Charnwood Street brewery…

The brewery’s eagle sign (Colin Hyde)

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.

Leicester Brewing and Malting Company sign, still visible on the building (Colin Hyde)

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.

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2 thoughts on “Charnwood Street brewery…

  1. My godfather worked at the brewery until it moved to Thurmaston where the dray lorries went behind the Manor Pub. Being on school holidays, I remember going with him and helped to move hundreds of bottles from the cellar, but where they went, I don’t know. The office staff that were located on the corner moved in offices behind the Balmoral on Belgrave Road. I do believe that the Belgravia on Spinney Hill Road was an LBM pub. Any photos?

    Can anyone remember the Police Box that was on St Saviours Rd, just before Occupation Road, but unfortunately have not been able to find any pictorial evidence of it.

  2. I was born opposite the brewery at no 2 Vulcan road in 1945. It was an off license. Always fascinated when new barrels of beer were delivered and rolled by ropes into the cellar. Mum would have to hammer in wooden taps to access the new beer. While she served upstairs me and my brother would taste the beer out of the tap, felt like adults. Also remember the train that crossed over Vulcan road at the bottom between Gimson Engineers yards near the bridge. Once my older brother Rod took part in the band of the Seaforth Islanders when they came down Charnwood Street, looked so exciting to me a young nipper. He went on become a well known percussionist with the Johnny Dankworth band, Joe Loss Orchestra also many others. My brother Tim Mirfield was born in 1942, 6 months after our brother Arthur died while training with royal navy. Well remember as child of about 6 taking the radio batteries to be charged at a shop on Melbourne road just next to the old cinema. As they say “those were the days”.

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