways, from the material it’s made from to its exact provenance, it asks more questions than it can answer. Much like a lot of our public house and brewing history it is possible to find out some information from records and writeups but sadly, much is also down to half-educated guess work and assumption. But there are some clues to its past be found on the piece itself, which at least answer some of the more basic questions it poses ... 


This tumblerised tankard carries the word ‘1/2 Pint’ as well as the term ‘Masonoid Silver.’ It has a rubbed Edwardian stamp showing a crown flanked by a very faint later E plus an R, with the Uniform Verification Number 6 below the crown denoting it was verified in Birmingham, where it was manufactured. There is also a tiny M to the right of the verification mark whose purpose is unclear although it may reflect a date, but that Edwardian stamp puts its manufacturing firmly prior to 1910 and probably post 1902. At some point someone has removed the handle, which would have been rounded and C-shaped, and the surface is also covered in roughish scratches which means the engraved name showing the words ‘International Bar’ in, and on, a belt and buckle design is almost obliterated. Perhaps it had become damaged in use and repurposed, but as the heavier and deeper gouges are very much focussed on the engraved bar name in order to obliterate it, it would appear that the tankard may have been taken from the bar by somebody for a specific purpose, which has become lost to history.

The belt and buckle device is in fact a 'garter' and appears to have originated from the emblem of The Most Noble Order of the Garter, with the garter in question being a part of a knight's wardrobe for securing parts of the armour together or to the body. This motif turns up in many logos, decorations, and trademarks in the late 19th and early 20th century, perhaps as a way of adding an air of ostentation to a brand, company or object without it being actually connected to the order.

Masonoid Silver was a durable, bright metal alloy developed by Samuel Mason in Birmingham around or prior to 1887, when it first starts to appear under that name in publications. It was originally available in two colours, one as a replacement for silver or silver plate and another as a replacement for copper or brass. It was possibly a type of Nickel Silver, which contains mostly copper with nickel and zinc, but more was more likely similar to an early version of a more expensive alloy patented as Monel in 1906 and composed mostly of nickel with less copper than Nickel Silver and with small amounts of iron, manganese, carbon and other elements. Masonoid was used for many products, particularly those that revolve around the drinks trade such as beer engines and taps, as well as bicycle parts and other applications. The company went through a number of name changes and partnerships, such as The Masonoid Silver and Midland Rolling Mills in 1898, before disappearing from historical mentions by the end of the second decade of the twentieth century and is now only remembered in objects like this.


It is tricky to ascertain exactly which International Bar this tankard was made for as there appears to have been at least three public houses bearing that name on the island in the very early 1900s. There are newspaper mentions that reference an International Bar on Market Street in Derry, which was operating around the same time and had a reopening in 1907, which certainly ties in with the date of the tankard. There also appears to have been a pub of the same name in Newtownards and perhaps one in Belfast. It is quite possible that this object relates to any of those bars but it is equally conceivable that the tankard came from The International Bar in Dublin. (Especially given that it was discovered in a shop that specialises in house clearances from the Dublin area.) This bar still exists and appears to have been quite a salubrious spot since the very late 1890s, so it would certainly suit as an establishment that had commissioned its own personalised tankards, but sadly there is no recorded proof of this in the common sources.

The Dublin based International Bar began its beverage selling life on a slightly smaller scale than its current footprint, as it was originally focussed on the side of the building that sits on 8 St. Andrew Street, although with some frontage also on to Wicklow Street as it sat on that corner. As far back as 1827 a Mrs. B Cavenagh (also spelled Kavanagh) had a grocery, tea, wine and spirit warehouse on the site, and a possibly related James Kavanagh of the same address was declared insolvent in 1838, having let the license go into arrears the previous year and the building go into a state of disrepair, so the lease was up for sale at that point. The premises was taken over by a John Hoyne in that year and repairs were made to the building before he was granted a publican’s license, although it was opposed by some local people on the grounds that there were already 19 public houses on nearby Exchequer Street alone! A wonderfully, Joycean named person called Stephen Pidgeon applied for a license for the premises in 1839 and 1840, before it was taken on by John Dunne in 1843. Mr. Dunne appears to have ran it as a spirit grocers until his death in 1880, and by 1885 it was being operated by a John Cox. In 1887 Michael O’ Donohoe, a Cavan native, applied for a license to retail alcohol at 8 St. Andrew Street and was also leasing the 23 Wicklow Street building around the corner by 1892. (That address also appears to have been occupied by a tailor’s shop and then a jeweller and clockmaker, which overlap slightly with the O’Donohoe lease dates, but that might have been on the upper levels of the building or it may have been sublet.) In 1897 Mr. O’Donohoe applied for a new licence to sell alcohol on that attached building on Wicklow Street, it now being an extension of his original business. But big changes were afoot …

