The Darley Family & Thorne Brewery - Malcolm Hobson
Thorne and district Local History Association
Occasional paper No 17: 1994
I was born in 1933, and the brewery has always been there. It did not mean much to me in my early years, except that, when I was about nine and lived in Durham Avenue, I used to see and hear a man, who wore clogs and carried barrel staves for firewood. My mother told me that the man was called Mr Severs, and was coming home for his breakfast, from the brewery.
The smell of the brewery grew on me. I classed it along with the sound of riveting at Dunston's, or the sight of a barge in sail on the canal, or the sound of a steam train at each end of the town.
Hasn't it gone quiet?
The Darley family have been brewing beer at the King Street Brewery, Thorne, for over 150 years without a break. Even before that, the Whitfield family ran a small brewery on the site for an uncertain period of time. Still today, within the massive walls of the present building, can be seen the ancient stone and handmade brick of the original brewhouse.
William Marsdin Darley was born in 1827, and was the founder of the Darley brewing business. His father, Charles, had married Susannah Marsdin, daughter of a Stainforth farmer, and is described in various records as a 'shipowner, landowner' and even 'bone merchant'. The forebears of this particular branch of the family can be traced back to Robert Darlah (Darley) in the parish records, who was born in 1738, and was later described as 'waterman, keelman, mariner'.
However, there is little doubt that the Thomas Darley who sent to his brother Richard the famous 'Darley Arabian' stallion in 1704, from Aleppo in Northern Syria, was of the same dynasty as the Thorne Darleys. This Thomas Darley was described as an agent in merchandise abroad and also as the British Consul in Aleppo. The Darley Arabian is still recognised as being the most important sire of the thoroughbred horses, and founded a line which has persisted successfully to this day. The stallion was said to be an elegant bay with a white blaze and three white feet, and belonged to 'the most esteemed race among the Arabs both by sire and dam'. The horse was thirty years old when it died.
Perhaps it would be helpful to try to illustrate what the town of Thorne would be like in the 1820s. The population was roughly 3500 and growing. The waterways of the Don and the canal were the communication lifelines for both trade and travel, but the turnpike roads to Bawtry and Selby and to Doncaster had lately been vastly improved. Mail coaches ran daily between Thorne, Doncaster and Sheffield linking up with the newly established steam packets to Hull, Gainsborough and London from Waterside or Thorne Quay as it was then known. Sailing keels, sloops and billyboys had been built here for well over a century and coal distribution was beginning to take over from peat as the domestic fuel, and for supplying the power for the rapidly developing steam engine for ships, corn grinding and threshing.
The most progressive shipbuilder at Thorne Quay in the 1820s was W.H. Pearson, who built the first paddle steamers for the Hull-to-London and Hull-to-Hamburg trade. In his book 'The Early History of Hull Steam Shipping' F.H. Pearson wrote,
'It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the capital for the first Hull sea-going steam ships was provided by a number of country gentlemen and farmers in and around Thorne; the Pearsons, Whaleys, Darleys, Marsdins, Coulmans, Bladworths and others, and that, though styled the Hull Steam Packet Co., very few Hull men, except the agents and managers of the company, held an interest in the ships; it appears to me that it must have required very considerable courage and enterprise to induce these agricultural gentlemen to embark in the then novel and almost untried steamship trade.'
1821 Steam Packet 'Kingston' – the first steamship to ply regularly between Hull and London. Built by Pearsons at Thorne. Dimensions: 105ft 7ins x 20ft x 10ft 4ins. Tonnage 120. Engines 60 HP. Fares: best cabin 2 guineas including provisions, forecabin 1 guinea excluding provisions, Goods were 3 shillings per hundredweight.
This was followed the next year by the ‘Yorkshireman’ of 164 tons, when three or four thousand people witnessed the launch from the Don banks on March 2nd 1822.
March 1823: 'Prince Frederick' launched at Thorne.
March 1830: 'Monarch' launched at Thorne, intended for the Hull-to-Hamburg trade. A party of the owners and their friends left Hull at 5am, to witness the launch at 9am. They remained at Thorne for an hour and a half and arrived back in Hull at 1.30pm. The 'Monarch' was 176 tons and was enlarged in 1834 by 26ft in length to 155ft.
1831: P.S. 'Transit', probably the last, certainly the largest and grandest to be launched at Thorne (They had to take up the lock gates at Goole to get her through to Hull) Dimensions: 137ft 4ins x 21ft 6ins x 15ft 6ins. 167 tons. She was twice lengthened and ended up in 1842 at 175ft 9ins and tonnage 400.
