The Pickwick Brewery

    In 1804 William Hulbert of Pickwick, Common brewer, leased the newly erected brewery building to William Hulbert of Westrop and Robert Hulbert of Roundway for the period of 21 years. "All that new erected building now used by the said William Hulbert as a Brewery & Malthouse, together with all furnaces, coppers, boilers, grates, coolers, kilns, cisterns, and other fixtures thereunto belonging and now occupied or used therewith."

    On Friday 21st June 1811, John Cole, the driver of the waggon belonging to the brewery, while delivering a load in Belvedere (Bath), having removed the drag chain from the nearside rear wheel, thinking the other still secured, the waggon was suddenly impelled downwards. In endeavouring to stop the horses, Cole fell under the front wheel, which passed over his body. He was taken to the Casualty Hospital but died within a few hours. "He was a careful and valuable servant". G. J. Hulbert had a private hotel and wine & spirit merchants at 24 & 25 Belvedere-(1819, Gye's Bath directory). The partnership between William & Robert Hulbert was announced as dissolved in January's London Gazette, 1843.

    In November 1840 the brewery was offered for sale by private contract, and eventually by auction in April 1841. the following year and Henry Hulbert was resident with a Mr. Whatton as head brewer. Henry Hulbert had previously been the proprietor of the Corsham Common Brewery, in Corsham High Street (next to the Royal Oak) in partnership with Charles Sheppard, his brother-in-law, but that partnership was dissolved officially in December 1841. He was born in Hardenhuish, Chippenham in 1809.  He married Ann Sheppard in Langley Burrell on 13th April 1831. Ann was born in 1806 in Collingbourne Kingston, Wilts. Daughter of Langley Burrell brewer John Sheppard and his wife Hester Hulbert, who were married in Dauntsey, her home parish, Wilts. on 9th Feb. 1804. Henry Hulbert was a dairy farmer at Kington St. Michael initially but quit the farm which came up for sale in January 1836, from whence he entered the brewing partnership in Corsham already established by Charles Sheppard, this partnership may have been entered into as early as 1834.

    On the 14th May 1845 yet another unfortunate accident befell one of the brewery's draymen. A man named John Ricks, aged 30, was driving the waggon home recklessly from Calne at about 8pm, where he had been delivering that morning. He had sat on the shafts, although one report says he stood while driving at a smart trot. Just before he reached Heale's Nursery he fell off and both of the wheels passed over his neck, killing him instantly.

    And tragedy again, on Friday 30th April 1847, a young 15 year old lad named Robert Manley had come to the brewery to pay for some grain, whilst Mr. Hulbert and one of his men were on the 2nd floor transferring wort between vessels. The lad fell through a trap door into a vessel containing the vaporous wort and his body had to be fished out with a grappling hook some 15 minutes after falling. The gentlemen tried to gain access via a ladder but were beaten back by the fumes, and the valiant efforts of Dr. Little to revive the lad were in vain. The inquest was held at the Spreadeagle the following Thursday with the verdict of accidental death.

    Thomas Hulbert was born in Kington Langley in 1833, baptised on 1st April there, wife Mary Ann
    Frederick Hulbert was born in Corsham in 1834, bapt. 29th June 1837, married Frances Mary Hayward 9th June 1898 in Corsham.

    Henry Padbury Manning, a brewer of Corsham, married Maria Coles Belcher, daughter of Isaac Belcher, a farmer, at Chippenham church on 19 July 1864. Manning was born in 1838 in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. He started out following his father's profession as a land agent, and is in Corsham, living with his parents in the 1861 census. His fiance is visiting at that time. Manning had become a partner in the Hulberts' brewing business by November 1863.




1, 2, 3 & 4 Gallon Stone Jars Pickwick2.jpgPickwick12.jpgPickwick13.jpg
Impressed: T & F HULBERT / Pickwick Brewery / Near CORSHAM / Wilts.,

C. & J. R. Price Manufacturers, Bristol.

1/2, 1 & 2 Gallon Stone Jars Pickwick5.jpgPickwick8.jpgPickwick14.jpgPickwick15.jpg
Impressed: 704 / HULBERT & MANNING / Pickwick Brewery / Near CORSHAM / WILTS., also number 1003 in 2 gallon size.

Potter: Price + Bristol. Near=Nr. on 762 and 889. Also upper/ lower case wording variants on 1 Gal.

Isaac Belcher was born in Bushton, Wilts. around 1817, and baptised at Cliffe Pypard on 10th May 1818, son of Isaac Belcher of Bushton, and his wife Elizabeth Dore of Dauntsey. Isaac junior married Frances Cole at St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol on 26th Sept. 1840. In the 1871 census he was a "retired farmer" living with his wife Frances in St. Mary Street, Chippenham.
    On the 25th December 1872 the partnership between Frederick Hulbert and Henry Padbury Manning, and also Issac Belcher who has been a partner for the previous 12 months, trading as "Hulbert & Manning", was wound up in favour of Mr. Belcher who continued to trade alone.