On Friday the 5th of August 1898 the International Bar, as it was then named and as it appears today, was opened as a completely new build on the two sites acquired by Mr. O’ Donohoe. A newspaper advertisement from this time reads thus:



Begs to inform his Friends and the Public that his New Premises,

NEXT FRIDAY, the 5th inst.

This Establishment has been fitted up throughout with the Electric Light, generated on the premises by powerful electric generator, worked gas engine of Crossley Bros, Warrington, and has already been pronounced by competent judges one of the finest of its class to be found either home or on the Continent.

In point Architectural Design and Beauty it stands second none. The art decorations and ornamentation are of the most modern and up-to-date style. The plans were designed by George O’Connor. Esq, MRIAI, and the building was carried out under his personal supervision. The Sanitary arrangements are of the most Modern Type, and ate complete In every respect.

The International has been built and fitted up regardless of expense.

It is intended it should occupy a foremost place amongst the Establishment class in this city, where Gentlemen from every part the world will find every accommodation and their requirements catered for in the best manner under the personal supervision of the Proprietor.

The Refreshments, both Home and Foreign, will all of the very best manufactured, and no inferior qualities will kept slock.
And will found fully Matured, and in the finest. Condition.
The CIGARS, &c., are all selected from the Best Brands.
Mr. O’D. Cordially Invites the Public to Visit his ESTABLISHMENT,
and he guarantees them every attention and courtesy.
NOTE ...
M. O’DONOHOE, Proprietor

Another advertisement from later in the month is of a similar vein and includes the following paragraph:

The proprietor begs to inform his numerous friends and customers and the public generally that this magnificent establishment - the finest in the city - is now in full swing and worthy the attention of connoisseurs.


Etc, Etc, Etc

It is certainly a fine building of excellent design and sits very handsomely to this day on that site. No expense appears to have been spared with its build and fit out so it is hardly surprising that shiny new tankards may have been purchased for the premises a few years later, engraved with the bars name. 

Mr. O’Donohoe died in October 1904, and his funeral was attended by most of the other licensed traders in Dublin, a sign surely of how well he was thought of by his peers.


It could be argued that this object is more connected to beer serving and public houses than with actual Irish brewing history, but both are of course intrinsically linked so it is impossible to have a conversation about one without involving the other.

Irish pubs have always been an essential part of Irish brewery history, albeit with their former fondness for English-brewed Bass et al., and their present dalliances with foreign lager brands – although at least, as with an iteration of Bass at one time, many are brewed in Irish breweries.

The Irish brewing industry should - rightly - evolve, improve, and embrace the new, but Ireland has lost most of its breweries over the last couple of centuries. They became hollowed out brands within the portfolios of drink corporations, detached and rebooted as one-off, one-dimensional beers, with their history discarded, disfigured, and diluted. But many of the public houses that served the beer from lost breweries still exist in one form or another, and they are entangled in our brewing provenance and 'heritage,' to use an overused word. Many of the public houses of Ireland have now become the historical repositories of our relatively recent beer-laded past, as they have become aesthetics-driven exhibitions of artefacts and ephemera from that now-lost era, even though they lack perhaps the knowledge, the interest, or the want to communicate any of this history to their customers. Understandably, many focus on their own history – sometimes scribbled on the back of a beer mat over a few pints after closing time it appears – but not on the actual libations they pulled and poured over previous decades or centuries.

A cynic might say that there is little point in trying to communicate history of any type to those who don’t care, but in many cases it is how that information is communicated is the key. Irish bars are certainly good at storytelling, but for today's audience they need something more than just words, they need something tangible and ‘real,’ a touchable connection to our brewing past that will engage the customer and stimulate some conversation. It might be that framed letterhead from Mountjoy Brewery, or the beer label on the wall for D’Arcy’s Stout. It could be an old, embossed bottle from a famous Sligo brewhouse sitting on a shelf, or a price list from a Kilkenny brewery listing all of its beers.

