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George Bateman and Son: Lincolnshire's last brewery. Part II

by Steve Andrews

The Company

1918 had begun to see a relaxation of government restrictions and in July 1919 they were abolished altogether, but the shortage of materials took longer to disappear. Encouragement was given to hop growers but generally shortages revealed themselves in higher prices which were still controlled by the government. Beer Duties were raised again but there was a boom in production during the post war years which was accompanied by high profits. Beer remained diluted and output never again reached the levels of 1913. Licensing restrictions still applied and prices remained relatively high. By the early 1920s gravity had risen slightly and prices fell slightly due to lower wages. Costs of raw materials fell but the percentage of duty on the cost of beer was considerable. For example in a low gravity beer the cost of the raw materials was only about one-fifth of the duty paid. In 1920 duty charges represented about 40 per cent of the total retail price and by 1935 they represented 60 per cent (1).

Because of these other problems, the years between the wars saw many more brewery amalgamations and closures. We also find that some of the larger brewers were also trying to gain control over certain areas which would enable them to cut down on their costs and increase their outlets at the same time. This would also allow them to concentrate all the brewing in one large brewery. This was all helped by the introduction of the motor lorry for deliveries, which was much more convenient and relied less on outside factors such as railway timetables. The refurbishing of public houses, making them more attractive to potential customers was also better done with large capital available. Technical developments such as engineering improvements and the use of electricity put additional emphasis on the need for larger breweries. The big brewer needed the outlets of the smaller breweries to maintain an output equal to his capacity. This period then was one of adjustment in the trade generally. Production of weaker beer, higher taxes, advertising, bottled beers, better public houses and better transport. There was a rapid expansion of the big breweries and by some smaller ones who became regionally important.

Harry Bateman, as we saw in the last chapter was running the brewery by the end of the Great War, if not before. On the 19th July 1919 he actually took over full control of the business from his father by buying him out for £4299 1s 8d. From the indenture we find Harry bought the house, brewery, Fern Lodge, two cottages, the Chequers Inn and the Anchor Hotel plus some pasture land. These two pubs appear to be the only pubs that George actually owned and I do not know what happened to the Black Horse. I have been unable to find out very much about the period immediately following the First World War. The only useful information is that which comes from Mrs Burnett, which is examined in Chapter Seven. However by 1928 Harry has decided to turn the business into a private limited company. The inaugural meeting took place on Friday 3rd August 1928 at 1.30 pm. Present were Harry Bateman, his sister Jessie Bateman, William C Howard, solicitor and S Hall of Messrs. Hubbert, Durose and Pain, chartered accountants, Nottingham. The Company was actually inaugurated on 28th July 1928 and Harry was to be Managing Director at £600 per annum and Jessie to be a Director at £50 per annum. The business of the meeting concerned the framing of the corporation certificate, the brass plate for outside the door and the designation of the company seal. The Head Brewer, Mr. James Montague Broard, was installed as Company Secretary and Messrs. Hubbert, Durose and Pain the accountants. The bank account was to be with The Midland Bank, Skegness.

In one of the earliest sets of minutes is a reference to the company gaining some success in the Brewers Exhibition in London, winning a second prize. In 1929 we also find a record of the Pilgrim Trade Mark belonging to Ridlingtons as having been registered (No.417, 993 class 43)

We do not seem to have a great deal of information in the minute books during the 1930s and I put this to George Bateman, who says that it was probably because as they were a family firm they did not necessarily feel the need to write everything down. As long as everything was going alright there was no need to go into detail. We do find the annual profit and loss accounts are put in the Minutes but they do not really give us any clue as to how the company was doing.

The Company did no doubt expand during the 1930s. They took over more pubs and they got involved in the growth of Skegness as a holiday resort. They already owned the Vine Hotel which was the oldest in Skegness but they built what is regarded as the Company's flagship, the County Hotel and they were also to open contracts to supply the new holiday camp just set up along the coast belonging to Billy Butlin.

