Brewing

Soap illustration by Monteagle Primary School year 4 children

Alex Glenny was the last of four Glennys to work at the Barking Brewery. On the sale of the Brewery to Messrs Taylor Walker & Co. Ltd., in 1929, he wrote the following vignette on sixty-five years of Glenny stewardship:

In the days of our grandfathers it was customary for farmers to brew their own beer to supply the workers with refreshments in the fields at harvesting time and on other special occasions. The Barking Brewery had such a beginning. Dr George Glenny started the Brewery in 1864 to meet the demands of a few farmers who had not the plant 0r the necessary skill to produce satisfactory beer themselves.

The first brew was made in the potato shed of the late Mr. W. W. Glenny and, apart from farm consumption, the first cask of beer was purchased by Dr Galloway, of Cambridge Road, Barking. In those days Dr Glenny had only one assistant, the late Mr H. Prior.

Many yarns are told of the early days of the Brewery. Mr H. Prior, the son of Dr Glenny's first assistant, tells of the following amusing incident. An employee going home to his dinner, neglected to close the brew-house door. A sow and her litter of pigs, finding the door open and some beer handy in waste tubs, drank freely. When the men returned in the afternoon they found the pigs helpless and the tubs empty. They had to carry the intoxicated pigs into the yard, where they slept off the effects of their hearty indulgence.

The excellency of the brews soon became known and sales grew apace, but Dr George was satisfied with setting the ball rolling, and sold the business to his brother, Mr Thomas W. Glenny, who acquired a site on the east side of Linton Road, and built the Brewery.

Trade increased from month to month, licensed houses were acquired, and the business grew to one of considerable importance. In those days the Brewery was run on empirical lines. Mr Thomas W. Glenny saw grounds for improvement and in 1890 introduced his nephew, Mr George W. Glenny, to the Brewery; when he had grasped the elements of brewing, he served his pupilage under Mr G. D. Atkinson at Messrs Fenwick's Brewery, Sunderland. Later, Mr G. W. Glenny studied under Mr Chaston Chapman, FRS FIC, an illustrious chemist and scientist. On his return to the Barking Brewery, Mr G. W. Glenny introduced many new methods, and the Brewery was not only run on more scientific lines, but produced an infinitely better beer.

This information comes from Tony Clifford’s history of Brewing in Barking here.

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