It might even be a worn and damaged tankard that may in the past have been filled with a half pint of plain porter or a pale ale in a newly built bar in a busy city.

These stories need telling, before all of our history is completely worn away …

Liam K

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph and tankard itself are the authors own and the image cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. Newspaper research was thanks to The British Newspaper Archive. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!

Friday 16 February 2024

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #17 – Time 'Pilsner' Glass (1960s)

There’s pleasure in a glass of beer
When hard by work opprest;
It soothes the brain with thought o’ertaxed,
And sets the mind at rest.
Its praises I will loudly sing,
And sound them far and near;
There’s nothing can refresh you like
A glass of bitter beer.

Excerpt from ‘A Glass of Bitter Beer’ by John Drake from 'Jock Sinclair and Other Poems' - 1890

It could be argued that the pilsner-style glass used by Irish pubs for over 70 years is one of the most iconic glass shapes that has ever appeared in the hands of an Irish beer drinker. It is an elegant form, if a little top-heavy in appearance when full, although in truth this is balanced by having a thick and heavy base, plus it's incredibly tactile and extremely practical to drink from, with the width of the mouth of the glass perfectly proportioned for either sipping or gulping its contents. This example from the Smithwick's brewery in Kilkenny for their forgotten and (ironically) timeline purged Time beer brand has all of those elements, plus a wonderful, thick gold band around its rim that heightens its graceful beauty.

Time ales were launched by Smithwick’s in 1960 with the aim of revitalising an aging brand for more modern times and to celebrate their (so-called) 250th anniversary. Under this rebrand their top selling No. 1 pale ale would remain the same but their golden export ale was rebranded as Time and their SS ale as Extra Time. A few months later their ruby coloured barleywine was also brought into the fold as Time Barley Wine. The launch meant a complete rebrand for most of the Smithwick’s beers with a new logo, beer labels, coasters and other ephemera, plus of course glassware. Branding on glasses was a relatively new idea here, and Time was probably one of the first beers in Ireland to have its own range of branded glassware. As well as the pilsner glass there was a handmade tankard and a dimple mug, plus Time branded water jugs suggesting to the consumer to have a chaser after their beer – ‘Time for a Chaser!’

By 1964 Guinness were in control of the brewery and that that was the death knell for the Time brand. It would appear at least that the marketing and research gurus in St. James’s Gate decided to consolidate the range down to just two main products, the barley wine and their newly developed Smithwicks Draught keg beer which was launched in 1965, seemingly as a direct reaction to English brands such as the Cork brewed Watney’s Red Barrel. This new keg beer was - ironically - also available in bottles as Smithwicks D. The Time brand seems to have disappeared that same year and appears just fleetingly and rarely - if ever - mentioned or promoted in the current history of Smithwick’s, as they attempt to draw a direct-if-fictitious line from the present iteration of the brand to a nonsensical beer brewed in 1710.


The origins of this exact glass shape - a trumpet rather than the much older cone style - is hard to track but it may have arrived in this country at least via exotically continental premium lager brands such as Tuborg, Patzenhoffer (Patz) and Carlsberg in the 1950s, where that elegant shape suited the marketing of said beers. It was certainly popularised around this time although there were so-called ‘pilsner’ glasses or tumblers available before this era. For example, James Fox & Sons, the well-known Dublin public house suppliers selling something called a 10 oz ‘Pilsen’ glass in the 1930s, although we don’t know its exact shape. Prior to this period the normal half-pint glass would have been more squat and conical in shaped, sometimes with fluted ornamentation.

Some of those lager branded 1950s glasses still survive and apart from some minor changes they have stayed with us and remained the same over the intervening decades, although modern versions seem to have sadly - if practically - lost their gold rims. (Incidentally, experiments done in the early 19th century state that tea drank from cups with gold rims were at least perceived to taste richer and better, so this might explain another reason for the popularity of this type of decoration.)


