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It is more than 120 years since a new brewery started up in the Rotherham area, and some forty years since brewing ceased in the district. According to the brewery history society, only four brewerys are known to have operated in the town itself. Bentley's was founded in 1825 by Timothy Bentley on Canklow road and was brewing by 1830. Though taken over by Hammonds United Breweries of Bradford in 1956, They opened two pubs under the Bentley's name the following year, The Domino, Kimberworth, and The Joker at Bramley, so were presumably still brewing in Rotherham in 1957. The site where the brewing stood is now the Rank Hovis Flour Mill.
Mappins began brewing at the Masborough Old Brewery on Greaborough Road in 1849 under the ownership of John Newton Mappin. Although taken over by William Stones Brewery of Sheffield in 1954, the commany was not wound up until the 1970's when the brewery buildings were demolished at the time of the by-pass construction it is not known when they last brewed there, but it was presumably before 1960. The Bass Brewery, Westgate was set up at the rear of the pub by Henry Smith in 1863. In 1884 it was ocquired by Marrians Brewery, Sheffield, who in turn were taken over by Whitworth's in 1903. Presumably brewing ceased in 1884.


Slinn, Searle & Co were founded by a consortium of businessmen at the Rother Brewery, Market Place in 1870, and were taken over by Mappins in 1914. Elsewhere in the Rotherham District just three more Breweries are listed. At Swinton, Wards Albion Brewery, Market Street was operating by the late 1800's, but at some stage ceased brewery to concentrate on contract bottling of other breweries beers. The Mineral Water and Bottling Industry - Now Ward and Sons (Swinton) Ltd., Market Street Swinton. This industry was commenced about 1870 in a very small way by Charles Jackson in Bridge Street, and by A & C Derwent and Cross-land Street, which later became the Bala Water Company. In 1874, William Ward, Founder of Ward & Sons, Established Mineral Water works in Market Street. About 1900 Ward & Sons Commenced to bottle ale from renowned Bass and Worthington Companies. In 1935, the firm had the honour of being one of the first bottlers of the Bass and Worthington all bright beers. At the present time a wide range of all types of beer and British and continental lager are supplied. The firm used to process. The most up-to-date machinery for bottling, conditioning and filtering, capable of filling, corking and labelling at the capacity of 7000 bottles per hour. The mineral water factory used to have the very latest type of machinery for washing, filling and labelling, and this had a capacity of 7200 per hour. The area of the works was approximately 2 acres, and some 120-work people used to be employed. The firm used a large fleet of lorries, which covers most areas of Yorkshire. They also had considerable trade for their commodities in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.Taken other by Stones in 1954, it was closed some years later. At Brampton Bierlow, James Ashton was operating at the Bull's Head as a brew pub in 1879.
At nearby Wath Upon Dearne, Whitworth's were brewing at the Wath Brewery in Moor Road before 1868. It is believed that brewing ceased in 1958, after the take-over by John Smith's, Although the company was not wound up until 1965. Today only the bottling shed remains.


