Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Robins' Brewery, Seaford

After Smithers earlier this week, we return to the world of Sussex brewers but this time move from Hurstpierpoint to Seaford. Indeed in this sleepy seaside town stands a building, now occupied by the Lucky House Chinese takeaway, that displays both a ghost sign and a mosaic.


I haven't been able to find any information on the internet about that particular brewery. However the name Robins appears in connection with several other breweries in Sussex and it could be that a member of the family either established a brewery in Seaford or took over an already existing one.
Born into an empoverished Jewish family from Hove, Ebenezer Robins had become by 1800 an established brewer (the date of 1789 has been suggested regarding the foundation of his original brewery) and he soon began to amass a respectable fortune. In 1830 he became one of the original Brunswick Town Councillors. During the 1830s he purchased several plots of land to build houses for other members of his family and to build a new brewery. Opened in 1840 in Waterloo Street near the Hove - Brighton limit, the Anchor Brewery replaced the original facilities in Western Street. One of his brothers, Usher, also achieved some success in the brewing trade. The companies they set up passed on to their heirs and documents indicate that in 1877 Usher Robins & Co. took control of the East Street Brewery in Horsham before selling it one year later, while in 1889 E. Robins & Son took over the Albion Steam Brewery in Shoreham. Several generations occupied key positions in the business, even after E. Robins & Son Ltd merged with Findlater Mackie & Co in 1929 (the names of both companies were kept). However the Robins seem to have paid a heavy price during the Second World War, with several men not returning from the front. As a result it looks like the family sold its remaining shares in 1946. By 1949 all activity had ceased at the Anchor Brewery.
It seems E. Robins & Son continued trading until 1964 but there is no mention of it after that date. Perhaps it disappeared in the reorganisation process that followed the purchase of George Prentis & Sons Ltd by Findlater Mackie & Co in 1962. The new company, Findlater Prentis, was eventually bought by Whitbread in 1967 and liquidated in 1971.
Could the Seaford brewery be linked to that family? It isn't impossible, but I can't be sure...

Location: High Street, Seaford, East Sussex / Picture taken on: 25/07/2009

1 comment:

Wellwynder said...

Some lovely postings recently, and it's nice to be able to combine a ghost and a mosaic in one, as here. And it's always interesting to see signs of breweries I've not heard of before.