To this day if you ask for a ‘glass’ (half-pint) of beer - and sometimes minerals (soft drinks) - in a standard Irish pub it will be most likely served in one of these glasses, and for sure if you order a pint bottle in most pubs you will by default be given one with it. Certainly since the middle of the last century, and regardless of the beer style (Time was an ale not a lager for example) this glass type was used predominantly in Irish pubs, including - even now - for draught Guinness at times. (There was a minor flirtation with a half-pint version of the tulip pint glass but it was a little rarer, although that shape appears to be still used in the occasional pub.)

One of the most famous appearances of this glass shape in popular culture is in the 1958 movie ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ where the character Captain George Anson downs a glass of Carlsberg having arrived in the titular Alexandria. (Never mind that in the original book the beer in question was Rheingold, and the imagined glasses were possibly different.) That scene, which was immortalised as a Carlsberg advert in the 1980s, certainly showcased the glass to great effect.

The sizes of these glasses varied a little when used for beer, from 10 fl.oz. versions - a half-pint - up to 14 fl.oz. versions like the Time glass. These larger sizes were quite popular as they held a half-pint bottle with its head from one pour. Only half-pint glasses used for draught beer sales were verified for volume by government bodies here - the others did not require it, as they were served with bottles that were already verified as to the volume they contained.

So, Smithwick's Time ales may not have lasted but at least the glass shape did, and hopefully it will continue to be used in this country for the foreseeable future.

(There is more on the Time ale brands here, and the beer writer Pete Brown has a nice piece on Ice Cold in Alex and that famous scene here. Finally there is a dive into Smithwicks ale and its supposed history here.)

Liam K

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph and glass itself are the authors own and the image cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!

Wednesday 31 January 2024

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #16 – Cairnes Brewery Invoice (1940)

I last tasted (and swallowed every drop) a glass of Drogheda strong ale, and if any of my readers in Ireland or England or any where else doubt an Irish brewer’s capacity to brew ale, let them get a bottle of William Cairnes & Son’s Drogheda strong ale, and I will vouch for an ‘encore.’

The Whiskey & Allied Trade Review via The Drogheda Argus - October 1897

If there is one enduring misconception about Irish brewing it’s the often perpetuated myth that breweries in Ireland really only ever brewed stout and red ale, or variants of both of these beers. This impression is somewhat understandable given the behemothic effect that one brand of stout has had on the beer drinkers of the country and indeed the world, plus the clever-if-duplicitous branding of certain so-called 'Irish Red Ales' - a relatively new term in the present interpretation of the style at least.  This is compounded by the apathy shown by much of the beercentric population, exacerbated by the utter decimation of most of our regional breweries, plus the neglection of our true brewing history by the latter decades of the 20th century. I doubt most Irish people - let alone those who live beyond our shores - know that in the not-too-distant past there was a wide range of ales brewed in Ireland, although admittedly on a much smaller scale than porter and its extended family.

Thankfully, in the last few decades, the country has started to rediversify into those styles again due to the many microbreweries which have sprouted up across the land but - as noted - this is just a return to the norm of our brewing past, and back to a time when there were many more breweries in Ireland, some of whom were brewing a range of styles to rival or beat many of the world’s breweries of that era. In short, there was a fine selection of Irish-brewed pale and non-red ales of different styles available to our ancestors, as well as other variants, and this is perfectly exemplified by this invoice from Cairnes Brewery in Drogheda from 1940.

The Cairnes Brewery started life as the James’s Street Brewery and commenced brewing on the 6th of October 1826, with their first beers being a pale butt and a table beer, followed a month later by a strong ale. Its proprietor William Cairnes had previously been in business - since 1813 - with John Woolsey at the Castlebellingham brewery and had married into the Woolsey and Bellingham family, but that partnership was dissolved in the same year that William set up his own brewery in Drogheda town, with John Woolsey continuing to brew on the original site. In April 1890 both breweries merged to become the Castlebellingham and Drogheda Breweries Limited and were brewing in both locations. The former brewery ceased production in 1923 with all brewing moving to the Drogheda site. The company changed its name to Cairnes Ltd in late 1933 and finally ceased brewing in 1959 when the brewing arm was sold to Guinness controlled Cherry-Cairnes (Distributors) Ltd, a company originally set up to market Phoenix ale.


