Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Sep/1895) - Lockwood Brewery Centenary

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Centenaries are of rare occurrence in any trading firm. The vicissitudes of business do not often allow of firms remaining for such a lengthened period in one business. The well-known firm of Messrs. Bentley and Shaw is an exception that goes to prove the rule, and during the present week the centenary of its establishment is being celebrated.


The following description of the rise and progress of the firm will doubtless be perused by many readers with considerable interest :—

Amongst the great West Riding brewing concerns the house of Bentley and Shaw has always occupied a position of decided eminence and credit. The founder thereof, Mr. Timothy Bentley, who erected the nucleus of the Lockwood Brewery in 1795, was the celebrated Timothy Bentley, to whose turn for experiment we owe what is known as the Yorkshire system of fermentation, or, in other words, the now generally adopted method in Yorkshire of conducting the fermenting process in stone squares instead of in wooden rounds. On this gentleman’s demise in 1830 the business he had built up was for some years carried on by his executors, with the assistance of Mr. William Shaw, son-in-law of the late Mr. Timothy Bentley, as manager. Ultimately, however, the control passed into the hands of his grandsons, Messrs. Bentley Shaw, Robert John Bentley, and Henry Bentley, who were in course of time succeeded by the fourth generation of the family, in the persons of John Lancaster Shaw, Edward Stanhope Shaw, Harry Cumberland Bentley, and William Needham Longden Champion, son-in-law of the late Mr. Robert John Bentley. The firm was converted into a private limited liability company in 1891, the present directors being John Lancaster Shaw. Harry Cumberland Bentley, W. N. L. Champion, and Nathan Jagger. The last named originally became connected with the concern over 40 years ago, and is now the managing director. Mr. J. Johnstone Smith fulfils the duties of head brewer and brewery manager, and Mr. Herbert W. Jagger, son of Mr. Nathan Jagger, has charge of the wine and spirit department. As will be seen by referring to the date at which the business was first started, the present year, 1895, completes the centenary of the Lockwood Brewery’s continuous existence, and it cannot but afford the present proprietors a most gratifying retrospect to look back at the long period of honourable and deservedly successful trading that has culminated in the high position the business holds to-day in the commercial economy of Yorkshire. The Lockwood Brewery itself is situated about two miles out of Huddersfield, in the midst of beautifully laid out grounds abutting on the river Holme, the entire property representing an area of something like 70 acres. The brewery buildings are of exceptionally handsome proportions, and for the most part modern as regards construction. They are approached from the high road by an avenue of trees a quarter of a mile long and literally hemmed in by pleasant shrubberies. The central feature is, of course, the brew-house, which was rebuilt on the tower or gravitation principle in 1868. Attached are the various subsidiary buildings, stabling, &c., all arranged with an unusual eye for convenience, and together providing accommodation of the most complete and self-contained character. To the right stands what was formerly the private residence of Mr. Timothy Bentley, now used as offices. Commencing our survey in the malt receiving-room, and having inspected the hoppers, screening apparatus, and archimedean screws for conveying the malt from the stores, we proceed at once to the top floor of the tower, where we find the cold liquor reservoir, 20,000 gallons capacity, and the hot liquor tank, which supplies hot water for the cask washing department and general flushing purposes. This tank, it may be noted, holds 200 barrels, and is heated by means of steam coils. An adjoining room, about 40ft. square, contains the apparatus for heating brewing water only; the appliances available including two massive domed copper vessels, steam heated, and lagged with felt and pitch-pine staves, and each holding 254 barrels. The floor beneath is divided into three sections, one of which accommodates the main pipes and elevator gearing. The next division is utilised as a messroom for the workmen employed about the place, and the third as a millroom. This latter has been equipped with a fine set of rolls, and is fitted also with two sets of Jacob’s ladders and a Reinart’s patent busheller for weighing malt. Here, too, is a steam hoist for use in case of breakdown or accident to the elevators. An additional archimedean screw below conveys the crushed malt to the mashing stage, and close at hand are two of Halliday’s patent filters. Descending to the mashing-room, we enter a spacious splendidly-ordered apartment containing two large covered tuns with combined capacity for 80 quarters. Each receptacle is fitted with improved spargers and drain plates, and both tuns are commanded by a “Steel’s mashing machine” of copper, driven by the main shaft. We may mention that this floor is lighted by 12 arched windows, and, like every other part of the buildings, paved with concrete and supported by iron girders and pillars, being thus practically both fireproof and watertight. From the mash tuns the wort passes by gravitation into two intermediate receivers located in the copper-house, the worked grains being discharged by spouting into the grain-house fronting on the west yard. Before proceeding further we visit the principal hop store, where the firm maintain heavy reserves of the choicest hops. The copper-house beneath accommodates two domed receptacles 30ft. high and traversed at an elevation by a broad gallery of brick and stone. These coppers are constructed to hold 200 barrels each. They are both of an efficient type. Situated near them is the hop back, and here we find one of Messrs. Broadbent and Sons’ hydro-extractors for extracting the wort from the hops; whilst at the rear are the coal stores, an extensive range of buildings connected with the roadway by means of shoots. We next enter the cooling loft, located immediately above the loading stage. This chamber has a lofty open roof, lined inside with match boarding, and affords a total floor area of upwards of 2,500 square feet. It contains a couple of open coolers communicating with the wort receiver, into which the liquor from the hop back runs direct. After being partially cooled, the wort is pumped into a large receiver situated on the roof, from whence it passes by gravitation over a series of vertical refrigerators placed in an adjoining room. Three commodious fermenting-rooms are also included in this portion of the premises. The first, called the Timothy Room, contains the original squares, 18 in number, used by Mr. Timothy Bentley when he invented the Yorkshire system of fermentation. Room No. 2 is of more recent erection, and has 27 stone squares half as large again as those above mentioned; whilst No. 3, built in 1890, is equipped with 12 slate squares of the newest type, holding in the aggregate 750 barrels. Suitable attemperators are attached to each vessel, and the entire organisation is a model of neatness and convenience. The racking cellar and the arrangements for filling the barrels are of the most complete description. The cellar is 180ft. in length, and admirably ventilated and appointed. Connected with this runs the new beer cellar, a commodious modern structure of 200ft. in length. This building is used mainly for the storage of Messrs. Bentley and Shaw’s celebrated Timothy ales, and is capable of receiving from 5,000 to 6,000 barrels, whilst not far away we find the ancient cellars erected by Timothy Bentley, and embracing about 60 arched recesses, in which as many as 5,000 casks can be stocked. The firm brew the whole of their celebrated ales from the pure waters of the famous Horse Bank Spring. These, it may be observed, comprise, in addition to the "Timothy" specialities, an especially fine family ale, A.K., and a superior full-bodied family stout, both of which are noted for their general excellence and palatable qualities. Amongst the remaining features of interest are the loading stages, the cask washing sheds, the engine-houses, containing two 25 h.-p. engines, and a set of three throw pumps, the boiler-house and chimney shaft — the latter noteworthy as having been built from designs by Sir Robert Rawlinson, K.C.B. — the fire station and pump-room, the mechanics’ and engineers’ shops, the steam saw mills, the timber stores, and blacksmiths’ and wheelwrights’ departments, and the cart sheds, steam fodder preparing house, and stables, which last have accommodation for 40 horses. The outbuildings also include four extensive ranges of meltings, with stores for 7,000 quarters, large bottling stores, and wine and spirit store adjoining the brew-house. Needless to say the firm’s productions meet with ample appreciation on the part of consumers, and are in steady and unfluctuating request both locally and further afield. One hundred years have passed over the Lockwood Brewery, but endowed with the facility of perennial rejuvenation, age only adds to its resourceful strength. Who shall say that in 1995 there will not be occasion for other pens to chronicle the bicentenary of this typical establishment?


