- Category: Special features
Only older readers will remember the factory which stood on the right-hand side as one went up Whitfield Cross. Two stories high it stood, the last vestige to stand was a square built brick chimney. That it was there at all was the fact that it used the water from Whitfield Wells which was reported to have "a magnificent flow of water."
At the beginning of the nineteenth century there stood the kennels of the Glossop Hunt, the materials of which, including an old boiler of a hundred gallons capacity were auctioned on October 22nd 1834. James Robinson, a farmer who also built the Surrey Arms, Victoria Street built the brewery by March 25th, 1849 and on November 14th of that year took a 99 year lease. Robinson died on December 22nd 1852 and eventually the "Barley Croft" as it was known passed on October 2nd 1867 for £660 to Thomas Hampson who on July 31st 1876 sold it to a brewer named Samuel Clarkson of Barnsley for the same sum.
At about the same time, a brewer named Adam Slater was employed who braved a special brew for Lord Howard's coming of age. This was indeed opened on the day in question and was declared to be "stingo". During the 1880s however, the Whitfield Brewery was in some difficulty, John Walton of Whitfield advertised the formation of Whitfield Brewery Company with a share capital of £20,000. Among the directors were Mr. Wright Booth of "Rose Cottage" North Road and Mr. Charles Slack of the Palatine Hotel, Hadfield, whose properties also included the Hanging Gate and the Swan Inn public houses. The brewery produced mild and bitter ales, porter and stout.
By 1891, the proprietor of the brewery was given as Charles Albert Stead and the company also had an office at 71 Market Street, Manchester and the traveller was the aforementioned Mr. Wright Booth. "Rose Cottage", North Road appeared to be owned by the brewery, for the company secretaries and like employees from time to time lived there, owned originally by Thomas Hampson.
About 1895 the brewery was again in financial difficulties, although Mr. Wright Booth was listed as brewery traveller as late as 1901. At least part of the brewery was used by 1895 by Alderman Brook Furniss as a laundry.
Later it became used as a firelighter factory known as the Northern Firelighter Company owned by Miss Hannah Cuthbert of Gamesley House and managed by Alderman John Henry Cuthbert who was a nephew of the previously mentioned Charles Slack. Miss Cuthbert was a descendant of the Shepley family who owned the Brookfield Mill. The Northern Firelighter Company closed after the Second World War. The building stood several years before being demolished.
When I was ten years old, I discovered a chemistry book in my grandfather's (Samuel Slack, son of Charles) hen cote, by Professor A.W.Williamson and written in 1868 and sometimes I wonder if this is the only remnant of the Whitfield Brewery.