A final word about Darleys and shipbuilding, without too much comment for the reason that I have been unable to confirm the derivation of the name of this vessel; however in 1835 the P.S. 'William Darley' was launched at Hull. She was built for the Hull Steam Packet Co. by E Gibson of Hull for the agents Brownlow and Pearson. Dimensions: 155ft 5ins x 24ft 1inch x 16ft 9ins. Tonnage 248. She was destined for the Hull-to-London and Hull-to-Hamburg trade. In June 1847, the ‘William Darley’ had her engines taken out and was converted to a 3-masted schooner. In July 1848 she arrived home from a trip to Bombay, 102 days out and home. Freight was valued at £2,200, 222 tons weight and 391 tons measurement – a total of 613 tons.
THE BREWING BUSINESS TO 1900
Brewing is an ancient art going back thousands of years to Egyptian times; many people could produce it, but few well enough to earn a good living out of it. From the middle ages, ale was produced in all the Manors of England and became the staple everyday drink. Certain locations became known for producing a better beer, perhaps due to the water or to a better technique. Many farms in rural England dating from the 17th and 18th century had their own brew house, and these can still be seen in this area with their typical brewhouse chimney.
The exact date when W.M. Darley began to brew beer is not known, but a glass and wooden framed bill which hung for years in the sampling room of the brewery, stated that a certain Mr Acaster bought nine gallons from Mr Darley in 1850. Since the bill had been kept and framed, I have little doubt that it was the first beer he sold as the date fits in nicely with other facts.
We must assume that W.M. Darley had the capital as a young man in his twenties, to purchase a small brewery and land, with perhaps several tied houses. For by the year 1863, the balance sheet records,
'Household property and land £12,398. 17s 8d
Fixtures, horses and plant £ 1,406. 4s
This is quite a considerable value for those times, taken from the earliest balance sheet available. The total turnover for that year was just short of £21,000. Other items of interest from the 1863 balance sheet include a list of the types of beer produced in 18 gallon casks. There were three strengths of mild ale at 15 shillings, 18 shillings and 21 shillings per cask. The middle strength ale seems to be the most popular. Also produced were bitter beer, strong porter and ordinary porter with a small amount of old ale.
It was stated that coal was 10 shillings per ton and that stacks of hay for horse feed totalled 62 tons, at £2. 10s per ton, with oats worth 18 shillings a quarter. Spiritous drinks in the cellar were in bulk and the value quoted per gallon was – Gin at 10 shillings and 5 pence, Brandy 22 shillings, Jamaica Rum 12 shillings,
Scotch Whisky 15 shillings and 6 pence.
The upkeep of the brewery and its property in 1863 needed the services of many skilled tradesmen, among whom were – J. Wilkinson plasterer, R. Coggan saddler, J. Kay blacksmith, J. Chester painter, J. Tomlinson cooper, J. Darley bricklayer, and W. Rollit iron founder.
It was also revealed that the billiard table and furniture in the Billiard Room of the 'White Hart' was valued at £100, but the whole of the furniture there was worth the princely sum of £415. Darley's ledger lists the properties owned by the brewery in 1864, with their values and the tenant’s names and the annual rent. The list is reproduced in this pamphlet.
The Peace Hall mentioned in the list was also known as The Long Room. It was behind the Red Lion in Finkle Street, and was used for many functions, including service as a Law Court. The Blue Boar Inn stood on Silver Street and faced the Market Place. The Black-a-Moor's Head was in Church St. and the Royal Oak in The Green, where the car park is now.
