News

An oral history of West London’s brewery workers

Oct 7th 2019

Brewing Stories is a project set up and run by educational charity digital:works. The three West London breweries included in the project are the Griffin Brewery (Fuller’s) in Chiswick, the Ram Brewery (Young’s) in Wandsworth and the Stag Brewery (Watney’s) in Mortlake.

This undertaking is an oral history of the people who worked in these main Thames side breweries in West London. They were major employers – their smoke and smells dominating this part of London for hundreds of years.

The firms employed hundreds of people, many for their whole working lives, with generations working for the same brewery or moving employment between the three. All are essentially factories along the River Thames. The three were competing businesses and together they dominated this stretch of river running from Wandsworth to Mortlake.

The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick is the only one remaining and is now the oldest brewery in London and currently employs 350 people.

Brewing team c1908

Watch the film

The project is an oral history of the living memory of workers going back to the 1940s and up to the present. They remember the wonderful atmosphere of the breweries, the relationships between workers and owners. and all the paraphernalia that make up the production process and the range of skilled people involved.