Leicester

Brewer William Bass' 300th birthday celebrated

William Bass and one of the firm's earliest pubs Image copyright Hinckley Past & Present
Image caption William Bass and one of the firm's earliest pubs in Hinckley

A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate the 300th birthday of one of Britain's most illustrious brewers.

William Bass, who is believed to have been born in Hinckley, Leicestershire, in 1717, founded the Bass Brewery in Burton-upon-Trent, aged 60.

The company became famous across the world for its beer and its red triangle symbol was the UK's first trademark.

Richard Lewin, who helped organise the honour, said the firm still has "global significance" thanks to its founder.

Image caption Bottles of Bass feature in Edouard Manet's famous painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Mr Lewin, from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) in Hinckley, said William Bass was "probably the greatest brewer" the country has had.

He said the businessman started as a carrier of beer from the Midlands to London, before moving into brewing to give his sons a better future.

The company became one of the country's biggest brewers and its "excellent beers" were exported throughout the world, said Mr Lewin.

The brewery's famous red triangle was even featured in Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, in 1882, and in some of Picasso's work.

Mr Lewin said although no record of Bass' birthplace in Hinckley can be found, his early life in the town is beyond dispute, before he moved to Burton-upon-Trent in 1756.

Image copyright Hinckley past & present
Image caption The Bass owned Middlefield Inn, Hinckley, during the 1950s

Vanessa Winstone, collections officer a the National Brewery Centre, said: "It is true to say that although William Bass' time in brewing was short, his legacy was long.

"His sons and grandsons continued the family tradition and the company ran as a hugely successful enterprise until 1999."

The blue plaque was unveiled at a property in Castle Street that existed at the time William Bass and his family lived in Hinckley.

However, the exact location of the home is unknown.

Two other brewers William Worthington and William Butler, with links to Hinckley, will be honoured later in the year.

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