Yorkshire Post (02/May/1939) - Traditions of Bentley and Shaw, Ltd.

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.


Brewing Business which Sprang from a Young Man's Flair for Experiment

Mr. Timothy Bentley had an inventive mind. He was a young man with a flair for experiment.

In 1795, when still in his twenties, he created the nucleus of Lockwood Brewery, near the famous Horse Bank Spring, and the popularity, which for the past 144 years the beers of Bentley and Shaw, Limited, have enjoyed, is doubtless due in no small measure to his wise choice of site, for the spring water is eminently suited to the brewing of ale.

Not only did Timothy Bentley create Lockwood Brewery: he founded the breweries at Woodlesford, now Bentley's Yorkshire Breweries, and Rotherham (Trustees of the late R. J. Bentley); he also gave the brewing industry the system of conducting the fermenting process in stone squares instead of in wooden rounds.

This famous Yorkshire firm of brewers has behind it great traditions. The Bentley family tree has been traced as far back as the 13th century, and Mr. Timothy is described as having been "a real scion of his forebears." He died in 1830. The prosperous business he had built up was for some years carried on by his executors, with the assistance of his son-in-law, Mr. William Shaw. Ultimately, however, con trol passed into the hands of his grandsons, Mr. Bentley Shaw, Mr. Robert John Bentley (Rotherham) and Mr. Henry Bentley (Woodles-ford). The last named of the trio will probably strike a chord in the memories of some cricket authorities. Henry Bentley was a historian, and in 1823 compiled a comprehensive history of the Marylebone Cricket Club, covering the years 1786-1822. Three generations of his family were well known on the cricket field.

Subsequently, the fourth generation of the family assumed command — Mr. John Lancaster Shaw. Mr Edward Stanhope Shaw. Mr. Harry Cumberland Bentley and Mr. William Needham Longden Champion, son-in-law of the late Mr. Robert John Bentley. Nearly half a century ago the concern was converted into a private limited liability company, and the present directors are Mr Lancelot Shaw Dumaresq (chairman), Mr. W. N. L. Champion, Colonel Henry Spencer Follett, C.B.E., Mr. Neville Lancaster Shaw, Major V. A. Tylor, M.C., and Major Gordon Bentley Poster. For the past nine years Mr. A. L. Owen has been manager, and Mr. R. L. Scully has been the head brewer for a decade.

No history of the firm would be complete unless mention were made of the services rendered to the business by the late Mr. Nathan Jagger. He joined the firm in 1852, when he was only 16, and retired in 1909, retaining his directorship until his death in 1914. This tribute to him is recorded in the official history of the firm; "...He gave unswerving devotion and faithful duty to the interests of the Lockwood Brewery during the whole of the 62 years, a period of service which falls to the lot of but few men."

His son, Mr. Herbert W. Jagger, who entered the service of the company in 1878, became managing director In 1909, and on his retirement in 1929 remained a member of the Board until his death two years ago.

On the banks of the River Holme, Lock-wood Brewery has an almost sylvan setting, it nestles in the dell flanked by the Honley and Meltham roads, only a mile from Huddersfield. A miniature park, complete with cropped lawns, shady shrubberies, flower beds and an illuminated fountain fronts the premises, entry to which is gained from the road along a quarter-mile avenue of trees. The property covers some seventy acres, and the solidly-built home of Mr. Timothy Bentley now offers commodious office accommodation.

Of any tour of the brewery, the central feature is, of course, the brew house itself. This was rebuilt on the tower, or gravitation principle over seventy years ago. The malt house is one of the most modern in the land, and it is interesting to note that, during a season, no fewer than seven thousand quarters of malt can be made from barley on these premises. This would not, of course, be possible without such up-to-date equipment — dressing and screening machinery, steeping cisterns, kilns fitted with automatic "turners," and a suction plant, which transfers grain from and to any part of the building. The brewing plant is capable of producing over 500 barrels in a day. Three mash tuns with a capacity of 80 quarters, two 200 barrel domed wort coppers, one 50 barrel copper, a 200 barrel hopback and two 80 barrel an hour vertical refrigerators comprise the plant in the brewhouse.

There are two fermenting rooms. In one of them, each of the six large copper fermenting rounds has a capacity of 160 barrels, while, in the second, nine other rounds have capacities varying from 34 to 160 barrels. The racking cellar houses modern apparatus for racking the beer into casks, while adjoining are capacious storage cellars.

The bottlery is a spacious, airy and well-lit building. Three separate units now deal with 900 dozen bottles per hour. The cases of bottled beer are conveyed by elevator to the new store, and are then delivered by way of wooden chutes to the fleet of lorries waiting at the loading stage.

Four years ago the pumping plant had to be renewed and enlarged, owing to the increasing popularity of the firm’s beers, and the board decided that the famous Horse-Bank Spring should be given a setting more commensurate with its importance.

Consequently, a handsome pump house was built to command the Spring and the well. Incidentally, the well-bore has a depth of 150 feet and the water, renowned for its medicinal properties, is used exclusively for cooling purposes. The new steam raising and electric generating plant installed 3 years ago is the most up-to-date of its type.

The wine and spirit department is an important adjunct to this progressive brewery. It was inaugurated in 1852 and today commands both wholesale and retail business over an extensive area.

Today the firm has a high reputation among the Huddersfield and district public — there are upwards of 200 licensed houses and off-licence shops owned and leased by the firm — and enjoys the esteem of its employees. Many of the workpeople now assisting in the conduct of the brewery can look back upon periods of service ranging from thirty to forty years, while there are many old employees in receipt of pensions. In all truth it can be said that no business house has more regard for the welfare and health of its servants, and, quite apart from the fact that the firm has laid out a bowling green, a putting green and a tennis court, and has established a successful sports club, it is obvious, even from a cursory tour of the works, that the staff comprise a happy family.

It is, indeed, the brewery's proudest boast that, never having lost sight of its founder’s close concern for the welfare of its servants, that interest is now reflected in the high standard of work contributed by them today.

Thus, the success of Bentley and Shaw Limited is due in no email measure to the continual observance by the board of directors of the high principles held by Timothy Bentley — the young Halifax man who, 144 years ago, had a flair for experiment.