The Norwood Brewery and the Brewery Tap, Chapel Road , West Norwood
The Norwood Brewery and the Brewery Tap
A brewery existed in Chapel Road existed from at least 1851 until 1919. A C Beaton & Co. put the business up for auction along with five tied houses, including the Cross Keys, 18 Landor Road, Clapham, and the Beulah Spa Tavern, Beulah Hill. J B Wilson in The Story of Norwood thought that the brewery was closed because when the boilers need replacing the council would not permit new boilers being installed so close to the road. This was also the reason that a local resident, C S Weaver, recollected when the Norwood News interviewed him in 1960. The new owner disposed of the brewery and it was sold by auction on 9 February 1920.
Following the closure of the brewery A White, printers and bookbinders, used the site. After the Second World War the buildings were demolished and the wells were covered. The site became the premises of an industrial and linings coatings, Winn & Coales (Denso) Limited.
Amongst the owners of the brewery were a Mr Bennett, a family firm, the Wadleys, and finally Cecil Beaton’s company. In the 1870s the business was Duberly & Brooke, brewers and bottlers. In the 1881 census the master brewer was Frederick Brooke who employed twelve men and four boys.
A C Beaton & Co employed a chemist who tested the product including a beer that sold for 2d a pint and what sounds the less appetizing Porter Ale, costing 1 1/2d, “a mixture of the dregs of stout and ale.” The brewery horses, which delivered beer as far as the City of London, were kept in a meadow off Chapel Road opposite to the brewery.
As the brewing business grew so did the demand for water. A second borehole was sunk and there is 150 feet of brickwork in one of the wells below the Chapel Road site.
It would be wrong to have a romantic vision of the brewery. It was described in the Norwood News in 1960 as “damp, dingy and dark and burned gas all day.” The Coal Smoke Abatement Society was making ‘special observations’ of the brewery in 1912.
Attached to the brewery was the Brewery Tap. It was composed of three bars and a clubroom and was described a lively meeting place. It was closed in the 1920s. The Norwood News 1960 article included a photograph of the Brewery Tap staff and customers taken in 1924 and Kelly’s directory give the person living at the Brewery Tap as William George James.