Thomas Carter, a retired farm worker who lived in Back Lane, Southwick, worked part time as assistant to the brewer, from the late 1930s until the closure of the brewery in 1956/57. He aided the brewer in many ways but was never present when brewing took place.

On the first evening he would prepare for the brew by carrying three or four 2cwt. sacks of malt up the external staircase (no longer in position) to the first floor, below the grist mill. He then took coal from the adjacent store to fire the copper and the boiler. The steam engine provided power for the grist mill, the mash tun and the pump for the under back.

The hot water (liquor) and cracked malt would be ready late in the evening for the brewer to begin work. Probably before dawn on the following morning Mr Olding started brewing and would allow no-one else in the building during the process.

The following evening, when the boiler was still warm, Thomas Carter would return to the brewhouse to clean out the boiler and remove the mash from the mash tun (throwing the spent grain into the yard below, where it was taken for use as cattle feed). The cooled wort was then run into the fermenting vats. At this stage the Excise Officer called to gauge the quantity and specific gravity in order to calculate the duty to be paid.

Brewhouse Gallery - 14Thomas Carter did not help to wrack the beer (i.e. transfer to casked). He was paid ten shillings and all the beer he could drink, for his work. Mr Olding would go with him into the public house to pay for his beer, although apparently Mr Carter would occasionally slip into the brewhouse surreptitiously, for some hot beer!

The owner of the brewery was William Hunt, who also had an off-licence in Portsmouth where some of the beer was sold.

Repairs to the brewhouse machinery were tackled on something of a “make do and mend” basis. Leather harnesses would be used for belts and cogs from old drills found their way into the mash tun and grist mill. Pieces of lead were tacked onto the mash tun and the pipes were bound with insulation tape and flex.

George Olding was, in the words of Mr Carter, “a real Governor’s man”. He retired at a very advanced age in 1956/57, and died soon afterwards taking his brewing secrets with him to the grave.

Thanks to Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust for the above.

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