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24th November 2022 – Club Meeting – Speaker, Mr Alan Eastwood who gave a presentation entitled ‘Lost Beers and Breweries of England’.

Alan started his talk with an old price list (circa 1970) with beer prices starting at one shilling and fourpence per pint. Using an on-line RPI calculator to bring the figures up to date, this equates to £1.46 today!
He then stated that during the 1970s, many famous breweries became absorbed into what became known as ‘the big six’.  This is now ‘the big four’. 

1300 commercial breweries were listed in 1900 with 6447 ‘brewpubs’.  By 1976 this was down to 142.  36 independent breweries operate today (about 25%) with the remaining 75% being swallowed up by the big six.

However, in 2016 there were 1540 microbreweries, and this number has now risen to over 2000.  There are more microbreweries per head of population in the UK than anywhere else in the world.

Alan listed the names of the big six companies and showed a ‘family tree’ of the takeovers of the other breweries.  All these have been described by ‘CAMRA’ as producing keg beer of consistent mediocrity!
He then produced a list of brewers which had disappeared and asked members to pick the ones of interest.  He gave a detailed account of the origins, buildings and history of each one up to takeover.

Alan concluded his talk by adding that in the 1980’s the government decided to limit the number of pubs a brewery could retain to 10,000.  However, far from giving more competition, the big six diversified their interests, a lot of pubs were bought up by property developers with no interest in the pubs history and the brewing side became detached from the pub ownership.  Consequently, we have now moved from the big six owning 80% of the English pubs, to four big multinational conglomerates owning 84%.  However, the rise of the microbreweries does give us room for optimism for the future.

16th November 2022 – Social – Bowling Section ‘End of Season’ Dinner

Cheers everyone!

Members of the Rex Bowling Section enjoyed a pleasant evening for dinner at the Dun Cow, Knutsford. Bowls Captain Roger Collins gave a review of the season with some additional statistics on the sections results over the seasons. The evening was honoured by the presence of Club Chairman John Beaumont who resisted, even after a few beers, to put his name down for the team next season. However, on a more serious note, the number of bowlers is reducing season on season and ‘new blood’ is more than welcome. Members who have never bowled can find an hour or two on the green, particular Monday afternoon practice sessions, an ideal way of keeping the old joints moving. We can even supply the bowls!

15th November 2022 – Funeral of Member Bill Frith

Knutsford Rex Probus Club were saddened to hear of the passing of long serving member Bill Frith. Bill joined the club in January 1997 and was a regular attendee of our meetings and social events throughout the years.

Bill passed away on the 3rd November after being taken to hospital with kidney failure.

10th November 2022 – Club Meeting – Speaker, Peter Pennington, who gave a talk entitled ‘Black & White Minstrels Show’.

Peter presented on screen excerpts of the shows which were shown on BBC television between 1958 and 1978. The broadcasts were initially in black and white and then in colour from the late 60’s. As times changed in the late 70’s with regards to the showing of this type of entertainment the BBC piloted a number of shows using the same cast but without minstrel makeup. These shows did not get beyond the pilot stage presumably due them not being as popular as the originals.

3rd November 2022 – Walk – Thelwall

Report by David Howard

The walk started and finished at the Little Manor Pub in Thelwall. We were very blessed by a break in the weather amid the awful stuff we have been having recently, it was a sparkling, golden autumn day, with clear blue skies. The walk took us along the Trans-Pennine Way, which follows the line of the redundant Stockport to Warrington Bank Quay Railway. Then along the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal. For some the walk was 3.8 miles, for others it was 4.25 miles as some of us did an extra loop making an elongated figure of 8 walk. In total there were 10 of us, 9 on the walk, but Graham Parr couldn’t stay for lunch, but Allan Whitehead joined us for lunch.