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Ross-on-Wye

The Breweries

The Alton Court Brewery (ACBC)

The Alton Court Brewery
The Alton Court Brewery in 1987 [Photo: J.C.Coombes]

The Alton Court Brewery was developed by Joseph Turnock (who also held the lease for ACBC [Alton Court Brewery Company] Aerated Waters Ross) and this was the largest brewery in Ross.

In 1876 the chief brewer was James Turnock [ more ] and it brewed the "Alton Court" family ales along with various others. It closed in 1956 after it was taken over by Stroud Brewery and the site is now used as a retail outlet by Somerfield Supermarkets.

The Alton Court malt house
The site of the malt house in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The Malt House
The malt house
The malt house
(Click for a larger image)

The brewery filled nearly the whole length of Station Street on both sides and some of Henry Street.

The building seen in the photo to the left and the one above were the Malt House.


Next door to the Malt House was SHACS (South Hereford Agricultural Co-operative Society Ltd) depot which sold animal feeds etc.

During the changes, in 1992, when the Malt House was converted into the Maltings, the SHACS depot was demolished to make room for the rear access to the shops.

The Malt House and SHACS
The Malt House and SHACS
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The Malt House and SHACS has gone
The Malt House and SHACS has gone
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

The Brewery

The actual brewery building has been knocked down and was in the space behind the green fence where McCarthy and Stone are building yet more retirement flats in Ross.

The old brewery
The site of the old brewery in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

In April 1992, the first parts of the Brewery building were demolished. Following this various parts were demolished until in late July the site was cleared.

The demolishion of the Alton Court Brewery May 1992
The demolishion of the brewery in May 1992
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The brewery in late June 1992
The demolishion in late June 1992
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

The Bottling Plant
The Alton Court bottling plant
The site of the brewery bottling plant
(Click for a larger image)

This building, that is now Fritz Fryer Antique Lighting, was the bottling plant.


The Tap House

This building, that is now Terry's Digital Ltd, was the brewery tap house.

The tap house was more like rather an off-license than a pub where the towns folk could buy the beers etc brewed at the brewery.

The tap house was the left hand single story part whilst the right had side was living quarters for the staff.

The old tap house Ross-on-Wye
The site of the brewery tap house in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The Coopers
The old coopers building Ross-on-Wye
The site of the coopers building in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

This building that is behind Terry's Digital Ltd, was the building used by the cooper for the brewery.

Coopers are often known as "barrel makers" but this is not strictly true. There are many kinds of coopers for making anything from packaging for tobacco to buckets and pails. One who makes barrels is what was known as a "tight cooper." The tight cooper assembled clear white oak staves split from the dense centre of a tree. He would fit the staves one to another, and bind them with iron bands to make casks for liquids.


Barrel Labels

This label, printed by W.J. Cummings, Bishop Auckland, is from a barrel of 'Golden Hop' which was brewed at the Alton Court Brewery.

ACBC Golden Hop
An example of a barrel label for 'Golden Hop' from ACBC
(Click for a larger image)

Bottle Labels

These are labels for Sparkling Ale and Queens Ale both of which were produced by the Brewery.

ACBC Sparkling Ale
A bottle label for 'Sparkling Ale'
ACBC Queens Ale
A bottle label for 'Queens Ale'

This label is for Cherryade as produced by the ACBC. This label came from a pretty standard, clear, ACBC bottle but the glue had come unstuck just due to age.

ACBC Cherryade label
A bottle label for 'Alton Court Cherryade'
[Courtesy of Richard Mayo]
(Click for a larger image)

Other Paperwork

This is a letter from Mr. L. U. Wooler, who was the manager of the Alton Court Brewery, to Francis R. James Esq., who was a Solicitor in Hereford, sent on 5th January 1914.

ACBC letter
A ACBC letter
(Click for a larger image)

The letter is details of a cheque being sent for 49 pounds, 8 shillings and 9 pence. This is "half years interest" due to Messers Ashivin of Corvan relating to the Spread Eagle and Stockton Cross mortgages minus Income Tax.


Adverts

These are several adverts for the brewery taken from guidebooks to Ross or/and the Wye Valley. It is interesting to note that the hedgehog has appeared at the top of the advert by 1938.

Alton Court Brewery advert c. 1910
Alton Court Brewery advert c. 19103
Brewers, Maltsters and Mineral Water Manufacturers
(Click for a larger image)
Alton Court Brewery advert c. 1938
Alton Court Brewery advert c. 19384
Brewers, Maltsters and Mineral Water Manufacturers
(Click for a larger image)

The Stroud Brewery Advert
The Stroud Brewery Advert5
(Click for a larger image)

This advert is post take-over by the Stroud Brewery where the Alton Court Brewery is the local branch.

