Exploring London's Brewing History

07 October 2021

Mann, Crossman & Paulin Albion Brewery

On Tuesday 5 October, Des de Moor – an authority on the History of Brewing in London – took a group of Liverymen and guests on a gentle stroll through some of the brewing history of east London.

Attendees were treated to a fascinating evening visiting key sites of interest in the history of brewing in east London and hearing some amazing tales of brewers of the past. They learned how porter used to be made and heard the story of the London beer flood of 1814, which killed at least 8 when the huge fermentation tank at the Horse Shoe Brewery (now the Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Rd) burst, gushing out around 2.5 million pints of porter, destroying buildings and lives in the nearby slums of St Giles. 

They saw the site of the old Mann, Crossman & Paulin Albion Brewery which was started on the site of the Blind Beggar pub, now (in)famous for its connection with the Kray twins, and heard how excavations for the Elizabeth tube line uncovered the brewery well. They also visited the site of the Charringtons Anchor Brewery, of which only two buildings survive on the current Anchor retail park. The site covered 6.5 hectares and included a hop store, cooperage and stables. The Georgian director's house, Malplaquet House, survives and is a little further along the Mile End Road and has been beautifully restored after lying derelict for many years.

As an added bonus, some of the Liverymen who attended the tour were former employees of Truman’s and Charrington’s, so even the expert Des de Moor was able to learn a bit about how the former brewery sites were set up and what it was like to work there.

The Company is grateful to Des de Moor for providing such a fascinating tour and to Liveryman Simon Jackson for organising the event. For those interested in finding out more, the third edition of Des de Moor’s book The CAMRA Guide to London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars is due out soon and includes profiles of all 140 London breweries including beer and taproom details, detailed reviews of 180+ additional pubs, bars, shops, restaurants and other outlets with an outstanding beer offer, and background features exploring London’s rich brewing history and modern beer scene.