More memories of lost Sheffield breweries

Our recent Retro feature on lost Sheffield breweries have prompted two readers to share memories of their working lives.

By julia.armstrong1
Friday, 19th April 2019, 12:51 pm
Hope & Anchor Brewery, Sheffield on July 1, 1961
Hope & Anchor Brewery, Sheffield on July 1, 1961

Stuart Webber wrote: “I refer to your excellent pictures and article in the Sheffield Star of Saturday, April 6.

“I was fortunate enough to work in the brewing industry most of my working life, and worked at Whitbreads Brewery in Exchange Street, from 1965 to 1968, and then at Hope and Anchor Brewery in Claywheels Lane from 1968 to 1994.

“Hope Brewery, along with Stones Brewery (Cannon Brewery as it was called), were part of the old Bass empire of breweries, pubs etc, who was a major player, along with five other large national breweries who dominated breweries and pubs nationally etc, until they were all broken up as a result of the Beer Orders brought in by the Government in 1989.

Sheffield Stones brewery manager Reg Bird, pictured on January 18, 1990

“You didn’t feature Hope Brewery, but that, along with Stones, Whitbreads and Wards, was one the four main breweries in Sheffield.

“It was formally known as Carter, Milner and Bird, and started production of beers and lagers just before the Second World War, until its closure in 1994.

“It was the first brewery in the UK to brew Carling Black Label lager (as it was known then), just after the war, under licence from a Canadian company called Carling O’Keefe. Carling lager is today, I believe, the biggest-selling lager in the UK.

“The position of Reg Bird - in your photograph and one of my old work colleagues - brings back very happy memories.

Hope & Anchor Brewery, Sheffield - July 1, 1961

“Reg was part of the Carter, Milner and Bird family who ran Hope Brewery, and he was transferred in 1968 from Hope Brewery to Stones Brewery, where he became in charge as brewery manager.

“He stayed there until his retirement in the early 90s. Reg was part of a group of us ‘elder’ brewing people, who meet up every six months for a ‘beer’ reunion.

“Sadly, Reg passed away in 2016 - as a former RAF man, his funeral included a flypast, a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.“It was a great industry to work in, and I was very fortunate to have worked at Whitbreads, Hope and Anchor, and partly at Cannon Brewery.

“The comradeship, cameradery, etc were second to none.”

Jim Circuitt, cellar maintenance inspector at Whitbread's Brewery, Sheffield Picture submitted by his daughter, Janet

Another picture of a former colleague inspired Keith Payne to get in touch. He wrote: “I worked with Jim Circuitt when I joined the cellar service department after working in the accounts department of Lady’s Bridge brewery.

“Jim was a regular guide on popular brewery tours. One of his little jokes was to get visitors to sniff in the mash tuns where the CO2 would get up their noses. This backfired on him one day when a visitor sniffed the CO2, sneezed and projected his false teeth into the brew.

“Jim was ever the gentleman and helped me on a successful career, giving me the knowledge and skills to become cellar service manager at the Leeds depot.”