 A run through of the ales available from the brewery shows what would be seen as an excellent range in many an English brewery at this time, but was relatively extensive for an Irish one - especially this late in our brewing history.

So what exactly were these beers?

The eponymously named ‘Cairnes’ was their standard draught and bottled ale and was described as pale or golden - not red by any means - with a delicate flavour in advertisements from this era, so perhaps akin to and X ale or a pale mild, and indeed they brewery had exactly such a beer – a ‘Mild Ale’ - in its range a few decades earlier.

‘No. 1 Strong’ may be a version of the older strong mild ale or 'Drogheda Ale' from from a previous era and earlier advertisements. There appears to be no mention of its colour in common sources but an entry on its chemical composition in a Dublin science journal* seems to show it was over 8% abv and it would not be unreasonable to assume this version was the same or similar strength, and it was even mentioned as ‘3 XXX’ [sic] as late as 1950 in a newspaper writeup on the brewery. An advertisement from 1885 shows that Cairnes were brewing an ‘XX Stout Strong Ale (Mild)’ which it would be nice to think was a variant of the same or similar beer, with stout meaning strong here as distinct from the newer connotations of the term. Mild in this case seems to refer to the taste, which it often did in this country and certainly at that time, although it can also mean a fresher or newer beer.

Stingo was a touted as an Irish Winter Ale and advertisements** from around this time state it was brown in colour, but no mention is made of its strength or taste other than it sharpening the appetite, helping digestion and being refreshing, which might imply it was dry and relatively well hopped? Cairnes appear to be the only Irish brewery to ever brew this style of beer in Ireland under that name, which is often used in England, although how close the Irish version was to the English one is difficult to know.

The name ‘E. I. Bitter’ - East India Bitter - most likely refers to their interpretation of an IPA, a version of which they were brewing for several decades, and back in 1885 it was being advertised as an ‘X Stout East India [Ale]. (Bitter)’ and in 1900 as just ‘E I Bitter Ale’ as per our invoice. Curiously just three years later in 1903 in another advertisement they were brewing a beer under the same name plus one called an India Pale Ale. To add further confusion, in 1905 they had alongside their IPA an ‘I. E. Ale (Dinner) but it’s worth noting that advertisements such as these are not always an accurate representation of the actual output of a brewery. India Pale Ale was a style that was quite common in other breweries in Ireland too, so well before the modern resurgence of this type of beer there were plenty of Irish IPAs.

The Nut Brown ale of which, according to our invoice, Mr. Hughes purchased a half barrel is a bit of an enigma as there are very few mentions of such a style in Ireland, although they were certainly brown ales available other than the Stingo mentioned above. Findlater’s Mountjoy brewery made one in the 1950s, and there is a bottle label showing a ‘Mellifont Brown Ale’ - which may be connected to the Cairnes brewery - in circulation too. This is yet another style that is associated with English breweries so it is of interest to see it represented on this side of the water too. Sadly again we know little about it apart from the colour and that it was definitely being brewed at this time.

Pale Ale is next on our list and was probably a lighter version of the I E Bitter and a little stronger than the next brew the Dinner Ale. which was a light and refreshing beer that was served with meals. There appears to be little record of the exact qualities of these two beers from the Cairnes’ stable but they certainly seem to have existed, possibly giving seven ales - plus three porters/stouts - being made by the brewery in the 1930s and early 1940s, although possibly not for much longer than this in truth.


Irish ales had a hard time competing with the popularity of porter in Ireland from the mid to late 18th century onwards, and that issue along with the availability of Scottish and English ales - especially Bass - over here meant that it was an extremely competitive marketplace, with too many brands vying for too few customers. Eventually Smithwick’s, as a brand, won the ale battle with its new kegged draught ale, giving the consumer what it seems they wanted by the latter half of the 20th century.

But back in the day, we brewed pale - and brown - ales, and that's worth emphasising.

Liam K

*The Composition of Drogheda Ale – The Dublin Quarterly Journal of Science Vol. II 1862 - Page 174 (14.3% proof spirit = 8.15% abv, which is 57% of the proof for UK and Ireland in some sources but this may be incorrect?)

** My own post

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph and invoice itself are the authors own and cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. Newspaper research was thanks to The British Newspaper Archive, and other sources are as credited or linked. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!

