Friday, 5 March 2010

Take Courage, Southwark

How many people realise that in Southwark, between Southwark Bridge and the Cannon Street railway bridges stood what was once the largest brewery in the world? Nowadays few buildings of the Anchor brewery are still standing, but among those that escaped demolition is this house built around 1807 for senior employees.

The familiar slogan must have been painted at some time after 1955, the year Barclay, Perkins & Co. merged with its London rival Courage.

Much has been written over the past two centuries about the brewery. For a short history you can refer to Chapter 9 of Survey of London. Vol. 22 edited by Sir Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey and published in 1950. Edward Walford wrote a longer account of the development of the brewery in 1878 in Old and New London (Vo. 6) (the part about the brewery starts about one third down the page). Much information can also be found by checking the articles about the different owners of the brewery on the website

The brewery closed in 1981 and the land was subsequently sold for redevelopment. The Anchor (sadly over-redeveloped) and this painted sign are two of the few reminders of what used to be a major industrial site in the heart of London.

Location: Park Street / Pictures taken on: 10/04/2008 and 25/03/2008


Sam Roberts said...

While researching signs for the ghostsigns project this great example emerged as the most photographed in the country by the less than scientific measure of how many I found on Flickr, a selection of which can be seen here.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

I am not surprised. After all it is just a stone's throw from Borough market, in an area that is increasingly popular with visitors. I wonder how many foreign visitors realise this is not some kind of silly life-coaching advice?

Babs said...

Dear Sebastian, i am such a visitor. Bur still it was just the message i needed.your info though made me realise there is much more history behind the building. Forgvive me ;)