On Thursday evening the centenary was celebrated by a grand banquet in the Armoury, Ramsden Street. Huddersfield. The hall, which was the largest in the town procurable, had been tastefully decorated for the occasion with mirrors, flags, bannerets, shields, and art muslin, relieved by some fine palms. On the front of the back gallery were the dates, 1795-1895. No less than 400 invitations had been issued to the trade customers of the firm and a few friends, and over 350 of the invitations were accepted. When the whole of the guests were seated the hall presented an exceedingly bright appearance. Mr. J. Lancaster Shaw presided at the principal table, and he was supported by Mr. Samuel Learoyd, Mr. Geo. Harper, Mr. B. Allen, Mr. Nathan Jagger (managing director of the firm), Mr. B. L. Shaw, Mr. J. B. Abbey, Mr. F. A. Reed, Mr. J. J. Smith, Mr. William Hall, Mr. Herbert W. Jagger, Mr. Charles Kaye, Mr. J. J. Booth (Messers. Eddison and Taylor), Mr. Abraham Stead, Mr. E. Duxbury, Mr. A. Lee, Mr. A. F. Bateman, Mr. George Lawton, Mr. W. Wright. Mr. J. A. Bradbury, Councillor Clark (president of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association), Councillor J. Briggs (president of the Beer and Wine Sellers’ Association), Mr. William Drayton, Mr. H. A. Whittell, &c. The dinner, the provision of which had been entrusted to Messrs. Johnson Bros., was an excellent one, and was admirably served, there being an abundance of everything. At the conclusion of the repast a toast list was gone through.

