Real Ale

Real Ale

Burton Bridge Inn & Brewery

Name: The Burton Bridge Brewery

Address: 24, Bridge Street, Burton-on-Trent

It may seem a little strange to have pub from Burton-on-Trent on a blog dedicated to Chorley's Inns and Taverns but for me this was where it all began, back in the mid-late 1980's and once you have the bug you never really lose it. 

The Burton Bridge Brewery takes its name from the Burton Bridge over the River Trent at Burton-on-Trent. It is situated twenty yards from the end of the present bridge. Built in the late 17th Century as the Fox and Goose Inn, the old bridge finished just outside the front door. Remains of the first two arches are still there but buried under the road. The bridge itself saw much military action in Edward Il’s reign but the brewers arrived in the early eighteenth century. The earliest recording of the Fox & Goose's existence is from 1765 in the press cutting below: -

Derby Mercury 11 January 1765

Benjamin Printon became the town’s first common brewer in 1708 with his brewery being built in Bridge Street. Indeed he was not alone for at sometime or other, John Thompson’s Brewery, Boddingtons Brewery, the Burton Brewery, Salt’s Brewery and Joseph Nunnelly’s all existed within a radius of 150 yards of the old Fox and Goose Inn. Some brewery buildings still exist of this golden period including a small floor maltings dated 1823 at the bottom of which is now the brewery yard.

1938 Map

In the early 19th Century the free-hold of the Fox and Goose was purchased by Mr Bass from the Marquis of Anglesey and it remained a Bass licensed house until it was closed and sold off by them in 1981. 

Derby Mercury 12 February 1823
Again people came across the bridge from the south when Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson bought the old pub with a view to opening yet another commercial brewery. This was the start of the 201st. brewery company to have operated from Burton since Benjamin Printon’s day.

Information taken from the following websites Burton Bridge Brewery and Burton Bridge Inn

Staffordshire Advertiser 18 October 1828

Listed landlords at the Fox & Goose were R & Mary Hall (1818-34), Ellen Hodson (1834-41), John & Ellen Eardley nee Hodson (1841-45), Ellen Eardley nee Hodson (1845-58), Charles & Susannah Beard (1858-64), Charles & Mary Ann Taylor (1871-83), John Marbrow (1883-89), Isaac & Sarah Ann Oliver (1889-1902), Charles Gould (1911).  More recent landlords at the Fox & Goose in its reincarnation at the Bridge Inn were Geoff Mumford & Bruce Wilkinson (1982-1990), Kevin McDonald (1990-2009) and Carl & Nikki Stout (2009).

Staffordshire Advertiser 20 August 1836

1841 Census

Stamford Mercury 02 December 1842

Derbyshire Courier 03 December 1842

UK Poll Books & Electoral Registers 1844

Bagshaw's 1846 Trade Directory of Derbyshire provides us with a bit of history of the town and importance of the bridge across the River Trent.

Burton has long been celebrated for the excellence of its ALE, and immense quantities are sent to all parts of the United Kingdom, and to many foreign countries, especially the East and West Indies.  During the reign of the second Catherine of Russia, great quantities were exported to the Continent, it being the favourite beverage of that queen, but this trade was extinguished by the Berlin Decree, which shut out our manufactures from the Continent.  Twenty years ago, the number of breweries was only five, it is now sixteen; and a greater extent of business is done at some of the older establishments than was done by the whole town at that time.  The superior properties of Burton ale is partly attributable to the excellent hard water which is obtained from the neighbouring hills; and Dr Darwin ingeniously supposes “that some of the saccharine acid in the malt combines with the calcareous earth of hard water, and forms a sort of mineral sugar, which is convertible into spirits.”  Most of the breweries have also very extensive malting establishments.  The cotton spinning and power-loom weaving were carried on to a considerable extent by Messrs Peel & Co. till within the last few years.  Two of the factories are now occupied by Mr William B. Cooke, smallware manufacturer, who employs upwards of 250 hands; another is used as stores by the brewers, and the other is unoccupied.  An extensive iron foundry is carried on by Robert Thornewill, Esq., in New street.  The river Trent is navigable for barges up to the town, and the canal, which connects that river with the Mersey, opens a water communication with all the principal towns in the kingdom.  The town has several times been inundated by the Trent, particularly in the years 1771, 1792, 1795, and 1798, when most of the streets were laid under water.

