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The Albion Brewery History – How it Began – Ratliffe & Jeffery Ltd 1864 – 1899

In this early stage of my project, I have been doing a bit of research into the history of the building that I have chosen to re-purpose for my final project at University, documenting relevant dates and past uses of the building.

Ratliffe & Jeffery Ltd 1864 – 1899

(Albion Brewery Extension Sketch – Brewer’s Journal)

The Albion Steam Brewery was originally built and owned by one of Northampton’s first large brewing companies, Ratliffe & Jeffery Ltd. Thomas Ratliffe operated within a plot on Commercial Street from around 1864 and in 1869 was joined by William Jeffery whose family owned a very well established malting and bakery business in Northampton. (The original building which was built in 1864 was demolished and is now the site of the Asper’s Casino).

(Photograph of Northampton Mercury Cutting from site visit)

In the early 1880‘s, the Albion Brewery was extended from 16 to 22 Commercial Street and back into Foundry Street. It was described as “a new brewery built next to the existing one.” The brewery appeared in the Brewers Journal in 1883 and displayed the above sketch with a description of the new brewery building. Following this in 1895, Raliffe and Jefferey became a limited company and the brewery assets grew to consist of 135 tied pubs. This extended part of the building survives today and is the only traditional brewery building remaining in Northampton. (The part of the building that remains which will be used for the project).

(Photograph of Northampton Mercury Cutting from site visit)

In 1895, unfortunately William Jefferey passed away and business began to decline. This resulted in the story of Thomas Ratliffe losing motivation, interest and enthusiasm for the business that resulted in Phipps purchasing the business in 1899. However he went on to be heavily involved in Phipps Brewery until the entire building was eventually sold to the James Brothers in 1919.

(Thomas Ratliffe and Sons)

For a full history on the Albion Brewery, please visit the Phipps website:

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