The Vine Hotel had been bought as a limited company from a family called the Dullons. Instead of paying outright for the business they agreed to give Mrs Dullon, who was in a poor state of health, an annuity for life on the assumption that she would not live long, but she went on for many years. The hotel, being the oldest in the town, has a bit of history behind it. It had been built in the middle of the seventeenth century and was originally known as the Skegness Hotel its good reputation going back a long way. In 1784 the Vine was being advertised in the London newspapers as somewhere for those who sought safe sea bathing. The hotel was associated with the Hon. John Byng who had described Skegness as "this vile and shabby bathing place" (2).

The land around the Vine was reputedly given to Sir Francis Drake in recognition of his achievements with the Spanish Armada. One of the most famous associations is that of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who as a young man was said to have spent some time here in the 1820s and his well known poem 'Come into the Garden Maud' is supposedly inspired by the Vine's gardens. In 1902 when alterations were being made to the hotel a skeleton was found bricked up behind a wall and is said to be that of a Revenue Officer who had disappeared during the early 1800s. This is part of local folklore and the Vine's traditional connections with smuggling.

However it was the building of the County Hotel that really established Batemans in Skegness and the hotel business. It first comes up in the minutes on the 14th August 1934 when a contract to build it for £15,250 is mentioned. On the 9th May 1935 they purchase the land from Lord Scarborough, but no price is mentioned. The hotel took eight months to build and was initially to be called the 'Jolly Fisherman' but it was changed to the 'County Hotel' to give it an air of 'dignity'. The 'Lincolnshire Standards' representative at the opening was very impressed by the hotel particularly in the way it was furnished and decorated. The building was designed in the 'modern style' of the 1930s by Mr W F Willis with a front described as both striking and pleasing. The Earl of Scarborough allowed them to use the crest of Skegness on the hotel (3).

An application for a provisional license for the 'Jolly Fisherman' goes back as far as February 1933 to the Spilsby Annual License meeting and records that the Earl of Scarborough was wholeheartedly behind the application. The main reason why it was seen as necessary to build the hotel was the "growth and probable further growth" of Skegness and the need for a good hotel on the north side of the town. The application informs us that there were 70 full licensed houses in the Spilsby Division, 28 beerhouses and that there were a large number of houses per head of the population which is to be expected in a large rural area. In Skegness, though, at this time there were only eleven fully licensed houses with a resident population of over 10,000 or one fully licensed house for every 900 people and that does not take into account the summer visitors. The application points out that:

"if, in the wisdom of our fathers it seemed desirable in the market town of Spilsby (which had eight houses for a population of 1,400) there should be one public house for every 175 people, surely the wisdom of today should point to the need for more houses and hotels in Skegness".

The tone of the application seems to be justifying the need for another hotel in the town and reading it gives the feeling that they are expecting some opposition which is probably why it goes on to say that Skegness has an excellent record in the absence of drunkenness. The application also points out that it is a 'clean' one in as much as Harry Bateman has applied directly for a fully licensed hotel rather than for a boarding house now, and then gradually seeking to upgrade it to fully licensed premises.

One of the Skegness Urban District Councillors, a Dr Allen justifies the need for the hotel by pointing out the rise in population of Skegness since 1891 excluding the summer visitors. He uses the following figures to help make his point and to show the relationship between the population and the number of public houses

Year Pop No of Houses Pubs & Hotels
1891 1488 339 -
1901 2135 512 8
1911 3755 995 9
1921 9251 1256 9
1931 9122 2194 10
1933 10500 2299 11

The Councillor goes on to state that accommodation in Skegness is totally inadequate especially with regard to the visiting population and that the "Jolly Fisherman Hotel is in an exceptionally good situation … and will be a definite asset to the town" (4).