In the ten years between 1864 and 1874, the balance sheets show a steady growth in turnover and property valuation; the property had increased in value to £15,403 and the plant and fixtures were now worth £2,032. The turnover had risen by over £3,500 to £24,437. Mr Darley had acquired his own personal billiard table at the house by 1871. About £6,600 capital was raised by loan from private individuals and annual interest was paid at the rate of 5%. The capital was to be used for further expansion, as will be seen; meanwhile in 1876 a new bottling plant was bought and installed for £86. 15s 11d
For the benefit of those particularly interested in the types of plant and fixtures in Thorne Brewery in the 1860s, here are a few examples from the old ledger –
|Wrought Iron Liquor Pan
|Wrought Iron Water Pan
|Mash Tub and Sparge
|Engine, Boiler, Malt Mill and Machinery
|Steel's Patent Mashing Machine
|Oat Crusher attached to Engine
|Weigh Scales in Hop Chamber
|Wrought Iron Cooler and Hop Sieve
|Johnson's Patent Refrigerator
|Water Pump, Force Pump and Square’s Pump
|Gregory and Hayne's Patent Hop Press
|Oak Vat in Cellar 1750 Ale Casks at 7s each
|Office Fixtures, Chairs, Stools,
|Milner's Patent Fire Resisting Safe
|Two Spring Carts
|Coal Cart (Bought at Doncaster Show)
|Grey Mare 'Rose'
|Chestnut Horse 'Boxer'
|Bay Mare 'Brandy'
|Black Horse 'Farmer'
Efforts to raise capital to buy more licenced houses saw Mr Darley parting with the 'Marquis of Granby' on Silver St. It was sold to Mr Joseph Lynas to become a grocery shop. A careful note in the ledger records that it was sold at a loss for £600. The piece of property known as the Common Kiln was sold to the Gas Company for £150. (Perhaps this was the Gas Company’s property in Union Road). With an influx of capital and a healthy and expanding beer trade, the Brewery began to buy more houses and land.
They bought a beer house and cottage at Hook, the 'Red Lion' at Owston Ferry for £447, the 'King's Head' at Swinefleet at £820 and land near the 'Crown Inn' at Belton for £85. These transactions were completed by 1867. Buildings and land were let to Mr M.C. Darley at a yearly rent of £6.5s, the land being described as gardens. Between 1872 and 1877, a house was purchased at Luddington for £410; this later became the 'Lincolnshire Arms'.
Not until the year 1879 do we see the signature of Mr. C.W. Darley in the ledger. At this time he was about 26 yrs old and one surmises that he had been at his father's elbow for some years, learning all aspects of the trade. From this time on, both signatures were affixed to the balance sheets.
Also by 1879, Darley's held rented property and employed an agent in Hull. The year's expenses for the running of the Hull trade that year totalled almost £900, and included such items as Rent £71, Rail fares £25, Wages and Salary £285, Office Expenses £38, Horse Keep £80. It must all have been worthwhile, because the beer sales in Hull that year came to £8,300, plus £483 for the sale of Old Ale.
The decade of the 1880s saw the wider expansion of trade by the purchase of houses in both the East and West Ridings. In 1880 the 'Mariners' Arms' and the 'Tiger Inn' in Beverley were bought for £1,080 and £1.100 respectively, followed by the 'Bull and Sun' in Old Bridlington for £1,125. By the year 1889, the following houses had become Darley's property; the 'Cherry Tree House' Beverley in 1886, the 'Ship Inn' Bridlington 1888, the 'Bull and Sun' in Leeds the same year, the ‘Beckitt Arms’ Leeds, the 'Minars Arms' [sic] Castleford, and finally, the 'Hildyard Arms' Patrington.
Many problems had to be overcome by the Brewery so that it could increase production of beer to satisfy the thirsts of the rapidly growing number of customers. Probably the biggest and most basic problem was a regular and plentiful supply of good water, for contrary to what some people may think, that huge water tower near the Brewery Croft has not always been there. Town water, as they used to call it, is a comparatively recent thing, although we all now take it for granted. Before 1912, Thorne's water came from shallow wells or the river, or believe it or not, certain springs which were said to occur at known places in the canal.
The Brewery was supplied by a well which was sunk at least 200 years ago, and which was rapidly becoming inadequate due to the extra demands on its capacity and to the falling water table caused by the more efficient land drainage. Mr C.W. Darley took on the water problem, and set about the sinking of a new well which was to be deeper and bigger than the old one. I have his notes in front of me, written in the back of the Brewing Book for 1881-2.
‘June 5th 1882. Started to get tackling for boring.
June 6th. At 6 feet light soil and gravel sand. Then 6 to 15 feet, bed of clay. 15 to 16 feet sand. 16 to 20ft clay. At 33 feet sand and gravel-crying sand. Up to 40ft light crying sand. 8 inch iron tube down 45 feet from surface. Water level at 20ft 6inches.'
