Another Portuguese puzzle

Silves1These photos are snaps of Silves, a city with a rather splendid castle, a little way north of Faro. Also a rare place in Portugal where I found craft beer being brewed (the bar was right next to the castle). The first photo is a view of the castle from the hotel, with (at the bottom) a roofless factory. The second photo shows the factory, with some excellent line shafting mechanisms. But what did the factory make or process? What on earth are the three large metal containers-on-legs? Looked at it for ages, but I have no idea. And on a completely different matter, booking is now open for the Victorian Society study day on beer and brewing, on 7 May in London, where I’m talking about brewers’ architect William Bradford.



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.

Jennymount’s Gentlemen

Jennymount2This is Jennymount Mill in north Belfast, or rather a small portion of it, the offices built in 1864 and the chimney behind, which I guess must be about 140 feet high (that’s about 43 metres). The linen mill itself is a complex collection of structures, but the main one is a very handsome tall block of 1891 by the architect John Lanyon. It has lovely bright red brickwork, with the round(-ish) headed windows set back in deep architraves, which broaden out – the brick courses step back – as they near the top of the window; a curious and pleasing effect. Since I was there the day following Belfast’s worst ever June storm, which was still passing through, didn’t have long to look at the gentlemen’s head keystones looking back at me from the old office. It seems they are famous names including Wordsworth, Columbus and Newton; not sure what they’ve ever done for the linen industry but one gets the idea of reflected glory. Belfast was enjoyable but windy; the scale of the structures around the docks is huge, particularly the graving dock where Titanic was fitted out. Having been at Hilden, near Lisburn, to see another mill the previous morning, only fitting I should have a pint of Hilden Brewery beer in the evening, so I chose Barney’s Brew, a wheat beer named after Bernard Hughes who built an enormous flour mill in Belfast. Excellent.

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.

A new book in prospect

Liebig5Exciting times here, as I’ve just signed a contract with a publisher to write and illustrate (lots of new photos) a book on Victorian and Edwardian industrial architecture – that is, the buildings most industrial archaeologists seem not to care so much about, meaning the factories and works rather than the mines, infrastructure etc. I have this year and most of next to write the book, and sort out several photography trips, as the whole of the UK is involved, as well as the Republic of Ireland. Publication probably 2016 I suppose. Happy days! My illustration this week is one of Liebig’s trade cards showing a jolly view of the brewhouse in Munich, presumably during Oktoberfest. Enjoy….

Roman beer

Peroni factoryRome might not be the obvious place to go looking for industrial buildings, but there are a few, including the old Peroni factory (1909, architect Gustavo Giovannoni) which stands a little way north of the main railway station (Termini). It ceased to brew in 1971 and was converted to one of the sites of the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MACRO) during the 1990s. Later a glass roof was added connecting the two blocks of the works, covering over the old brewery yard. The yard entrance (on the opposite side to this photo) has the word ‘scuderie’ on the archway; google translate tells me this means ‘teams’ – teams of horses? Or?? Need more research!

Page layouts arrive!

Lava Beer

I feel I should be using twitter for this, but since I don’t have an account, the blog will have to do. The first page layouts for the new breweries book have just arrived! They look wonderful and it is tremendous to at last see the text and images all together on the page. More at the Built for Brewing blog. The pic is of Lava beer, a smoked Imperial stout, from the Olvisholt Brugghus in southwest Iceland. So nothing to do with the book, but very suitable for celebrations at 9.4%! Very drinkable, as I remember.