Harry had in fact another hotel which he had purchased in 1918, the Peacock and Royal in Boston. This had been an old coaching inn on the market place facing the famous Boston Stump (5) and had 30 bedrooms with hot and cold water and room for 20 cars.

With the County Hotel Batemans were ready for the boom in holiday makers in the 1950s, which was also the heyday of that other Skegness holiday landmark, Butlins Holiday Camp. Billy Butlin actually had had a skittle alley next door to the County Hotel which is where he and Harry Bateman met and according to the family they became good friends So much so that when the holiday camp was opened Batemans supplied the bars with their beer. The 1930s had been the period when miners and others were going to Skegness for weeks holidays for the first time and Butlin saw the holiday camp as a means to provide these people with a ready made holiday. However it had not been open for more than a couple of seasons before the start of World War Two, so it was not until the 1950s that the camp really made its name. During the war the camp was requisitioned by the Navy who called it

H.M.S. Royal Arthur and there is one anecdote concerning Harry and Royal Arthur. On the first occasion that Harry visited it, as they were providing beer for the mess, he drove in and parked his car where he always had done wondering why he was getting saluted. He then went on about his business. In the meantime there was some sort of 'hue and cry' as someone had realized that Harry's car was not an officers car and nobody knew whose it was because, he had in fact parked it on the Quarter Deck.

Apart from the County Hotel the company began to increase its tied estate throughout the 1930s. It has not been possible to show the complete extent of the tied trade by the end of the decade but we do know that in 1948 there were 68 pubs which was a threefold increase to what it had been in the 1920s. They also took over the business of the Horncastle & Kirkstead Brewery in June 1933. This brewery had gone out of business due to bankruptcy in 1932 and in the deal Batemans bought the Phoenix Brewery in Horncastle and two pubs, the Railway Hotel at Kirkstead and the Durham Ox at Thimbleby. The brewery was closed as Harry says that although the brewery was in reasonable condition, the casks were poor and the business too small. Presumably they took from the brewery what they wanted and sold the rest of it off.(6)

By 1939 the trade had established itself again, output was rising and so were profits and it entered the period of World War Two in a much stronger position. It was to find that this war was not to have the same dramatic consequences of the First World War. To begin with there were less government restrictions on brewing and the reason for weaker beers and restricted output was because of the shortages of raw materials. The shortages were not due to a direct policy not to grow such crops as barley but because of a shortage of labour in the malting process, which affected the brewing trade generally. By 1942 grain crops were in short supply and substitutes were used. Between 1939 and 1943 beer gravity had fallen by sixteen per cent and a compulsory reduction of five percent was imposed because of the lack of malt. There was a great increase in the use of substitutes, particularly between 1943 and 1944 when there were severe food shortages and in a period when the demand for beer was increasing. It was realized that a reduction in beer output to save grain would mean closing public houses or rationing beer, which even the government did not want to do, presumably to maintain moral. It was thought better to weaken the beer than to have none at all (7).

There is not so much information about Batemans during the Second World War as we had in the First. We have seen already that they did have a contract to supply H.M.S. Royal Arthur and whilst in a conversation with the present Chairman I found that the brewery concentrated on brewing mild beer during the war to as low a gravity as possible, at one stage going to as low as 1027 degrees.

During the 1930s Harry Bateman had become the Chairman of the East Midland Brewers Association and during the war they had an agreement that if any of the breweries within the association was war damaged then the other breweries would supply for them for as long as necessary. This agreement was made during 1940 and in 1941 a supplementary was added to cover fire damage other than by enemy action. As far as George Bateman is aware the only brewery to take advantage of this agreement was Soulbys of Alford but he cannot remember under what circumstances. We also find that the company had an agreement with Spilsby Rural District Council to supply them with water as from 31st March 1942 and at a charge of sixpence per 1,000 gallons with a minimum charge of £1,000 per annum.