On June 12th at a depth of 60 feet, Mr Darley had two chemists each produce an independent analysis of the water, showing safe levels of nitric acid. On the 29th June, the bore was completed at a depth of 242 feet and the construction of the tubed well started. In August 11882 a sample of the new water was rushed to Gresham House Laboratory, Holborn, London for analysis. Mr Southby, the chemist, wrote back to Mr. Darley and congratulated him on having ‘secured a pure water free from all recent organic matter and so little nitric acid that it can do your beers no serious harm’.
BREWING AT THORNE
Bosses are often criticised for attaining a poor work load these days, but nobody could level that accusation at Mr C.W. Darley. From the brewing book of the 1880s his comments are numerous and learned, and also appear at all times of the day and night. He seems almost to have lived at the Brewery. His hand-writing is easily distinguishable once identified, and from his comments, he must have been personally involved with every single brew. Here are a few comments from the book to illustrate this:
‘Dec 31st 1881 Stopped brewing – no casks (This apparently still happens at this time of the year. The next entry is dated Jan 23rd 1882).
April 1st 1882 Maize roasted weighs 29lbs to Bushel Malt roasted weighs 23lbs to Bushel
Aug 17th 1882 First brew from well in Top Croft
Nov 29th 1883 Had boiler and flues cleaned out. Flues cleaned by sweep Shaw. Paid 5/-. Offer to clean the three flues next time for 5/- same as now.
Oct 16th 1884 Soundest ale we ever made.
Mar 10th 1885 There was a lot of lactic ferments in the yeast; ales would not rack clear, either with use of Smyrna Malt or Sull-Soda, so got a change for No 21 [brew number] but the ales fined in cask readily.
April 8th 1885 Stopped brewing, had well pipes all taken up and new pump put in by W. Armitage, had boiler cleaned out and had flues round coppers and boiler same time cleaned by Shaw. Paid 5/-.
May 13th 1887 Begun brewing after having new malt mill put in by Ball and Horton, new felt roof put in by Scholes and Co, Barnby-Don, both coppers fire holes rebuilt by T. Middleton and Hop back repaired by W. Armitage.
Sept 29th 1888 Frosty morning rain and snow during the day and very keen frost at night
There is an old saying that 'good ale needs no bush', but Darley's, although accepting the logic of that remark, have for the last hundred years at least, played safe by some excellent advertising and publicity. The famous trademark of the head of a warhorse was registered in July 1885 and has multiplied more prolifically than the Darley Arabian. (Was there some connection?) There were posters on the railway stations and in the trams and buses in Hull particularly. The railway bridge at Thorne North station showed a real eye-catcher. Inn signs have always been important to the company and many people will still remember the excellent one on King Street for the 'Red Bear'. These days, beer mats, ash trays and bar towels continue the campaign.
INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
In 1892 the founder, Mr W.M. Darley died at the age of 65, leaving his son Mr C.W. Darley in charge of the company. Mr W.M. Darley had seen the brewery prosper and grow rapidly after the 1870s when the talents and energies of his son were given full reign. At 39 Mr C.W. Darley was in his prime and keen to build up his business and to live a full life. He succeeded in both.
He began to make plans for two major building projects. First of all he wanted a new house which would incorporate all the new conveniences of modern life, combining a country house setting with a walk of only two or three minutes from a busy town street. He succeeded in these aims by building Thorne House, or as most people know it, Darley’s Mansion. The house was completed in the last year of the old Century. Previously the home of the Darley’s had been 44 King Street; the white Georgian house was still owned and used by the family for years after the new house was built.
The second project he had in hand was the reconstruction of the Brewery. By 1902 this had been accomplished and the skyline of King Street, with its brick tower and chimney, was established. This memory was to be taken into battle by a few thousand Thorne folk as they went off to fight in two world wars – and, thankfully, a lot came back to carry on as consumers.
'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' the sages tell us, and it must be true, because a man with the capacity for hard work such as possessed by Mr C.W. Darley, could also harness the same energy for recreation. We are told that he was a keen sportsman, and in particular loved shooting and hunting, which love he passed on to his sons.
Probably the most important constituent in the brewing of beer is malt, which is made from partly germinated barley. The art of the Maltster is paramount in the production of good beer. He must be a fine judge of raw barley grain, for he must be able to gauge its potential. Such a man was Mr C.F. Darley, a worthy son of the above, born in 1880. He and his father worked very closely with the Maltsters who supplied the Brewery, and the Maltsters had the good sense to invest in the brewery. It followed logically that once the brewery had found a good maltster, it in turn should invest in it financially. So it happened between the Darley brewery and Milnthorp's, the malting house near Barnby Dun Station. Five hundred shares were bought in Manor Maltings and Mr C.W. Darley became a director. Immediate work was set in hand to build a new Malthouse at Barnby Dun, and a contract signed to guarantee 5,000 quarters of barley to be carried by the South Yorkshire Navigation Company each year for the following five years. (Was this the old Darley shipping trade instinct?).