1/2 & 1 Gallon Stone Jars Pickwick3.jpg
Impressed: J BELCHER & CO. / Pickwick Brewery (upper case on 1 Gal.) / CORSHAM.,

Potter: Price + Bristol.

1874 Bath newspaper article.


    On Nov. 4th 1878, Frances "Fanny" Coles, wife of Isaac Belcher dies at Pickwick.

1/2 & 1 Gallon Stone Jars Pickwick4.jpgPickwick16.jpg
Impressed:BELCHER & SMITH / Pickwick Brewery / CORSHAM.,

Potter: Powell Bristol.(1058, 1 Gal.);
Price, Bristol (65, 1/2 Gal.);
Price + Bristol (1029, 1 gallon);
No maker's mark (44, 2 gallon).
Image right courtesy Michael Squires.


    Samuel Hale Smith was 3rd son of the late Samuel Hale Smith of Wellington Lodge, Weymouth and Emma Crook. Born at Broad Hinton, Wilts. in 1853 and baptised 13th July that year, in 1871 he was pupil to the brewer Joseph W. Lovibond in Salisbury. He married Elizabeth Ann (Lizzie) Cowper, only daughter of the late Mr. Chas. Wm. Cowper, formerly of Walworth Road, London, at St. Bartholomew's Church, Corsham, on 3rd May 1880.

    On 4th April 1887 the dissolution of partnership of Isaac Belcher and Samuel Hale Smith was announced, brewers, malsters and wine & spirit merchants, trading as Belcher & Smith. The business was sold to Mr. T. P. Stevens on this date.

    On 19th August 1888, Jane Northmore of Somerton, the second wife of Isaac Belcher to whom he had married in 1881, died in Pickwick, aged 60. Isaac's final wife was Martha Hewer of Sherborne who he married in 1890 at Witney, Oxfordshire. Isaac himself died on 10th September 1891 at Eastfield in Chapel Knapp, Corsham. 

    In December 1887 Thomas Pearman Stevens completed an extensive re-modelling of the brewery combined with analysis of the brewery's Artesian well (which was assessed for supplying water to the hamlet of Pickwick in 1926 via the Corsham Water Company that spent 60 on ascertaining the yield and quantity of the well water). Thomas was born in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire, 3rd Feb. 1845. In 1871 he was an assistant brewer at the Swan Brewery, St. Thomas, Oxford, and on the 8th August 1874 married Ellen Pidsley, in Heavitree, Exeter, Devon, daughter of Richard Hayward Pidsley, a farmer. Ellen's brothers, Thomas Gould and Hayward Gould Pidsley ran the Well Park Brewery in Exeter, where, after his marriage, Thomas Pearman Stevens had become a partner. . Unfortunately Ellen had died on 1st May 1883, a short while after giving birth to her daughter Ellen Mary (1883-1962) on 24th April. Thomas later married Alice Vlieland, daughter of the Rev. J. N. Vlieland of Stalisfield, Faversham, Kent on 8th March 1887 at St. Mary, Hitchin, Herts. On 15th Jan. 1887, Thomas sold his interest in the Well Park Brewery to Alfred Ross and from 4th April 1887 moved to Pickwick with Alice. Thomas died on the 1st April 1907 in Ealing, Middx. The image below is directly linked from the website where many more details of the family may be found.

Thomas Pearman & Alice Stevens

    The "Mr. Pickwick"-stood on a chair - trademark was used by several companies, including G. C. King, Mineral Water Manufacturer of York St., St. Paul's, Bristol.   

1 & 2 Gallon Stone Jars Pickwick6.jpgPickwick10.jpgPickwick11.jpgPickwick17.jpg
1 gal. impressed: A311 / T P STEVENS / Pickwick Brewery / CORSHAM., (also number A302)
Potter: Price Bristol.
also 2 gal. version: 20 / T. P. STEVENS / Pickwick Brewery / CORSHAM., and 1 gal. 1202 impressed the same.
Potter: both Powell, Bristol.
Image right, both 1 gallon versions, courtesy Michael Squires.

Pint & Quart Imperial Spirit Bottle Pickwick7.jpg
Sealed: T P STEVENS / Pickwick Brewery (upper case on 1 pint) / CORSHAM., (on reverse) IMPERIAL.

Powell & Ricketts Patent 3 piece mould.

    On Tuesday the 4th October 1910, the brewing plant was sold by auction, under instructions from Wilkins Brothers & Hudson of the Newtown Brewery, Bradford-on-Avon, who had acquired the business for a planned expansion and share release after the death of Mr. H. S. Wilkins in 1897.The surviving partners were Ernest Poulter and Walter James Wilkins. The Newtown  Brewery itself was sold by auction together with its aerated water plant on 10th & 11th November 1920, the business being absorbed by Ushers Ltd. of Trowbridge during their early 20th century campaign of buying up all the small local breweries and closing them down.

1 Gallon Stone Jar Wilkins1.jpg

Potter: POWELL / BRISTOL (in oval).

6oz Codd's bottle Wilkins2.jpg

Glassmakers : S. W. G. Co. (South Wales Glass Co., Newport)

Return to Town Index