The Bridge is the most interesting object of antiquity which the town possesses, and is supposed to have been erected by Bernard, Abbot of Burton, about the year 1174 ; others assign the erection to a much earlier period.  Its zig-zag form stretches across the two streams of the Trent a distance of 1,545 feet, and has 36 arches.  From its extreme narrowness and unnecessary length, many serious accidents have occurred, and it is a matter of consideration with the inhabitants how the danger shall be obviated.  A battle was fought upon the bridge in 1322, when Edward III. obtained a decisive victory over the Earl of Lancaster; and it is supposed that the chapel which formerly stood at the end of the bridge was built to commemorate this victory.  Mass was frequently said, in order to raise funds to defray the expenses of the bridge.

Burton-on-Trent is an extensive parish, principally in the Offlow hundred, Staffordshire, and partly in Repton and Gresley hundred, Derbyshire.  The entire parish contains 7,730 acres of land, with a population of 8,136 souls, divided into 7 townships, viz. Burton-upon-Trent, Burton Extra, Branstone, Horninglow, and Stretton, in Staffordshire, with Stapenhill and Winshill, which are in Derbyshire.  The manor of Burton-upon-Trent, with several hamlets, was granted in the 37th Henry VIII. to an ancestor of the present Marquis of Anglesey, who is lord of the manor, principal owner of the soil, and improprietor of the great tithes of the whole parish.  The east and west sides of the parish swell gradually into hills, and have string red loamy soil, suitable for the growth of barley and wheat, the former of which is extensively cultivated, and sold to the numerous malting establishments at Burton.  The rest of the land is chiefly meadow, forming rich loamy pastures, which are often flooded by the waters of the Trent and Dove.

Anchor, Jph. Bowler, New st 
Angel, Henry Whitehead, Bank square 
Barley Mow, Wm. Swindale, Pinfold lane 
Bear Inn, (and excise office,) John Thompson, Horninglow st 
Bell, Hy. Cox, Horninglow st 
Blue Posts, John Yeomans, High st 
Boot, Wm. Foster, High st 
Castle Inn, James Hall, Lichfield st 
Carpenter’s Arms, William Gretton, New st 
Coach and Horses, Benjamin Hewitt, High st 
Dog, Jas. Nichols, Lichfield st 
Fox & Goose, Ellen Eardley, Bridge st 
George Inn, (&posting house,) Henry Townsend, High st 
King of Prussia, Elizabeth Baldwin, New st 
Lamb, Wm. Milward, High st 
Leopard, Samuel Wilkes, Burton extra 
Man in the Moon, Francis Atkin, Market place 
Nag’s Head, Wm. Hawkesworth, Burton Extra 
Old Crown, Benjamin Hicklin, High st 
Old Spread Eagle, Wm. Parkes, Lichfield st 
Old White Lion, Rt. Naylor, Market place 
Plough, George Peace, Horninglow st 
Rising Sun, George Keates, Horninglow st 
Royal Oak, Richard Roe, Market place 
Roe Buck, Edmund Smith, Horninglow st 
Saracen’s Head, Wm. Davison, Bridge st 
Ship, Wm. Chambers, Bridge st 
Shoulder of Mutton, Wm. Shutes, Bridge st 
Spread Eagle, Henry Bagnall, New st 
Star, Sarah Meason, High st 
Swan, Harriet Smith, Anderstaff lane 
Talbot, Martha Blood, Horninglow st 
Three Queens, Hotel and Posting House, John Lees, Bridge st 
Union Inn, James Gaunt, Horninglow st 
Wheat Sheaf, James Grundy, High st 
White Hart, Jno. Wade, High st 
White Horse, Frances Woolley, High st 
White Lion, Thos. Swindall, Burton Extra

1851 Census

Staffordshire Advertiser 03 September 1853

The skittle alley upstairs, venue to many a social gathering

Staffordshire Advertiser 06 September 1856

Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 30 December 1857

The skittle alley upstairs used to host the  Burton Jazz Club in the late 1980's though they later moved to the Marston's Social Club.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 26 February 1858

Staffordshire Advertiser 27 March 1858

1861 Census

Staffordshire Advertiser 09 January 1864

Staffordshire Advertiser 27 January 1866

1871 Census

The Fox and Goose featured in the development of transport services in the town when Charles Taylor was the landlord in the 1870's as the article below shows.

