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Meux's Brewery

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Meux's Brewery Co Ltd. of Horse Shoe Brewery, 269 Tottenham Court Road, London(1862)


Established in 1764, the Horseshoe Brewery was managed by Messrs Blackburn and Bywell and was a major supplier of porter in the area. It was located at the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street

1807 Sir Henry Meux (bap. 1734, d. 1813) had been a partner in Reid, Meux and Co, of Griffin Brewery, Clerkenwell Road. After a dispute in 1807, Sir Henry left the firm and purchased the Horse Shoe Brewery. The horseshoe became part of the Meux identity and was incorporated into their logo.

The brewery traded under the name Henry Meux and Company.

1814 Major accident (see below).

1841 After the death of his father, Sir Henry Meux the Second was in charge of the brewery until he was declared insane in 1858.

1850s the brewery was run by three men: two partners, Berridge and Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks (1820–1894), later Lord Tweedmouth, and Sir Henry's brother-in-law, William Arabin, who was retained on a salary of £1200 to keep an eye on his majority interest, reckoned to be worth half a million pounds.

1870s Meux lagged its major rivals in introducing new products; it was the last major London brewery solely producing porter, only diversifying in the early 1870s.

1877 Meux and Co commissioned the sinking of a well to a depth of more than 1000ft at Tottenham Court Road in search of a supply of pure water; at a somewhat greater depth the drillers also found coal[1]

1878 Henry Bruce Meux (1856–1900) and Lord Tweedmouth took over management and renamed the company as Meux's Brewery Company Ltd, which was registered in 1888

1888 Prospectus issued for Meux Brewery Co Ltd[2]

1900s The brewery needed more space and its public houses needed modernization but such moves were impeded by the concentration of share ownership in the hands of the Meuxs and Lord Tweedmouth.

1905 Reduction in share capital

1914 the Thorne Brothers brewery of Nine Elms Lane was acquired by Meux.

1921 Operations were transferred to Nine Elms and the company brewed there for 43 years. The Nine Elms Brewery was renamed the Horseshoe Brewery and the old Horseshoe Brewery was closed. The old brewery was demolished in 1922, and today, the Dominion Theatre occupies part of its site. The adjacent brewery tap, built on a grand scale as a combined pub and restaurant, survived in other uses until 2004.

1931 Acquired Burge and Co Ltd, Victoria Brewery, Victoria Street, Windsor, Berkshire

1938 Acquired Mellersh and Neale Ltd, Reigate, Surrey.

In 1956 Meux's Brewery merged with Friary, Holroyd and Healy's Breweries Limited based in Guildford, Surrey, to form Friary Meux Limited. They went into liquidation in November 1961 and were acquired by Allied Breweries.

1961 Meux's Brewery Company Limited went into liquidation in November

1964 The Horseshoe Brewery ceased to brew in 1964, although the Friary Brewery continued until 1969. The Friary Meux brand was later revived by Allied Breweries until they sold their brewing interests to Carlsberg-Tetley in 1997.


The Horse Shoe Brewery featured a giant porter vat measuring 22 feet high and containing 3,555 barrels. In October 1814 the vat burst when the securing hoops failed. The contents rushed out of the vat into the streets and surrounding buildings. At the time the brewery was surrounded by small housing owned by the poorer classes of London; some of the buildings could not withstand the force of the flowing beer and collapsed. Eight people are known to have died either from falling debris, drowning, poisoning by the porter fumes, or from inebriation.

The company found it difficult to cope with the financial implications of the disaster, with a significant loss of sales made worse because they had already paid duty on the beer. They made a successful application to parliament reclaiming the duty which allowed them to continue trading.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1877/05/18
  2. National Archives [1]
  • [2] Wikipedia
  • Biography of Meux family, ODNB [3]