Leeds & West Yorkshire

Tetley's closes Leeds brewery landmark

Tetley's brewery
Image caption Tetley's has been on the same site in Hunslet for 189 years

Tetley's brewery has finally closed after almost 200 years as a landmark on the southern approaches of Leeds.

The closure of the brewery that has been on the same site since 1822 means the loss of 170 jobs.

Although various campaigns criticised the closure, announced in 2008, they have had no impact on the decision.

Local beer writer Barrie Pepper said: "I'm shattered. It's been an integral part of the city playing its part in civic life in so many ways."

Parent company Carlsberg announced the closure in in 2008.

It claimed the beer market faced the "perfect storm of falling consumption, increasing costs and rising tax".

Tetley's is one of Leeds' oldest companies and the city has a long history of brewing.

At the time of World War I there were about 20 breweries in Leeds.

Real ale revolution

The biggest of the city's breweries was Tetley's and its position was confirmed when it took over Melbourne Brewery in 1960.

Mr Pepper said that when he helped form a branch of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) in Leeds, during 1973-4, half of the city's 600 pubs were then owned by Tetley's.

During the 1980s Tetley's was at the forefront of the real ale revolution as sale of cask ales increased.

Between 1970 and 1980 the number of its pubs selling real ale rose from about 50 to almost all of its 300-plus venues.

A familiar sight around the city, even for non-drinkers, was Tetley's beer delivered by dray horse.

But that era ended when the team of shire horses was retired in 2006.

Beer industry links

The Tetley family's links with the beer industry go back to the 1740s when William Tetley was described as a maltster in Armley.

His son William then expanded the business, which in turn was passed to his son Joshua.

Then in 1822, Joshua Tetley leased a brewery in Salem Place, Hunslet.

It is this original site, much expanded over the years as the size of the brewery outgrew the housing around it, that is to close.

Joshua died in 1859, leaving the business to his son Francis William, who took on a partner, Charles Ryder.

By 1864 Joshua Tetley and Son were starting an ambitious building scheme.

Image caption This now-demolished pub was Tetley's first in 1890

In 1890 the firm opened its first public house close to the brewery, the Duke William.

In 1897 Tetley's became a public limited company.

Throughout the 20th Century the company underwent various mergers and acquisitions until Tetley's employed thousands of workers in Leeds and owned about 1,000 pubs.

At its peak Tetley's was Britain's largest cask ale brewery.

Tetley was taken over by Allied breweries in 1961, creating the world's biggest brewing conglomerate at the time.

Finally the brewery was bought by Carlsberg in the 1990s.

Now beer will be brewed at several sites around the UK including the Marston's plant in Wolverhampton.

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