Fanny Brickwood – founder of Portsmouth pub and brewing empire

The Cobden Arms awaiting demolition for redevelopment in the 1970s
The Cobden Arms awaiting demolition for redevelopment in the 1970s

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A recent Remember When page featured a picture of The Cobden Arms in Arundel Street, Landport.

It prompted Calum Kennedy, from North End, to remind us that this hostelry was the birthplace of the Brickwood’s brewing empire.

jpns-21-07-14 rw marthas PLAN B

jpns-21-07-14 rw marthas PLAN B

Fanny Brickwood, her ailing husband Thomas and their son Harry came to Portsmouth from Guildford in 1848 and took over the Cobden. This was at the suggestion of her brother-in-law Henry, who was the landlord of the White Hart in Queen Street.

Soon afterwards, Thomas died and Fanny took over the the pub and in 1851 bought the attached brewery and began brewing between eight and 10 barrels of beer a week. And so dawned the beginning of the Brickwood’s beer and pub empire.

Fanny’s widowed niece Martha was also a brewster, having her brewery adjacent to the Suffolk Arms in Commercial Road, affectionately known as Martha’s.

Other female brewsters at the time were Anne Allen, who inherited the Buckland Brewery in 1882, Maria Langford, The Wingfield Brewery in 1886, and Florence Philips who bought the Castle Brewery in Southsea in 1887.