The Blencowe Cannock Brewery in Staffordshire

Cannock Brewery

Blencowe Cannock Brewery in all it's glory

It seems that William Blencowe (1783-1866) was probably the first of the 3 William Blencowes to be involved with the brewing of beer. William was the land lord of the Whitmore Arms in Hethe, Oxfordshire from 1823 to 1826. In the 1841 Census he was a brewer in the Market Place in Brackley, Northamptonshire. In 1851 he was described as a brewer and maltster and hops merchant employing 29 men. By 1894 the business was registered as William Blencowe and Co. Ltd: Brewers and Spirit Merchants with his son William (1827-1896) in charge and the third generation of Williams (1857-1888) and son Robert (1858-1900) in the company. The middle William's sister, Matilda was married to a solicitor, George Cotterell, who was in business with Arthur Scattergood a spirit dealer in the Cannock Brewery Co. Ltd registered in 1880 in Staffordshire.

brewery 1992

In 1889 William Blencowe & Co. Ltd. merged with the Cannock Brewery acquiring the business of Cotterell and Scattergood and started brewing beers with 32 tied public houses, many of which were still serving beer when this extract was published in the Chase Post on 25/10/1992. "The Blencowe Cannock Brewery was the largest of three in the town. The Central Hotel, the Royal Oak and Shoal Hill Tavern are just a few of the Blencowe pubs that still survive. The Kings Arms and the Rising Sun, well known Blencowe pubs, have been flattened to the ground.

In its day the Blencowe brewery must have been one of the most dramatic buildings in the district with a 120 foot chimney that towered above Cannock. For over 40 years, the people of Cannock grew up with Blencowe ales until in 1925; the business was taken over by Butlers Ales. Sadly 3 years later, Butlers closed the brewery and sold the firm to a scrap metal dealer and on 30 March 1928, the chimney was razed to the ground and Cannockis largest brewery became only a distant memory."

Royal Oak

It became quite a family affair to run both the Brackley and Cannock breweries. William junior sadly died in 1888: the window in the Brackley church remembers him as William the Brewer. He was involved with the Brackley Brewery whilst his brother-in-law, George Rogers, was managing director of the Cannock Brewery followed by sons George William Blencowe Rogers and Robert Cave Rogers. William's brother, Robert John Blencowe (1858-1900), a brewer of Brackley, left England for Sydney Australia in 1894 where he died in 1900. It is a wonder he didn't return and take over the business on the death of his father in 1896.

Shoal Hill

The family brewery interests continued in the Midlands well into the 1920s. Another of their breweries was on the Castle Mill Stream in Oxford; it has been converted to residential apartments. It is not clear who carried on the business at the Oxford and Brackley Breweries after the death of William (2) in 1896.

In 1925, like the Cannock Brewery, the Brackley Brewery and 50 public houses were sold (for £2,000 and £98,000 respectively) to Halls Oxford Brewery Ltd. who presumably also acquired the Oxford Castle Mill Stream Brewery?

Article supplied by Richard May, England.