Although Hanson Cabs were available for those that could afford them, the first public passenger service was available in Burton as far back as 1846 when a horse drawn ‘omnibus’ service ran between the Three Queens Hotel in Bridge Street and Burton Railway Station up to 18 times a day.

In 1871, it was decided that such services should have an operating license to maintain some sort of control and the first license was issued to Charles Taylor for his application to run a service between the Fox and Goose Inn and the Station.

The following information is taken from the Burton Bridge Brewery website: -

It must have been whilst Charles & Mary were at the pub in 1873 that a well spoken Russian man named Michael Ostrog (aka. Bertrand Ashley) booked a room. Ostrog was arrested at the pub on Sunday afternoon of the 5th October by Superintendant Thomas Oswell for stealing books and a cup from Eton college.

Superintendent Thomas Oswell had learned that Ostrog could be found at the Fox and Goose Inn. He found him in the dining room where Oswell, sensing that Ostrog was potentially violent, took the precaution of throwing the cutlery out of Ostrog's reach before confronting him with a copy of the Police Gazette and arresting him for the theft of the cup at Eton. Ostrog told Oswell that he was a Swedish doctor who was visiting a brewery at Burton-Upon-Trent and he had never been to Eton in his life. Ostrog had to be forced into the cab that took him to the police station. When they arrived Ostrog pulled a loaded 8 chambered revolver from his pocket but was disarmed by Oswell who turned the weapon upon the Russian.

London Evening Standard 07 October 1873

Michael Ostrog was later to be one of Sir Melville MacNaughten's three prime suspects in the Whitechapel murders, commonly known as the 'Jack the Ripper' murders of 1888. Although he was the least plausible and later proved to have been in custody in France at the time of the murders.

Edinburgh Evening News 07 October 1873

Derby Daily Telegraph 10 June 1880

1881 Census

Derby Daily Telegraph 15 September 1881

By the time of the 1891 census Charles Taylor had retired from running the Fox & Goose but still lived in the Stretton area of Burton-on-Trent and remained in the town until his death in 1900.

The next landlord, Isaac Oliver was originally a "Cooper" by trade but moved to the Fox & Goose after a period behind the bar at the British Lion on Derby Street.

1891 Census

1901 Census

Isaac Oliver died in 1902 whilst still at the Fox & Goose as his probate record below confirms. His son William had followed him into the brewery industry but how long he and his mother remained at the pub after Isaac's death is not known to me at present.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 01 March 1907

1911 Census Front Page

Charles Gould was behind the bar at the time of the 1911 census, a Burton lad through and through, being born in the town and learning an early trade as a "Cooper" whilst living at home...his father was also working the brewery business as a "Maltser". 

