Portsmouth men climbed inside giant glass tanks to make them ready for beer
Awhile ago I devoted one of these pages to memories of the old Hammertons and Charringtons bottling plant.
The factory in Malthouse Road, off Kingston Road, Portsmouth bottled beer produced in Stockwell, London. The main products were Oatmeal Stout and Nutbrown Ale.
It was brought to Portsmouth in six-wheeled tankers and pumped into two enormous, glass-lined tanks in Malthouse Road.
Ron Ware, 84, started work there as a 14-year-old school-leaver in 1939. He sent me these memories starting with the layout of the works.
He says: ‘Starting at the off-licence on Kingston Road and moving down Malthouse Road you came to a large yard which was the barrel store/repair yard.
‘The main entrance to the works was in this area and a wide passage ran down into the main works.
‘Off this passage were a large boiler house with two very large, coke-fired boilers, a generator room, and the room containing the two massive glass-lined tanks for storage. These had to be cleaned by men climbing inside and washing them.
‘At the end of the passage you reached the main working area where the beer was pasteurised and put through the bottling process.
‘The bottles were then placed upright on a revolving belt machine and girls sat and labelled them by hand.
‘Everything was crated and moved to the large storage/ loading area which completed the works. Much of the production was supplied to naval establishments and I often went on these deliveries. I even went to stockwell once.’
‘Some of the lorries were gas-powered. They towed a trailer which had two large containers like large oil drums, which were heated to produce the gas. Performance was very poor.
‘The works were damaged in the bombing during the war.
‘A football team was formed, Hammerton Accademicals. This included dad, Uncle Ted and Uncle Charlie. They played local and services teams and we used to travel to the matches in an open works lorry.
‘The works always seemed to be a friendly place.’