Our Patch AUTUMN 2017
C H I S W IC K
t’s been part of Chiswick’s landscape
since 1845, although distinctively
hoppy aromas have swirled round
the Fuller, Smith & Turner brewery
site since the 1600s. A family
business which is now the most
iconic brewery in the capital, Fuller’s
has weathered world wars, changes
in drinking fashion and ferocious
competition to emerge as London’s
last surviving major producer.
Chiswick in the Middle Ages
consisted of St Nicholas church and
a few shacks, with home-brewing the
order of the day. There’s a record of a
brewhouse in 1588 at nearby Corney
House, but the Griffin Brewery’s
history really dates from the early
1800s when John Fuller appeared on
His wealth and ambition established
the Thames-side brewery, and when
he died, his son (another John)
enthusiastically took over. He joined
forces with Essex brewer John Smith,
who brought in his son-in-law, John
Turner. The partnership formed. By
the 1840s, Chiswick had 23 pubs; 12
belonging to the brewery.
Chiswick’s population doubled
between 1841 and 1861, with a
consequent rise in demand for
refreshing pints. The brewery, with its
distinctive chimneys, produced porter,
pale ales, mild, old, bitter and stout. A
brown ale called Old Harry followed,
although the name London Pride
wasn’t coined until 1959.
Until the 1930s, teams of horse-
drawn drays delivered Fuller’s barrels
around London. Spent yeast is sent
up to Burton, where it is used to make
Marmite. Back in the 1970s, Fuller’s
had a cat whose job was to keep down
mouse numbers in the malt store.
Because of the strict rules of the day,
it had to become a union member!
The Griffin brewery is also home
to the UK’s oldest wisteria, planted in
1816 from samples sent from China.
One went to Kew, one to Chiswick.
Famously, Kew’s died… but a cutting
from the brewery’s sturdy, beer-
enriched specimen saved the day.