The toast of “Her Majesty the Queen” was, at the call of the Chairman, loyally drunk, and a verse of the National Anthem was sung.

The Chairman next proposed “The Prince and Princess of Wales and the Best of the Royal Family.” In the Prince of Wales, he said, they had one of the most popular gentlemen of the day. The Prince was a thoroughly good sportsman, and in that respect commended himself to every gathering of Yorkshiremen. In the Princess of Wales they had a lady whose example might be copied by every wife and mother in England. (Applause.)

The toast was heartily drunk, and a verse of “God bless the Prince of Wales” sung.

Mr. Geo. Harper gave “The Town and Trade of Huddersfield.” Good wine, he remarked, needed no bush, neither did the toast that it fell to his lot to propose require many words to commend it to their hearty approval and adoption. They were all undoubtedly interested in the town and trade of Huddersfield. Some of them who were growing into the seer and yellow leaf remembered Huddersfield under a very different aspect to what they saw it in the present day. He was not a Yorkshireman to the manner born, but having resided in this enterprising town for a period of 45 years — 35 of which he had resided in Lockwood, and been a very near neighbour of the family whose guests they were that evening — he knew something of the past history of the town. It also fell to his lot as a journalist to know something of its present history, and he looked forward with great interest to its future history. Huddersfield, in his early connection with the town, was a very unimportant, overgrown village, and the Square. John William Street, and the whole of the new parts of the town were fields. He had watched the work of the Corporation, and whilst it had fallen to his lot from time to time to take an adverse view of the expenditure of that body, he thought they must all admit that what had been done in regard to the provision of tramways and sewerage works, and especially waterworks and gasworks, had been for the advantage of the present and future welfare of the town. (Hear, hear.) It would have been impossible for Huddersfield to have grown and developed to its present state had these things not been attended to. It was a moot question whether they could not have been dealt with more economically, but in the presence of Councillor Clark he would not say more lest he should “put his foot in it.” For sometime past they had had a depression in trade, but he believed that a better time was coming, and although everybody might not fall in with the views of his friend Mr. Learoyd as to the starting of new industries in the borough, he was sure that trade in the old beaten track was in a better position than it had been for some time past, and they all hoped that it would be better still in the future. Of course they were largely dependent on one staple trade. In his time trade had been the means of raising men from comparative poverty into positive affluence, and it was a credit to many of the leading men that their affluence had been well, wisely, and liberally distributed in furthering matters connected with education and religion, and other movements for the benefit of the town. (Applause.)

Mr. B. Allen, in responding, observed that Huddersfield had during the last four or five years passed through a state of depression — he might say almost of despondency — but they were emerging now from that slough of despondency. The silver lining of that cloud of commercial despondency had now appeared; they were on the line of increasing trade, prospects were brighter, and they were happier and looking up. They had met there that night to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Lockwood Brewery. (Applause.) All honour, he said, to those pioneers who established the brewery, and they could only hope that the present members would be as successful as their predecessors, and show that there was something of vitality in the commerce of the town. (Hear, hear.) Huddersfield was the designer for the whole world in cloth production, and if given a freedom from trade disputes could still hold her own. It was only by cultivating a feeling of generosity, reciprocity, and a mutual understanding between master and man that this could be accomplished. Without that understanding trade would slip through their fingers. They had the intellect, energy, and capital, and the combination of these three things would bring Huddersfield to the zenith, and they would not see the empty mills and vacant houses which they saw to-day. The silver lining of which he had spoken would reach to a golden lining if they all only put their shoulders to the wheel. (Applause.)

