Micro Brewery Planned For Colliers Wood

Scheme gets thumbs up from councillors

Plans for a micro brewery, including shop and tap room/bar in Colliers Wood have been approved by Merton Council.

A scheme submitted by Mark Gordon of Wimbledon Brewery to create a 30-barrel brew house in an empty unit in the College Fields Business Centre, in Prince Georges Road, behind the Tandem Centre, got the go-ahead last Thursday (December 11).

The proposal, which will create five jobs, will produce a core range of cask and keg beers for pubs in Wimbledon and the wider South West London area. Beer will be bottled off site.

Brewery founder Mr Gordon, aged 46, who lives in Wimbledon, has partnered with Master Brewer Derek Prentice, who will be Head Brewer.

Mr Gordon said: "The combination of Derek's expertise and experience together with ingredients of the highest quality will ensure an exceptional product".

Mr Prentice added: "I am very much looking forward to working with Mark to bring brewing back to Wimbledon. It is an exciting opportunity for me to be in at the very early stages of concept and design so that we can incorporate some of the best features of traditional brewing with modern materials and ideas."

Seven local residents had objected to the scheme with concerns relating to fumes, noise, waste and attracting "undesirable" clients. But the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) have supported the scheme.

FACTFILE: The Original Wimbledon Brewery

William Cook started the first ‘Wimbledon Brewery’ in 1832. It stood in Wimbledon High Street where the old fire station is today. Next door was the Brewery Tap beer house, also run by William Cook. At that time there were 115 breweries in the London excise district.

By 1860 the brewer was Stephen Carter, and by 1865 it had been taken over by Robert Patterson who was also running the Brewery Tap. In 1874 a George Patterson is listed in the local directory as brewer and beer retailer’ in the High Street, and although no street numbers are given it is almost certainly the Wimbledon Brewery and the Brewery Tap beer house.

By 1876 the beer house and the brewery were being run by Charles Alfred Harrison. William Quartermaine took over in 1880 and rebuilt the brewery in July 1885. It had a five-storey tower, the highest building in Wimbledon at that time. The ‘Tower’ principle was cutting edge brewing technology at the time. The process involved pumping pure water (called liquor by brewers) up to the top floor of the brewery and then using gravity to feed each part of the brewing process.

In June 1880 Quartermaine was advertising for draymen, which seems to indicate that he was supplying pubs further afield. In 1881 the Brewery Tap beer house was being run by Thomas Patterson (presumably another relative of Robert and George). Quartermaine was advertising the brewery and its beers in the Wimbledon Courier in January 1881.

At this time Quartermaine was just 26 years old and was employing eight men. (source: 1881 census). He tried to sell the brewery in November 1886 but presumably had no interest. In 1887 Quartermaine was still running the brewery (and living in Cranbrook Road, Wimbledon) but it was back on the market on 10th of February 1888 when it was bought by Leonard McMullen.

It was described as ‘Having a modern plant on the Tower principle with brewer’s office, malt and hop lofts, boiler house and tun rooms, counting house, together with a well-established tap and brick-built house and shop, the whole forming a compact and attractive property.’ McMullen advertised the brewery and its beers in the Surrey Independent. The advertisement stated “Best English Hops Only Used” and listed the following beers: Imperial Double Stout, Double Stout, Single Stout, Porter, Strong Ale XXX, India Pale Ale, Family Pale Ale, Pale Ale, Mid Ale and Dinner Ale.

The fire took place on January 2 1889 and although the interior of the building was badly damaged and all the brewing equipment and machinery destroyed, the main structure of the building (built by local builder Henry Harmer) was intact. The rather farcical story of the Wimbledon Fire Brigade’s attempts to douse the brewery fire was detailed in the Surrey Independent along with a sketch of the building. This sketch was used as the basis of the body of the phoenix in the Wimbledon Brewery logo.

December 19, 2014

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