Thursday 21 December 2023

Of Lovers & Libations

Pinpricks of light wink and twinkle in the milky smear that runs across the night sky.

In the distance yellow light brightly glows through narrow windows, eclipsed at times.

Two pairs of sure steps on the hard stone road echo from old walls and empty homes.

Hands held, their breath mingles as they stop and gently kiss in the clear and frosty air.

They continue onward, closer now, the smell of turf smoke drifting in the too-still night.

Laughter pierces from the briefly opened door, then a booming voice erupts and flows.

A trail of twisted sparks appears then dies in the sky above the clay-fired chimney pot.

A stealing cat weaves between their slowing feet, now the door is within reach. A sigh.


The latch is thumbed, the door pushed. Heat and light spill out alongside jumbled noise.

Inside the place, the cold eyes of warm bodies settle briefly on theirs, then turn away.

They walk together to the altar of hardened timber, of wet rings, of offerings, of wants.

The curate’s eye caught, the await the ritual of the pour. Two bottles, two glasses. One look.

A fireside seat found, burning peat hides brazen faces. Low voices, and glares and glances.

They raise their glasses to their lips and drink as one. Darkness and bitterness wash over.

They go to leave, but then a fiddle strikes, a box joins, and a stick beats time against a skin.

One knows this melody and now their voice sings clear and strong of love’s desire. All quieten.

Hurting haunting silence, then hands bang on tables and some nod approval, but to what?

Then, placed with them, two small glasses filled with amber warmth and guarded tolerance.

The music starts again, and the lovers drink, content as now inner passion fills their hearts.

Outside snow begins to fall, twirling and swirling, its flat flakes all different but all the same.

Liam K

Thursday 7 December 2023

100 Years of Irish Brewing in 50 Objects: #15 – Murphy Stout Label (1960s?)

Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form, and thus with an independent existence. Its heartwood is calligraphy - the dance, on a tiny stage, of the living, speaking hand - and its roots reach into living soil, though its branches may be hung each year with new machines. So long as the root lives, typography remains a source of true delight, true knowledge, true surprise.

Robert Bringhurst - The Elements of Typographic Style (1992)

Any visitor from Manchester of a certain age who strolls around Cork city might have a nagging feeling of familiarity when they come upon certain pubs that are dotted around its streets. They might pass The Castle Inn on South Main Street and think that there was something inviting about it, or look at the front of the nearby Vicarstown Bar on North Main Street and think that the gold-on-black writing on the façade was calling out to them, as if previously they had drank a pint or two sitting on a stool at the counter. Callanan’s too on George’s Quay looks like somewhere they have been in a previous life, as does Forde’s which wraps around the corner from Barrack Street on to Sullivan’s Quay. Even The High House with yet more gold and black livery, which is appropriately situated at the top of Blair’s Hill – although long closed – feels oddly like something from their Mancunian hometown.

The more knowledgeable and eagle-eyed of those visitors who are familiar with the pubs and streetscape of Manchester will twig that the lettering and design on the name signs of all of these pubs – and others too – look exactly the same as many of those that once adorned certain pubs in their home city although, unlike in Cork, this familiar capitalised and italicised gilded lettering has almost disappeared, if it's not already gone. More specifically, it exactly matched the typeface and colours of many of the pubs that were once tied to the Wilson brewery of Newton Heath in that English city.

What appears to be a strange coincidence can be relatively easily explained, as there is a clear connection between those Cork pubs and the ones owned by the Wilson brewery, that being the Watney Mann brewing conglomerate. All of the Cork public house mentioned above – along with quite a few others – were tied-houses belonging to, or run for, The Lady’s Well Brewery, which is more commonly known as Murphy’s Brewery. It is now owned by Heineken but still sits on the same site on Leitrim Street just north of the river Lee.

Tied houses, where a public house was obliged in most cases to sell the produce of just one brewery, were extremely common in Cork city and county in the past, where breweries such as Murphys and Beamish & Crawford (and Lanes and Arnott’s at one time) effectively owned the public houses and controlled what was sold by them, and who ran the houses or rented the premises. This arrangement also meant that the brewery was responsible for the upkeep of the buildings both inside and out as well as overseeing and funding any modernisation or refurbishment that was required from time to time.

