Beers all round as Built to Brew wins AIA award!

Industrial Scene smallSometimes all the keyboard bashing seems worthwhile….. and so it was when I heard recently that Built to Brew had been given the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s 2015 Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Industrial Archaeology. (See details here: Peter Neaverson Award.) It’s a real honour, I’m delighted; thanks to all who were part of the project, especially my publishers (English Heritage) and editorial staff, and the Brewery History Society. I’ll be collecting the award at the AIA conference in Brighton on 5th September (see the award winners). Meanwhile, any ideas on what this little watercolour sketch might be? Certainly industrial, and a bit brewery-like, but maybe an invented scene.

At the works and at work

Brush Works LoughboroughA big moment this week as I started working on, that is actually writing, my book on Vic & Ed industrial architecture. I’ve been having a fine time travelling around to obscure locations to take photos of some of our remaining factories and works, and also collecting archive images, often in the form of c1900 era postcards, like this one of the Brush Engineering Works in Loughborough. Any and all roof ridges were fair game for display of the company’s lengthy name. The old postcards and prints really help with visual evidence of what factories looked like; any remaining buildings have often been largely altered and simply don’t show the structures as the Victorians saw them. Factories are a really underestimated building type. By the way, a warm welcome to any readers who have arrived here from the Built for Brewing blog. The frequency of posts here will probably be less than one a week, but I hope to entertain with some good illustrations of our works and factory heritage, while plodding on with the text. Happy Christmas everyone!

To Sheffield via London, Hook Norton and Oxford

Shaddon MillOK  so it’s not the obvious route but on the way from the ‘Beer Writing – Past, present and future’ seminar at Hook Norton Brewery this Thursday (where I’m doing a book signing) I’m hoping to take some more industrial photos, including the famous marmalade factory in Oxford and the ‘White Building’ in Sheffield, with its white faience façade showing men engaged in various local trades. Unlike most of these monuments to industry, the men are wearing contemporary clothing; it is far more usual to see industrial scenes played out by dancing cherubs (see, for instance, Nottingham’s former Home Brewery offices) or by workers clad in medieval or even Roman/Greek style (see high up inside the quadrangle at the V&A). The photo is from last weekend, when I saw the old Shaddon Mill (Dixon’s Mill) in Carlisle, with its huge chimney, at one time the tallest in the country; I think the chimney at the Camperdown works in Dundee (which I shall be seeing in a few weeks) now beats it. Let’s hope the good photography weather continues!

A dog’s life at the Brussels Beer Weekend

beerfest4 Just back from my first taste of the Brussels Beer Weekend, when the country’s brewers get together to offer their products in the Grand Place and parade through the streets. Wonderful spectacle, but admit I was surprised to see this little terrier-type on the Omer wagon, clearly having a good time. Came back from Brussels just in time to do a talk on brewery architecture at The Tetley in Leeds, was a very enjoyable evening, ending, of course, in their splendid bar.

Built to Brew is published!

Glovers2Midsummer’s day and my copy of Built to Brew arrives, so the book is a reality. Feelings of relief aside, I took time out to look at and enjoy it, remembering the stories behind the illustrations. There will be celebrations tonight! By now of course I’m in the middle of planning and taking photographs for my next book, a study of Victorian and Edwardian factory and industrial architecture (so there’s obviously some overlap with breweries). My photo this week is of a jolly group of workers at Glover’s Peacock Brewery in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, taken around 1900.

Publication next week

DSC06578As far as I know (and I don’t know for sure), copies of my new breweries book, Built to Brew, will be available from about 28 May. So here’s a photo of an ‘ooompah’ band at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich to warm everyone up for forthcoming celebrations.

Beer heraldry

robinsons unicornThanks to everyone at the NAHS meeting last Wednesday, for being a great audience and providing some lovely stories afterwards. What felt like moments after that presentation an email arrived telling me my abstract on beer and heraldry had been accepted for the symposium Emblems and Enigma: The Heraldic Imagination (London, 26 April 2014, see heraldics2014 for details). I was delighted – then realised I now had three months to build an idea into an actual paper; time for some serious research…. This unicorn at Robinson’s in Stockport is a start. Meanwhile, progress is good on Built to Brew and it seems we have a proposed publication date of May 2014 (or thereabouts). The page layouts are looking fantastic.