History of Dale's Brewery, Gwydir Street

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Dales Brewery Dales Brewery clock

This was originally numbered 181 Gwydir Street, 183 Gwydir Street and 185 Gwydir Street. Click on those link for previous people living at this site.

Frederick Dale, brewer, wine and spirit merchant, lived in Dale's Brewery, Gwydir St in 1904 (see Spalding's Directory), 1913 (see Spalding's Directory) and 1916 (see Kelly's Directory).

From Cambridge Time traveller (website no longer there):

To me the name Dale's Brewery will always be associated with the game of bowls as Fred Dale, the founder of Dale's Brewery, gave the county its Fours Cup. First competed for in 1927, when it was won by Fred Endersby, Harry Driver, Jack Whitelaw and Charles Beadle of the Town Football Club (Bowls Section), it was won this year (2010) by four members from my own club, Cambridge and County.

Dale's Brewery began in 1898, when Fred Dale took over the British Queen in Histon Road. In 1900 he moved the brewery to Gwydir Street. In 1910 Dale's were advertising their pale ale and oatmeal stout as being brewed from malt and hops only. In 1911 they won a gold medal for their beers at the Brewers International Exhibition so they then advertised their beers with the slogans 'Champion Beers' and 'World Highest Beers'.

Fred Dale died in 1930 and then his son, Lt Colonel Guy Frederick Dale, became the Company Chairman until the firm was taken over by Whitbreads in 1955. Three years later the Gwydir Street Brewery closed. The site was used as a store and depot until it was sold to the City Council in 1966. Lt Col Dale died at his home in Long Road, Cambridge, at the age of 71 on October 4th, 1969. Like his father he was a keen sportsman.

From Cambridge City Council website (no longer there):

The Dales Brewery business centre on Gwydir Street has six offices, three workshops and four shops. The development has allocated parking for each business and is within walking distance of the city centre and train station.

An email (2010) from Clive Berry:

I used to live at 184 Gwydir Street from birth in 1956 until I got married in 1977. As a child I used to watch from our front bay window as the brewery lorries struggled to turn into and reverse down the narrow arch covered entrance across the road. The lorries seemed to come right up the pavement to our front garden wall in their efforts to negotiate the manouvre. As far as I can remember the beer lorries were after Whitbread acquired the premises of Dales Brewery. I was born in 1956 so my active memories were obviously from a later date which would be after Whitbread took over the site. I also remember there was another house type building and workshop immediately across the road from our house also connected to the brewery. The house or office became disused and unoccupied before the closure of the main building. The police temporarily took over the use of the workshop to service patrol cars for a while. This is now open ground or car parking to the right of the Dales brewery building after these structures were demolished.

Article from Mike Petty in the Cambridge Evening News - published on 26 February 2003

Tony Challis from Great Shelford ... was apprenticed to George Lister and Sons of Abbey Road. He recalls: "Besides working in the blacksmith and machine shops we would work at many firms around the city. My mentor was Bill Rouse who seemed to be mostly employed in the breweries, Tolly on Newmarket road, Panton Street, and, of course Dales. I recall one of our jobs was to refurbish the name 'Dales Brewery' on the tower at the top of the building, steel letters some 12-inches high which were bolted on all four sides around the gold cup.

"The job must have been carried out in the winter because I remember it being cold and very foggy and we couldn't see the ground at all. The letters there now are probably the same ones. Not only did we climb to the top of 'Dales' we also descended to the very bottom, as one of our visits was to fit new leather washers to the pumps at the foot of the well that was just inside the entrance."

Article from Mike Petty in the Cambridge News - published on 16 January 2012

... Frederick Dale established the brewey in Gwydir Street in 1903. Writing his his 1987 history, Bob Flood describes it as a fine example of a small brewery of the period. It had a three-storey block fronting the street with offices, and an archway to the yard with other buildings behind it. The name appeared in large wrought lettering around the roof and on a large clock over the street. ...

At the Brewers' International Exhibition held in London in 1911 it was awarded the world championship and a 50-guinea gold cup for the best bottled beer. The championship beer had been selected from those entries winning first prize in the various bottled beer classes - Dale's winning in the best pale ale and draught beer categories. The firm was proud of this award, which was featured on its bottles and advertisements with the slogan "World's Highest Award" and "Champion Beers". A seven-foot-high copper representation of the Gold Cup was placed on the front of the building and remained a landmark for many years. ... The cup was taken down in February 1961.

Dales Brewery sign Sign of Dales Brewery

The Dales brewery sign turned up in Australia! I was contacted to see if anyone was interested in it. I passed the conact along, but I don't know what happened to it.

From the Cambridge News 25 April 1963

Dales Brewery

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