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Report - Mitchell's Brewery, Lancaster (July 2016)

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Idle Hands, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Mitchell’s of Lancaster


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    Mitchell’s Brewery, once such an integral part of Lancaster’s cityscape, casts a forlorn shadow over the wasteland it sits in today. In its heyday the smell of malt being mashed filled the surrounding streets, steam billowing high above, a hive of activity. I remember that smell, living just up the hill for a while, but that’s really my only recollection. In June 1999 I left, just weeks before the brewers filled their last casks and production stopped for good.

    Though the company had been founded by William Mitchell in 1865, these buildings designed by architect WA Deighton in 1901 were run by rivals Yates and Jackson until their acquisition by Thwaites in 1985, when Mitchell’s moved in from their old Church Street premises. You can see both names on the doors now as the paint flakes off.


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    The Malthouse had the capacity to produce 20,000 barrels a year yet in its final years just 7,000 were produced, reflecting the dwindling demand for the product. Real ale had an image problem, and in an era of big corporations and style-over-substance brands it was never going to end well. The demise of Mitchell’s was mirrored up and down the country, and Thwaites swooped in again to cherry-pick Lancaster Bomber for its own production lines. Mitchell’s continue to operate a successful pub chain – they just don’t brew their own anymore.

    It’s funny how things change, and within a decade Lancaster had a new brewery amidst thousands of others around the country catering for the resurgent demands and once again credible – and young - image of craft beer drinkers.

    Since closure the buildings have been at the centre of a bitter (no pun intended) wrangle between developers that wanted to demolish them and locals that wanted to hang on to at least some of their heritage that has otherwise been so brutally wiped from the map. Finally after several attempts English Heritage listed the Malthouse in 2011 following the discovery of Polish timbers dating back to 1750.

    I’d never really given the place a second thought until I began to take an interest in the intricacies of our industrial past, and when I heard word that development was soon to start I finally got round to heading down for a visit, usual co-explorer (and avid home-brewer) in tow. It was my kind of place, like everyone had just walked out and left a fully kitted out – albeit now embellished with 17 years of decay – good old fashioned brewery behind.


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    We will never see the like of this again.

    Thanks for stopping by :thumb
     
    Ferox, ledgehammer, Joe. and 12 others like this.

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  2. The Kwan

    The Kwan Easily Led
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    Shit mate, this is lovely thanks for posting it up.
     
    TheTimeChamber and Idle Hands like this.
  3. The Amateur Wanderer

    The Amateur Wanderer 28DL Regular User
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    Proper nice, a cracking report that :)
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  4. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Yeh great report. Interesting to see the paint peeling of the door.. Missed the best bit again tho. Pop back and hunt it out ;)
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  5. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Is it a well? I heard it was built on a well but didn't see one...
     
  6. BrainL

    BrainL 28DL Full Member
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    Great report and photos, really nice looking place that :)
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  7. YorkshireLuchador

    YorkshireLuchador 28DL Full Member
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    Really enjoyed this, thanks a lot for posting, some reyt good shots
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  8. TheTimeChamber

    TheTimeChamber The other one
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    Looks good, thanks
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  9. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Moderator
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    Some belting shots there! Looks like the place has not changed much since I went 3 years ago.

    Nope, not a well.....
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  10. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks :)

    Google has since clarified that there was a well under the old brewery on Church Street, which may explain why I didn't see one. I'm even more intrigued now!
     
  11. Bolts

    Bolts 28DL Regular User
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    Really nice! Not many places as well-preserved as this still knocking about...
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  12. the darkside

    the darkside 28DL Full Member
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    That's proper nice that....cheers for sharing, some cool pics!
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  13. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Great to see this again, love your photography too really nice style.
     
    Idle Hands likes this.
  14. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Not seen this for a bit, nice work...thanks for sharin' :thumb
     
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  15. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Theres just a bit more too it than the main brewery building. Worth hunting down the rest.
     
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