Our Patch Autumn 2017 Chiswick - Page 11

Our Patch AUTUMN 2017 Looking back GRIFFIN BREWERY C H I S W IC K I 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 the scene. 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.