President: Mrs Hilary Thompson, Chenoweth, 1 The Quay,
Portscatho, TR2 5HF. Tel: 01872-580573.
Chairman: Mr Ralph German, Pen-Michael,
St Just-in-Roseland, TR2 5JB. Tel: 01326-270558.
Membership Secretary: Mrs Jean Rigley, Bramble Cottage,
Ruanhighlanes, Truro, TR2 5LH.
Treasurer: Mrs Margaret George, Ruan House, Tregassick Road,
Gerrans, Portscatho, TR2 5ED.
Recorder: Neville Meek, 31 Gwarak gwel an Mor, Portscatho,
Truro, TR2 5AF. Phone 01872 581817.
ALL INDOOR MEETINGS (EXCEPT MARCH 5TH) ARE HELD AT GERRANS PARISH MEMORIAL HALL, PORTSCATHO - 7 30PM START - VISITORS WELCOME
PROGRAMME OF SPEAKERS AND OUTINGS FOR 2018
JANUARY 10TH 2018
CORNISH PASTIES IN MEXICO
FEBRUARY 14TH 2018
CORNWALL – A LAND APART
MARCH 5th 2018
ST PIRAN’S DAY CELEBRATION
(At the Royal Standard, Gerrans)
Du Hag Owr and Mike O'Connor
MARCH 14TH 2018
THE LONGEST GRAVE IN THE COUNTRY
APRIL 11TH 2018
ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL
MAY 9TH 2018 – Evening VISIT
JUNE 13TH 2018 – Afternoon PILGRIMAGE
We have undertaken studies of the stiles of various parishes
Volume I. Cornish Stiles in the Roseland - St Gerrans, 1997 SOLD OUT
Volume II. Cornish Stiles in the Roseland - Philleigh and St Just in Roseland 1999-2000
Price £3 + p&p
December Meeting – St. Austell Brewery
Gerrans and Portscatho Old Cornwall Society’s December meeting was addressed by Mr. Chris Knight whose subject was the history of the St. Austell Brewery. The family synonymous with the success of the brewery is of course the Hicks family, its founding father being Walter Hicks (1829-1916) from Lower Menadue Farm, Luxulyan who initially traded as a wine and spirit merchant in Church Street, St. Austell. Hicks was only six when his father died and trustees looked after the family farm until he came of age. The 1830 Beer Act had created ideal conditions for expansion of brewing in Victorian England and Walter Hicks’ business grew rapidly, his first steam brewery being established at Tregonissey House and his first pub being purchased in 1863, the Seven Stars. Hicks was an influential businessman on the St. Austell social scene, one key to success being his membership of the St. Austell Bowl Club, the place to be seen.
Greater control of beer sales was re-established in 1869, under pressure from the temperance movement, when the Beer and Windows Act ended free trade in beer and by 1872 all sales were restored to licensing boards. This did not seem to slow the growth of Walter Hicks business and by 1910 he had control of 55 pubs, ranging from Penzance to Plymouth to Bude. The brewery moved onto its current site in 1890, initially a 2 ½ acre lease from the Sawle family, today the site comprises 17 ½ acres in addition to its major logical hub at St. Columb.
Tragedy could have ended the brewery’s success when the first heir apparent Walter Hicks junior was killed in a motorcycle accident in Helston in 1915 in the Great War. The brewery was rescued by Hester Hicks, who became a very hands on managing director and continued the family ownership which exists to this day. Despite a major fire which destroyed many pre1919 records, the company very much respects its history and proudly displays documents, artefacts and photos at its heritage centre.
The pub estate has grown and evolved over the years and retains close community ties in many Cornish towns and villages. There is indeed great competition amongst some of the St. Austell families as to who can prove most competitive years of service to the brewery.
Mr. Knight’s talk well described a great Cornish company with a fine past and great future, still winning many awards for its brews and business practices and was well received by the membership.
The next meeting of the society is on the 14th February at Gerrans Parish Memorial Hall with a talk by Cornish Bard Tony Mansell entitled Cornwall – A Land Apart.
All are welcome.
Saffron, Black & White
(Photo: Terry Knight)..