In 1908 Mr C.W. Darley bought a further 200 shares in the company, and in 1914 he transferred 240 shares each to his sons Mr C.F. and Mr T.B. Darley. The following year, the shares from Mr T.B. Darley were transferred back to his father because he enlisted in the Great War and thus would commercially be hors de combat.
Ill health caused the manager of the company, Mr G.F. Milnthorp to resign, and Mr C.F. Darley was appointed in his place at a salary of £400 per annum, at the request of Mr Milnthorp. In 1921 Mr C.W. Darley became Chairman of the Board and the company invested £10,000 in Mappins Brewery. Mr Milnthorp died in 1923, after nearly sixty years in the trade.
On the death of Mr C.W. Darley in 1926, Mr C.F. Darley was appointed chairman, and his brother Mr T.B. Darley of Skellow Hall was made a director. The Malting company at Barnby Dun flourished and grew but suffered a severe setback in November 1933 with the death of Mr C.F. Darley at the age of 53. As manager and chairman of the company, he had probably the major part in the updating of the malthouse and was largely responsible for the reliability of the final product. He was a fine judge of barley and the roasting process of the malt. One wonders how different things might have been if he had been spared a full life span.
Mr Sydney Crampton was appointed manager and Sir William Dobson the chairman. The following twenty years saw the continuing growth of the company in spite of the testing time of the Second World War. All this time, Mr T.B. Darley was an active director as well as being the managing director of Darley’s Brewery, which was now larger than ever. On the death of Major Clark in 1955 Mr T.B. Darley became the chairman of Milnthorp’s maltsters, a position which he held until the demise of the company in the 1960s.
In Scotland they say that beer is light or heavy; brewery workers know that it is all heavy. The handling of beer in bulk has always been a problem, but thankfully it is usually solved. The brewery fills its casks or bottles as conveniently as possible for distribution, but it needs to be transported to its various public houses and other outlets in its home town as well as in towns perhaps eighty miles away. At first the noble horse and wagon was needed; in Darley's case it was needed for a long time, about 80 years.
Manhandling is with us yet and the skills and strength of the brewery workers has to be seen to be believed when they are moving heavy casks, and even getting them on the gantry in a pub cellar. I well remember many conversations with Mr Bert Jarvill. He was a Darley's Brewery drayman before the First World War, when he was blinded. He told me that he had a pair of horses, each weighing nearly a ton, to pull his wagon of ale to the various inns within a radius of 12 miles or so of the town.
He was once delivering to the Oddfellows Arms at Carlton on a miserable drizzly day, when the chains slipped from a cask going down into the cellar. The heavy barrel crashed down and broke five bottles of wine and two of whisky. The landlord was livid and reported poor Bert to Mr Darley and he was ticked off. Not long after that Bert volunteered for the army. Two days before he was to enlist, he put the same landlord five big casks in his cellar – each with its tap hole facing the wall.
Horses and wagons were needed to transport the beer from the brewery to the railway stations right up to the early 1930s; Thorne South station for the Lincolnshire trade and Thorne North for Hull, Beverley, Bridlington and the rest of the East Riding. Of course, once the beer reached Hull for example, it still had to be distributed to the inns, and so the brewery had agents with storage premises and more horses and wagons to meet the trains and convey the product to where it was needed.
Another method of transport, unusual for a brewery but typical of Thorne, and of the Darley's, was by water. My thanks are due to Mr W. Bisby and Mr Edwin Bisby for their valuable information about carrying Darley's beers on their steam flyboat called the 'Swift', which is still to be seen (in 1994) as a houseboat in Stainforth basin. The Swift was built in 1892 in Scarr's yard at Hessle and bought by the Bisby family in 1921. She was equipped with steam powered derricks and winches for loading and unloading cargo. Every Monday at 6am, Darley's horse-drawn wagons took hogsheads of beer to the canal's free wharf near the present Thorne Engineers' workshop opposite the Canal Tavern. Forty five tons of casks were loaded on to the Swift in three hours and then taken to Hull. By 11am, on Tuesday morning, the beer had been off-loaded under the supervision of Mr Hayes and taken to Darley's agents' premises at Leonard Street, near Queen's Docks, for further distribution.