1911 Census

Derby Daily Telegraph 04 February 1933

Derby Daily Telegraph 15 December 1938

Kevin's last orders after 18 years at the Bridge Burton Mail April 09, 2009

Kevin McDonald, and wife Jan, retiring from the Burton Bridge Inn, in Bridge Street, Burton.
A PUB landlord from Burton is calling ‘last orders’ for the final time after more than 18 years at the helm of one of the town’s most cherished boozers. Kevin McDonald, along with wife Jan, has been at the helm of the Burton Bridge Inn, in Bridge Street, since November 1990.
Now, the couple are moving on to pastures new, taking with them a store of happy memories of a pub Mr McDonald described as ‘a mecca for real ale drinkers’.
"It’s a very friendly local, with really nice people," he said. "It attracts people from all walks of life and everyone gets on and talks. There are no machines, no music — people come here for good beer and a good chat."
Halifax-born Mr McDonald, 52, who arrived at the Bridge fresh from a stint at a pub in the Cotswolds, says he and his wife are ready for a well-earned break after the sometimes gruelling life of a pub landlord and landlady. 
"I just decided I was feeling a little bit tired after 18 and a half years," he said. "It’s a very busy pub and it needs someone a little bit younger than myself to come in and take it forward."
The couple are now looking forward to settling into a new life in Stapenhill, pursuing as yet undecided new career paths, but not before a spot of rest and relaxation touring Cornwall in their motorhome.
Geoff Mumford, co-director of Burton Bridge Brewery, paid tribute to the man who has enjoyed an unusually long stint at the company’s flagship pub.
"Kevin has done a really marvellous job — he is very professional and has really helped us in our development as a business," he said.
"He has been running what is, in effect, the front of house part of our business, which is where all the good impressions come from. After working with Kevin and Jan for more than 18 years, all you can do is wish them the very best for the future, because they deserve it."
The McDonalds’ last day at the Bridge will be Monday, April 27, when the pub will be entrusted into the hands of Carl and Nicki Stout, currently licensees of another Burton Bridge pub — the Devonshire Arms, in Station Street.

Kevin & Jan MacDonald behind the bar 2009

The Burton Bridge Brewery is up for sale Burton Mail Posted: August 19, 2016
Burton Bridge Brewery is up for sale pictured is Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson.

Burton Bridge Brewery has been put up for sale, nearly 35 years after owners Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson brewed their first pint. The pair, who set up the business in Bridge Street, in 1981, and started brewing in May 1982, have conceded that they are 'getting too old' to continue in the industry.
Geoff, who is 74, spoke to Mail just hours after telling the staff at the brewery and the landlords in the five pubs owned by the company – Burton Bridge Inn, The Devonshire, The Plough, The Brickmakers Arms and the Alfred Ale House.He said: "We've had the idea on the shelf for probably the last year, just to pull off when the time is right. We've decided that is now – we're just getting too old. We have always operated in a very hands-on way and we don't want to be at the stage where we can't work in the way we like. We don't want to be doing it remotely or in a less active way. I had tears in my eyes where I was telling the staff – it was very emotional. This is almost half my life and is most certainly half of my working life. We have a lot of long-term employees who are like a family. The sale will see everything going as one. The staff weren't surprise when we told them, and there is a little bit of concern about the future but we are ensuring that none of the business will be broken up.
Co-owner of the Burton Bridge, Geoff Mumford, has spoken about the decision to sell-up
"The sale won't all be done on price, but we'll be judging people on their passion. That person has to come in with the same passion we had from 30 years ago because that passion comes through in the beer and the pubs. If the pubs were sold off separately, the work force in the brewery would have to be reduced and we don't want to see that and selling them individually, the pubs would lose some of their appeal.We have a good brand here, and it makes the pubs a little bit unique; people like the association of a brewer owning and running a pub."
When the pair first started off in the early eighties, they ran the Burton Bridge Inn as well as brewing and delivering the beers. After seven years, they got their first tenant in the pub and paid off their first bank loan, and Geoff admits that was the moment the pair knew they had made it.
He said: "After seven years we could step back from running the pub and put in a tenant and paid off the bank loan, that was the moment I knew. We felt a tremendous load lifted off our shoulders – that feeling that we had got rid of our biggest financial burden." 
Over the years the brewery has made special brews for sporting events and commemorative beers but for Geoff, one moment stands out - "It was the Bridge being crowned the winner of CAMRA's best refurbished pub about 10 years ago. We did quite an expansion and that for me is probably my proudest moment."
Over the years it's thought the brewery has brewed more than 20 million pints with more than 18,000 each week – with Geoff adding 'that's a lot of happy people'. Geoff admits he will miss the brewery but more than anything the staff and customers who have become a cornerstone of the business. It is believed that the sale could take up to 12 months to complete with Geoff inviting anyone interested to simply pop in for a chat.
By A Musgrove BM 

Burton Bridge Brewery could be split from the pubs as sale deal is still on table
The owners of the firm want to sell up and retire
By Helen Kreft Senior Reporter 12:01, 21 OCT 2017

Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson are hoping to sell up
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Hopes of selling a popular brewery and its five Burton pubs as one business allowing its owners to finally retire, have been dashed - so they could now be split up and sold, it has been revealed.
Burton Bridge Brewery owners Geoff Mumford, 75, and Bruce Wilkinson, 69, admit they are well past retirement age. They had put the brewery and pub firm up for sale but have not yet found a buyer. They have now revealed they may have to split their business in two in order to sell up.
The Burton Bridge Brewery was originally put on the market in August, last year, and while it has garnered interest from potential buyers, Mr Mumford admits: "We are too small an operation for the big boys to be interested and too big an operation for the small boys to be interested. It is a matter of the small boys raising the money so we are looking at splitting the business up and selling the pubs and the brewery."
Geoff Mumford admits they may have to split the business in two
Mr Mumford and Mr Wilkinson had been hoping to sell the brewery and its associated five pubs as one brand, rather than separating them. They previously said that splitting the business may lead to a reduction in its local workforce of 10 but Mr Mumford now hopes that this won’t be the case.
The pair, who have run the brewery for 35 years, have said they made the decision to sell the brewery because of their age and the fear that one day they would not be able to run brewery in the way they wanted.
Mr Mumford said: "In order to retire and we are both well passed our retirement age. I am 75 and Bruce is 69 and in spite of what people may think, it is a very physical job."
Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson have been at the helm of Burton Bridge Brewery for 35 years
The award-winning brewery produces a wide range of beers, including commemorative beers and special brews for sporting events.
It also owns five local pubs – Burton Bridge Inn, in Bridge Street which they have run for 35 years; The Devonshire Arms, in Station Street they have run for 15 years; The Plough in Stapenhill which they have had for 10 years; The Brickmakers Arms, in Newton Solney they have had for five years; and Alfred Ale House, in Derby Street they have had for 25 years.
The brewery brews more than 18,000 pints a week, totalling a whopping 20 million pints over the years.
The two men have had interest from across the UK and Scotland but the price hasn’t been quite right.
Mr Mumford said: "It is very early days of a new strategy. Some of the pubs are showing interesting in running themselves, and we have had interest from independent breweries from as far north as Scotland to as far south as Kent. Scotland was looking at bringing its operations to England and having Burton beers in Scotland and Scottish beers in England."
Any potential buyers are invited to pop in to the brewery for a chat with the owners and maybe even a pint of one of the award-winning beers.
Burton Bridge Brewery history
Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson met while separating the ale and lager liquor streams at the old Ind Coope Romford brewery in 1979. The then-engineering manager Geoff and technical manager Bruce decided to set up their own brewery.
They took on the old Fox and Goose pub, which later became the Burton Bridge Inn in Bridge Street, in the town. The Fox and Goose had been closed for two years before the pair took it over in 1981.
The Burton Bridge Inn still pays homage to its history with a picture of a fox and goose on its pub sign hung outside the venue.
As well as running the pub, they began brewing ales to sell. After seven years, they got their first tenant in the pub and paid off their first bank loan, and Geoff admits that was the moment the pair knew they had made it.
Over the years the brewery has been known for making special brews for sporting events and other commemorative beers. And for Geoff, one moment stands out: "It was the Bridge being crowned the winner of CAMRA's best refurbished pub about 10 years ago. We did quite an expansion and that for me is probably my proudest moment."
It was an all-Burton victory in October 1991 when Burton Bridge Brewery won the British Beer Mat Collectors' Society award. The award for the best set of beer mats was a town-wide celebration as not only was the brewery from Burton, but so was the designer of the mats and the firm which printed them.
Th e design and artwork of the range of six beer mats was created by Mike Brassington – an advertising agent and poet based in Bridge Street, while the printing was done by Burton Beer Mats Ltd, of Moor Street, Burton.
The award was presented outside the Burton Bridge by David Hanson, the chairman of the British Beer Mat Collectors' Society to Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson from the brewery.
The six beer mats represented the six Burton Bridge brews of Bridge Bitter, XL Bitter, Summer Ale, Burton Festival Ale, Old Expensive and Burton Porter.
The Burton Bridge Inn is Burton and South Derbyshire's CAMRA Pub of the year for 2016. Linked to the Burton Bridge Brewery, it offers award winning ales produced using traditional brewery methods. It also serves guest ales, a selection of speciality fruit wines, spirits and soft drinks.

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