The Beers

On 9th 1955 the brewery was brewing Brown Ale with the following characteristics2:

  • Price: 1/1d
  • Size: half pint
  • Package: bottled
  • Acidity: 0.04
  • FG: 1008.4
  • OG: 1033.3
  • Colour: 80
  • ABV: 3.11
  • Attenuation: 74.77%

Pubs and Inns
The Saracens Head
The site of the Saracens Head
(Click for a larger image)

Several Pubs and Inns in Ross sold beverages brewed at the Alton Court Brewery and in 1905 the Saracen's Head was one of them, so much so the name across the front of the building was changed from the Saracen's Head to say The Alton Court Brewery Co. It was changed back probably when the brewery closed.


Another place that sold beverages brewed at the Alton Court Brewery was the Crown and Sceptre. It was acquired by the brewery in around 1928 and continued to sell the beer until the brewery closed and then Whitbread took it over.

Crown and Sceptre(1-1-06)
The Crown and Sceptre Inn, Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The White Lion at Wilton was also likely to have been supplied by the Alton Court Brewery Company and the cellar cover outside is testament to this.

White Lion (11-08-06)
The White Lion Inn, Wilton
(Click for a larger image)
Crown and Sceptre Ross-on-Wye (1-1-06)
Alton Court cellar cover outside the White Lion
(Click for a larger image)

The Swan Inn
The Swan Inn supplied by Alton Court Brewery
[Unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)

Numerous pubs outside of Ross were known to sell the products produced and brewed by the Alton Court Brewery.

This photo shows The Swan (Prop: N Percival) at Letton who had a large advert for the Alton Court Celebrated Ales painted onto the side of the building.

Letton is about 26 miles away from Ross and gives a good indication of the influence of the brewery.


Other Pubs and Inns included:

  • Royal Foresters, 104 Littledean Hill Road, Cinderford in 1891 & 1903
  • Seven Stars, 130 High Street, Cinderford in 1903
  • The New Inn, Pembridge [ more details] (which included the Pembridge Market Hall) in 1923
  • The Golden Cross Inn, Sutton St. Nicholas [ more details]
The New Inn and Market House Pembridge
The New Inn & Market House Pembridge
[Published by Friths]
(Click for a larger image)

Bottles

The following are two examples of aerated water bottles as used in the Alton Court Brewery Company.

This first example relied on a floating glass marble pushing up against a rubber sealing ring at the top of the bottle neck to stop the water becoming contaminated. The neck of the bottle is specially shaped to trap the marble so that once the bottle is opened, the marble does not get in the way.

ACBC aerated water bottle
An example of a aerated water bottle from ACBC
(Click for a larger image)

A second ACBC bottle
A second example of a aerated water bottle from ACBC
(Click for a larger image)

This example replied on a floating cork using it's buoyancy to push it up into the top of the bottle neck to stop the water becoming contaminated. Once the seal was broken by pushing the cork back into the bottle, then the cork floated to the top hence it did not get in the way when the liquid was poured out. In this bottle, the cork can still be seen in the bottom of the bottle.


These are two examples of beer bottles as used in the Alton Court Brewery.

This first example is a pretty standard style of bottle with the brewery mark and name in one area.

ACBC beer bottle
An example of a beer bottle from ACBC
(Click for a larger image)

This example has the ACBC logo all around the bottle.

ACBC beer bottle ACBC beer bottle ACBC beer bottle
A second example of a beer bottle from ACBC
(Click for a larger image)

Other Brewery Items

This is an ash tray advertising Queens Ale. The label has been stuck to the bottom of it then the bottom the ashtray was painted with a protective coating to help prevent the label being removed. This also helps to emphasize the advert.

ACBC Queens Ale ash tray
An ash tray advertising "Queens Ale"
[Courtesy of Andrew Fielder]
(Click for a larger image)

Other views of the Brewery

These are several views of the Malt House prior to redevelopment in 1987.

The Malt House Station Street
The Malt House, Station Street
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The Malt House from Station Street
The Malt House from Station Street
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

The Malt House Henry Street
The Malt House, Henry Street
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The Malt House from Cantilupe Road
The Malt House from Cantilupe Road
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Redevelopment of the Brewery

These photos show the redevelopment of the Malt House when it was converted into Gateway's supermarket (subsequently this became Somerfield and then Sainsbury's [which opened on Wednesday 15th Jult 2009]) and the Maltings shopping centre was also built as part of this redevelopment.

The Malt House redevelopment
The Malt House redevelopment
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Redevelopment of the Malt House
Redevelopment of the Malt House
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)


next Breweries Lewis previous


1 Hereford and the Wye Valley - The Homeland Association
2 European Beer Guide - http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/ (has popup adverts) - 5th April 2008
3 The Wye Valley Illustrated from Hereford to Chepstow - No.323 Burrows Royal Handbooks [Fifth Edition c.1910] - Edward J. Burrow
4 Ross - The Gateway of the Wye Valley - Ross-on-Wye Chamber of Commerce [c.1938]
5 Ross-on-Wye - The Gateway of the Wye - Ross-on-Wye Chamber of Commerce [c.1960]


[Page updated: Feb 14 2018 21:57:28]






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