Mr. S. Learoyd proposed “The Company of Bentley and Shaw (Limited).” He regarded it as a very proud privilege, he said, to have entrusted to him a toast which he knew would meet with their approved and most hearty enthusiasm. It was no small matter that in connection with an industry which they all regarded as a difficult one, the search light of public opinion and judicial consideration had for 100 years been turned upon it. It would be impossible for him to suggest a higher testimonial to Messrs. Bentley and Shaw (Limited), or one that could gratify their chairman more than anyone else, than the fact that in the 100th year of the firm’s existence there had not been one single charge brought against any of the tenants of their houses. (Applause.) He regarded that as a compliment to their customers and a profound compliment to the firm who had selected those customers. (Hear, hear.) It must also be a matter of great gratification that the principals of a big industry like theirs and the customers of that industry were met together that night to congratulate each other. He believed that the great secret of the success of Messrs. Bentley and Shaw was that their first thought had not been how they could line their pockets and enrich themselves, but how they could best serve those who favoured them with their patronage. There were those who feared that when the firm was formed into a corporation the members of it would lose their individuality, and that in future they would be dealing with a corporation that had no soul to save and no body to be kicked. (Laughter.) Happily this had not been the case. The happy medium had been hit, and whilst they had secured the prestige of the corporation, they had preserved the individuality. (Applause.) He proceeded to refer in eulogistic terms to Mr. Timothy Bentley and Mrs. Bentley, Mr. Bentley Shaw, who was so well succeeded by their chairman; and to Mr. Nathan Jagger, his faithful colleague and manager, to whom the success of the industry was largely due, and whose heart beat as warmly towards Messrs. Bentley and Shaw (Limited), as it did towards the old firm of Bentley and Shaw. (Applause.) The object of the firm had been, not to enrich themselves, but to secure the best interests of their customers, and in doing that to secure their own interests. If the whole of the brewing industry was only carried on as was that of Bentley and Shaw (Limited), a death-blow would be given to Local Veto. (Laughter.) He believed the tie between the firm and their customers was one of mutual regard and deep-seated affection. Nothing could more effectually give the death-blow to those agitators who were trying to make a political cry against this great industry. (Hear, hear.) In conclusion, he expressed a hope that the firm might exist to the Judgment Day, when he confessed there would be few men who would have a better account to give than the firm of Bentley and Shaw (Limited).

The Chairman was loudly applauded on rising to respond. He apologised in the first place for the unavoidable absence of two of the directors, Mr. H. C. Bentley and Mr. Champion. Proceeding, he returned thanks on behalf of himself and his co-directors for the very kind manner in which Mr. Learoyd had proposed the toast, and the company for the hearty reception they had accorded it. They were highly honoured and deeply gratified by the kind expressions of goodwill, and for the hopes of success in the future. The occasion was one which marked an epoch in their commercial life, being as it was the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the business by his great grandfather. Looking back upon those 100 years, during which four generations in the direct line from the founder had personally, that was daily and hourly, directed its affairs, many thoughts vividly suggested themselves to their minds. Many and great changes had taken place, not only in the social status of the people but also in the methods and ways of the business life of the country, and it was gratifying to think that their present position among the industries of the town had been attained by a timely appreciation of those changes to altered conditions, by the principals past and present, aided so ably, as had ever been the case, by the efforts of a devoted staff, who had always rendered their services in a spirit of true patriotism, as evidenced by the number of years of active work they had given to the firm. (Hear, hear, and applause.) These ranged through periods of 12, 14, 18, 31, 37, 38, and even 44 years, and the presence of these gentlemen at their gathering that night afforded him personally the greatest pleasure. He remembered that they were co-workers together in days gone by. But in this retrospect they must not forget their friends the customers, who, in increasing numbers, with increasing years, had been so great a factor in their progress, and with whom they trusted their business connections would still increase and become more closely united in the future, to their mutual advantage. (Applause.) It would always be their endeavour, as it had been in the past, to forward the interests of their friends by the conservation of a character for straightforward and honourable dealing. (Applause.) It was the exception nowadays, rather than the rule, to find the old name in unbroken continuity, and the old people in the direct line at the head of business houses — (hear, hear) — after the lapse of so long a period as a century, and the directors thought, with a pardonable pride, that such an event should not be allowed to pass unnoticed. (Applause.) Therefore, they determined to ask their friends to assist them in celebrating the centenary of the business. (Applause.) Hence it was that they appeared before them that evening in the role of "mine host," usurping for the moment the position usually filled by the majority of those present. They now extended to each and all a hearty welcome — (applause) — and ventured to hope that they might carry away the recollection of a pleasant gathering, each as conld never occur again in the lifetime of any of those present. It might be a matter of interest to those present to be told that the fifth generation was represented upon their staff in the person of Hr. Edwin Shaw, who in years to come would, they trusted, prove himself a worthy successor of his predecessors. (Applause.)