Any event in Wath's history would be incomplete without a mention of the Wath family of brewers, the Whitworths. Testimony to their presence and generosity can be seen by anyone passing the fountain erected in the Market Place at Wath and if the reader can spare a few seconds to read the inscription on the fountain it may set them to wondering about the Whitworth's and perhaps make them feel they would like to know more about their generosity to the people of Wath. Here are a few details about the family: Spedding Whitworth was a well-established brewer and maltster when, 1891, he decided to go public and formed the well-known company of 'Whitworth, son and nephew Ltd. It was registered with a capital of 200,000. Spedding Whitworth was the managing director with annual remuneration of 1000. His son, Henry, J.H, Kelly, Mrs Whitworth, Mrs Kelly and Ms Kelly of York and Mrs Musgrave of Bradford were subscribers. Spedding Whitworth already owned a number of `ale houses` as a public house were called and amounts of 700 to 1300 was the asking price for this type or establishment. "The Reindeer at Rotherham was sold to him for 1,300.The Whitworths took over a number of small breweries in the area. Whitworth's had 170 tied public houses. Sadly the Wath brewery closed shortly after the take over.
Also in Wath, W Kemp was brewing by 1833, but it is not clear when he ceased, and Edwin Holmes operated from the Winterwell Brewery but little else is known of his brewing. 1871 - Spedding Whitworth established a maltings in Cadman Street,Wath-on-dearne, near Rotherham. Yorkshire.He already had maltings at Mexborough and Rotherham and soon began a period of rapid expansion. Records are not available but it is likely that he acquired Bolsover`s Mexborough brewery in the 1880s and Utley`s brewery at Wath-on-Dearne in 1889. The crown brewery at Doncaster was purchased in 1890 and the following year Whitworth,son & Nephew was incorporated on 23rd april 1891(Company number 33863), and in 1932 became a public company.The century ended with the important acquisition of Thomas windle,The old exchange brewery, Doncaster.Windle`s brewery was extensively modernised and brewing continued in Doncaster until 1910, when the premises be came astore and distribution depot. In the early 1900s expansion continued at a fast rate with the acquisitions of Thomas marrion`s burton Weir brewery, Attercliffe Road,Sheffield in 1903; theFarmers` co-operative with a small brewery at everton near Bawtry in 1904 and Nicholson`s brewery in Conisborough in 1906.Brewing ceased at all the breweries on acquisition.For the next 50 years the popularity of Whitworth`s I.P.A. spread through pubs and clubs on the eastern side of South Yorkshire. 1952 was an eventful year for the Wath brewery -Whitworth`s won the silver medal at the brewers` Exhibition.Yet,three mouths before, there was a disastrous fire which destroyed a large part of the brewhouse and the whole of the malt store; when the flames were exting uis hed ,the mash tuns and coppers were out of action,other vessels were full of mud and water.


But the total damage might have been worse if the heat of the fire had not melted the plates on the liquor tank high up in the building and out gushed the liquor to dampen down the flames.It was heart-breaking, but Tommy Windle, managing director (his father had also been managing director) and H. Mcintosh,head brewer,decided at a crucial meeting of the Board that brewing should resume as soon as possible... and that happened one week later! Whitworth`s staff and employees and outside contractors worked fuiously to free the place from water - clean it from top to bottom, erect scaffolding, prepare amash tun and copper ready for action - fortunately the newly installed yeast plant was untouched by the fire .so, with the help of kindly Sheffield folk who milled the malt, a full length of beer was ready for the fermenting vessels within one week of the fire just as the bottle store had only one case of i.p.a. and the cask store - two kegs. But no-one was left without - the lorries had left fully loaded that morning.Admireable fortiude continued to be evidenced as all hands at Whitworth`s and contractors cleared up repaired and rebuilt the brewery.As the head brewer remarked, there were more people working on the site at the job of tearing down, making a mess, clearing up and re-erecting than ther were producing the company`sproducts...and there was another snag,subsidence caused by mining works had decreased the water supply and caused cracks to appear in old and new buildings. However the new brewery was fully operational in 1954.The first chairman of the company was Spedding Whitworth and was followed by is son,Captain Harry Whitworth. later Mr. Frederick Makham Tindall became chairman,followed by William Whitworth fox,who was chairman in 1958 when Whitworth`s, with 172 public houses,was taken over by john Smith`s Tadcaster brewery. Closure of the Wath Brewery was also immediate in August 1958. An agency office was opened in Wath before later transferring the administration to Barnsley at Oakwell Brewery. The site was used again for production whenW.H.Thackwray`s moved from York to establish a new mineral water plant and distribution centre in 1964. The business was transferred to Cantrill& cochrane in 1972 and later production ceased at Wath.
The last time beer was brewed in Rotherham was in the 1960`s but it is now back, but thanks to some friends Wentworth brewery was set up in 1999, and goes from strength to strength they brew 7 beers which are avaliable in a number of local pubs. They have even won a number of awards at local beer festivals.



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