In early 1967 the Watney Mann group became the majority shareholder in Murphys and in that year it was decided that all of its tied pubs should have a uniform look, so the manager of the tied houses Rex Archer along with Cork illustrator and artist William Harrington were sent off to study the branding and look of the Wilson Brewery houses in Manchester.* Wilsons brewery had itself been absorbed by Watney Mann in 1960 and it appears that shortly after this time new branding was rolled out for its houses. Although Harrington came up with designs for the interior of some of the Cork pubs and perhaps the exterior too, it seems that a decision was made to just copy the typeface and signage from the Wilson’s pubs right down to the gold text on a black background rather than come up with something specifically for Murphy's houses.

Some of those Manchester pubs appear to have had white writing on red but in the same typeface, this appears to be what was called the ‘Watneyising’ of some of the pubs in a CAMRA publication** from 1976, although some photographs from the time also show Watney pubs with the same colour but a different typeface so it seems that those red and white Wilson pubs were perhaps a hybrid design. This ‘Watneyising’ appears to have been rolled back in some cases and the black and gold lettering reinstated according to that same article. It also looks as if at least some of the Phipps breweries houses - a brewery in Northampton in England that was also acquired by Watney Mann in 1960 - had at least one house with exactly the same branding, The King’s Head in Coventry,*** so perhaps the branding originated somewhere other than for the Wilson’s pubs in Manchester and was part of an over all strategy by Watney Mann? (Curiously, a Chester Brewery house in Manchester, a brewery taken over by rivals Whitbread, had a very similar typeface too.)

What could be called the “Wilson’s" typeface (If not” Phipps”?) [ EDIT: It's actually "English Two-Line Antique’] was also adopted by Murphys in and unitalicised form for their name on labels, beermats and other items associated with the brand at this time, as can be seen in the handsome label shown above. This typeface seems to have lasted with some minor changes until the 1980s when the image and branding was changed and updated in the Heineken era. Looking through old advertisements and breweriana there is a similarity in some of the Wilson’s branding – and Phipps too – which is hardly surprising given their shared ownership, and it is quite possible that there are other Watney-owned brands from that era that also share the same layout and fonts.

[EDIT: As it turns out - thanks to Boak & Bailey here - this lettering 'was conceived by the Design Research Unit and applied across the Watney’s pub estate, including pubs owned by breweries it took over' and is actually called ‘English Two-Line Antique.’]

Even after the Watney Mann era ended at Murphys and the tied houses were all eventually sold off, many of the now independent public house still clung on to the typeface for their name, and a few still do to this day as noted above. Perhaps that tied house program also explains what could be perceived to be a slight lack of surnames on public houses in Cork city when compared to the rest of Ireland, which might certainly make some sense given the actual ownership of many of the pubs at one time.

That recognisable typeface seems to have all but disappeared in Manchester, the city from which it may have originated, something that is a little sad as there was a certain elegance, and certainly some history, to that “look” which once adorned a considerable number of public houses in both cities.

Although it would be nice to think that perhaps a tiny amount of that style struck some chord in Cork publican's minds, and it might explain the commonness of gold writing on a black background in that city. A lasting reminder, at least to those now in the know, of a small episode in the city’s rich brewing history - 'a source of true delight, true knowledge, true surprise' indeed ...

Liam K

*This is from the book The Murphy’s Story: History of Lady's Well Brewery by Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil and Donal Ó Drisceoil and I was reminded of the mention by a Tweet from Tripe + Drisheen about the commonness of the typeface in some of Cork's pubs which were Murphy's tied houses.

** CAMRA publication

*** Boak & Bailey’s Modern Pubs of 1961: Watney’s & Whitbread ant there's much more about Watney's written by them here too.

(Image of The Vicarstown Bar is cropped and via their Facebook account.)

(Image of The Barley Mow is a cropped/enhanced and from the Flickr account of Manchester Archives+, shared via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

(Newspaper advertisement is from The Stockport County Express - Thursday 24th June 1965)

(There are more examples from Manchester of that typeface here.

Please note, all written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. The photograph and label itself are the authors own and cannot be used elsewhere without the author's permission. Newspaper research and advertisement reproduction was thanks to The British Newspaper Archive, and other sources are as credited. DO NOT STEAL THIS CONTENT!