Mr. Nathan Jagger submitted the toast of “The Guests.” In doing so he made a few remarks on the subject of the gathering. He had sometimes tried, he said, to look back in imagination to the period when the Lockwood Brewery was founded. Let them imagine a young man of 25 — the late Mr. Timothy Bentley was born in 1770 — coming into the district in search of a site on which to erect premises to commence a new business. Having discovered that site he proceeded with the building and fitting up of premises, and being skilled in the art he commenced in good earnest the business of a brewer. Besides being a man of keen judgment he must have had considerable business tact and perseverance, for they knew that he was not only fortunate in his choice of position, but most successful in business. He believed they would also hear that night from one who knew the late Mr. Timothy Bentley personally, that he was kind and good, and not only highly respected, but beloved by all classes of the village. Passing to his successor, they would pay their tribute of respect and love to the name of the late Mr. Bentley Shaw, whose memory was ever fresh and fragrant, and in whose time the premises were considerably enlarged, the new brewery being erected and fitted with the latest and most approved appliances. Nor would they omit the name of their dear young friend Mr. E. S. Shaw, who was recently taken away in early life. They must now leave the 100 mile stones of years, and continue their journey forwards. It devolved upon them to preserve the character and reputation which had been handed down, and he assured them that no effort would be spared on the part of the firm to keep up the position they now occupied. Their customers might rest assured that their interests would always have the firm’s first consideration, and they felt justified in return in counting on their customers’ continued confidence and support. They thanked them for joining in the celebration of that night, and hoped that in time to come they would be able to think with pleasure of the happy gathering they had on the occasion of the centenary of Messrs. Bentley and Shaw (Limited). (Applause.)

Councillor Clark responded, and on behalf of himself and the association he represented, thanked the firm for extending their hospitality to him. He was well acquainted with the majority of those present, and he believed that Messrs. Bentley and Shaw tried to do their duty to the best of their ability to every licence-holder in the district. (Hear, hear.) On behalf of the licence-holders also he must say that it was their constant endeavour to keep within the law, because they knew it was to their interests, as well as to the interests of the owners of the house, that they should do so. At the Brewster Sessions there was no complaint either from the Chief Constable or the Chief Magistrate of the borough. (Hear, hear.) He mentioned, in conclusion, that Messrs. Bentley and Shaw had always been willing to support the Licensed Victuallers’ Association when called upon.

Councillor Briggs next responded to the toast, and remarked that no member of the association he represented had had a conviction recorded against him during the last 12 months, while the report of the Chief Constable was very favourable.

Mr. Charles Kaye, who was announced as the only person present who had a distinct recollection of and was a friend of Mr. Timothy Bentley, also acknowledged the toast. He said that being a resident in the centre of Lockwood he, more than 70 years ago, frequently saw Mr. Bentley pass in his carriage on his way to Huddersfield. The dress he wore was that which was in vogue in the early part of the century, and he retained that style till the end of his life. He (Mr. Kaye) frequently saw him in the yard, and recollected the observant eye, and the kindly manner in which he treated everyone he came in contact with. He was always pleasant with his work-people, and to others he showed a full consideration of the equality of man. There was one noted feature in his character, and that was that he always kept on old servants as long as they could do anything at all. In conclusion, the speaker remarked that there was one thing which was to the great honour of the Bentley family, and which had not been referred to that night — he meant the Bentley Charity. (Applause.)

Mr. Joe Mellor proposed “The Health of the Chairman,” to whom he alluded in flattering terms. As one of the oldest customers of the firm, having dealt with them for 45 years, he hoped and trusted that they would always maintain the character they at present held. (Hear, hear.)

The Chairman suitably replied, and expressed a hope that Mr. Joe Mellor might be spared for many years to come to do business with the firm.

Mr. Joseph Armitage proposed “The Health of Mr. Nathan Jagger.” He had been, he said, one of Mr. Jagger’s tenants, and had known him for many years, and felt proud of the position to which he had risen.

Mr. N. Jagger, in replying, assured those present that he appreciated their kindness. He hoped and trusted that they might live for many years to meet each other and try to further each other’s interests.

Mr. Edwin Shaw gracefully proposed “The Ladies,” which was responded to in felicitous terms by Mr. F. A. Reed.

The remaining toast was that of “The Fifth Generation.” This was proposed by Mr. J. B. Abbey, who spoke of the happy connection of himself and his father professionally with the firm. — The toast was heartily drunk, the company singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow.”

Mr. Edwin Shaw, in, responding, said he only hoped that the fifth generation, which he represented, would follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before, and then they could not go wrong. He thanked the company for the enthusiastic manner in which they had received the toast, and trusted that he would always have their hearty goodwill.

The speeches were interspersed with songs and glees by the members of a glee party, and a very convivial evening was spent. The proceedings commenced in good time, and were brought to a close just before nine o’clock in order that those who came from the outside districts might be able to return home by train.

To-day the employees of the firm and their wives are to participate in the celebration, a trip to Scarborough having been arranged.