Every Saturday morning, Mr T.B. Bisby went to the King Street Brewery office to see Mr T.B. Darley where he received his freightage. Mr Bisby tells me that Mr Darley often said to him that if his engineer was ill, he would gladly be the engineer for the trip to Hull. A little perk for the skipper of the Swift, delivered to the wheelhouse with every consignment of bulk ale, was a two-gallon stone jar of beer for 'drinking'. Although the skipper was tee-total, the docks’ police at Hull soon found out where it was and the security of the vessel was assured.
By 1930 roads had been improved and the convenience of road transport was being recognised, for it cut down the labour of loading and unloading so many times. Beer could be put on the lorry at the brewery and taken directly to the houses and put into the cellars.
One piece of civil engineering which accelerated this development was the completion in 1929 of the Boothferry Bridge over the Ouse near Goole. This opened up the whole of the East Riding to road transport, and so prompted the brewery to invest in motor transport for the first time. So for the last fifty years, this mode of carrying the product has superceded all others.
Mr T. B. DARLEY
Mr Thomas Bladworth Darley was born in 1891, and died in his 91st year after more than 53 years as chairman of the company, probably the longest serving chairman in the brewing trade. True to form, he paid his last visit to Thorne only six days before he died. Under his direction, the brewery reached its greatest size and influence, owning a tied estate of about 100 houses. Also in this time, the company actually built new pubs, such as the 'Winning Post' and the 'Moorends Hotel' after the opening of Thorne Colliery. They were well-built houses, incorporating such features as modern concert rooms, sun lounges and even bowling greens.
Mr T.B. Darley lived in Thorne for many years, though he did later live at Cantley Hall. He was a patron of Thorne Church and a regular attender on Sunday mornings. Like his father, he lived life to the full, taking a great interest in racing; indeed he was chairman at Pontefract, and in his younger days enjoyed the other sports such as golf, motorcycling and shooting. Mr Darley went to Oxford, where he got a degree in Chemistry, but the War came along and he was commissioned in the Royal Horse Artillery, serving in Egypt and France, where he was wounded. He was invalided out of the army, having attained the rank of Captain.
It was during Mr T.B. Darley's early years as Chairman that he realized the great potential of the bottled beer production. He installed a new bottling plant and modernized the brewing plant where necessary. Guinness was bottled at the brewery from bulk – and very good it was too. They also bottled their own Jamaica Rum, which was highly rated by many marine devotees.
Many of our younger consumers will not remember the wide selection of both draught and bottled beers produced at the Thorne Brewery not so many years ago. There was an excellent light mild, a strong full flavoured I.P.A. and a dark mild which was really well thought of in the Hull area. Bottled beers included Blue Label Special Mild Ale, Nut Brown Ale and East India Pale Ale; another brew was Amber Ale. I might have missed one or two, but I am sure others will remember. If only past beers could be sampled later; what a wistful hope!
It was not until 1944 that the company acquired the house which many people may consider the jewel in the crown. This was the 'Green Tree', an old-fashioned 'farmhouse and barn' sort of place with a few acres of land which Darley's were able to turn into a show-piece, tasteful and not ostentatious.
After the Second World War, Mr T.B. Darley had the help and support of his nephew Mr C.D. Darley, who had been commissioned in the army at the age of 19. His father was, of course, the malt expert at Milnthorp’s Mr Charles Francis Darley. As I write this – on Wednesday June 11th 1986 – Mr C.D. Darley is still at his post in the King Street Brewery, his main interest being in distribution.
THE END OF THE STORY
In October 1978 Darley's was acquired by Vaux Breweries of Sunderland. For a time there seemed to be a drive to convert the world to re-racked beer, but thanks to CAMRA and the older discerning drinker, and to Mr Paul Simpson the brewer, the excellent traditional beer was even improved in strength and consistency – quite an achievement.
Then in May 1986, Vaux of Sunderland suddenly announced that Darley's Brewery, Thorne, would be closed in September 1986.
[Since 1986, the chimney has been felled and the site cleared for commercial use. Only the shell of the King St. frontage has been retained as a reminder of its past].
Published by Thorne Local History Society
Supported by Thorne Moorends Regeneration Partnership 2014
© Thorne Moorends Regeneration Partnership. All Rights Reserved.