At the Vulcan Road end of Charnwood Street there used to be the Eagle Brewery. Many people will remember this as Ansell’s or Davenport’s, but it was originally operated by Bates, Son and Bishell, and then by the Leicester Brewing and Malting Company (LMBC) from around 1890. The company started in Northampton Square in the 1820s and moved to Charnwood Street in the 1870s. Children attending the nearby Charnwood Street School were more than familiar with it. Rod Spencer, who went to the school from 1951 – 54, is among several who remember that: ‘When it was hot they used to open the windows and you could smell the brewery across the road’.
The Leicester Brewing and Malting Company also owned many pubs in the city. Most of them were retained by Ansell’s when it took the LBMC over in the 1950s, but the brewery was then closed. The bottling plant and stores were still used until the 1960s -and the building itself is still there, now used by various industrial companies.
On a personal note, the Managing Director of the LBMC lived in Thurnby in the 1940s, and my father and one of his friends used to do his garden for him. He brewed his own beer at home, and it was rather a lot stronger than the brewery itself produced. After one hot afternoon’s work my father and his mate were treated to a jug of it to refresh them – and all he could remember afterwards was falling into the house when he got home and landing in a heap at his mother’s feet. His friend apparently came off his bicycle on the way home to Scraptoft and ended up in a ditch…
Many thanks to Rod, and to Colin Hyde for permission to reproduce the photographs.