In Harry Bateman's obituary (8) we also learn that he held several public offices during the war and some of them were secret. The only one that I have come across is that he was responsible for the allocation of petrol in the district, which was confirmed by George Bateman. The company itself did not suffer much from war damage. A report in the minutes shows that the County Hotel had suffered some minor damage in the Public Lounge and Wine Bar and had been closed for the duration. The Peacock and Royal had had some slight damage but had remained open throughout. Ridlingtons had had some slight damage and some private properties the company owned and which been requisitioned during the war were being returned to the company. Some property they owned in Grimsby was slightly damaged but the only claims to pubs were for the following. The Red Lion, Wainfleet; Fox & Hounds, Hundleby; and the Blacksmiths Arms, Swinderby. The same minutes report that staff are returning from the war and that one employee had died in a prisoner of war camp and it goes on to thank all those who had worked throughout the war to keep the brewery going (9).


Harry Bateman

It is very difficult to talk about Batemans without looking in some detail at Harry Bateman. I think it would be fair to say that it was he who took the brewery from a small local brewery to a more regional one. It was he who began to build up the tied estate and who bought up Ridlingtons and the Burgh brewery. It was also Harry that developed and maintained the free trade during the First World War, turned the business into a private limited company and took them into the hotel trade. In a tribute to him in the Minute Book of 26th July 1970, following his death, George Bateman, the present Chairman says of his father:

"Under his guidance the business flourished to the extent that the 'Good Honest Ales' sign is seen through a radius of forty miles from Wainfleet, with over 100 tenants and over 100 people dependant upon father for their employment. In addition to the brewery and our public houses the thriving business of Ridlingtons speaks for his initiative and enterprise and the County Hotel, which was built in 1934-5 at a cost of no more than a new pub would cost today, is a permanent monument of his far sightedness".

He is said to have had a great capacity for work and prided himself in being in the office to listen to the eight o'clock news in a morning and to still be there at eight o'clock in the evening. Typical of this capacity is shown by him during the First World War when he did the brewing in the morning, sold and delivered in the afternoon, and did his books in the evening. This may have been true up to a point but as we will see in the next edition's chapter on the brewery he was relieved of the brewing at some time during the war by Ernest Riggall and the deliveries were taken out by John Smith. However from the letter books we do know that he travelled about the county a considerable amount, representing the brewery and selling the beers. We have examples of him arranging to meet some of the club officials at certain times. For someone who did not know him, he writes in one letter, that when he gets to the "station entrance leading to the road I will wait two or three minutes so that you will have some idea if you see someone standing about who it is" In another letter he arranges to meet someone in the Saracens Head in Lincoln for tea. These are just two examples but there are many more. Much of this can also be confirmed by the Petty Cash books showing his travelling expenses. We also find him arranging holiday accommodation for customers, for example in June 1920 he has written to Mr Lloyd of the New Brumby Club in Scunthorpe, concerning somebody else from the club, suggesting "Wainfleet is a better place than Skegness and it is only five miles from Skegness with plenty of good trains. If he would care to stay in Wainfleet I will sort out some accommodation for him". There is also a letter from a Mr Reilly of Bass asking Harry if he can arrange a holiday for someone from their Head Office in Burton. We also have evidence of Harry being appreciative to his 'free' customers by sending them gifts, such as Whisky or a brace of pheasants.

In 1935 he became Chairman of the East Midland Brewers Association and after his retirement in 1952 they presented him with his portrait painted by Carlos Sancha. As Chairman he was well respected for his integrity, fairness and impartiality. Harry had first appeared in the minute books of the Association in 1926, he had become vice-chairman in 1932 and he followed J.H.Shipstone as chairman in 1935 having been proposed by P.A.Hanson (10).

He was regarded very highly by his employees and the tenants of his pubs. His business interests were not just confined to the family business itself, he was, in fact, also a director of Mowbrays brewery in Grantham and of Soames brewery in Spalding. Apparently he was invited on to their boards, when in both cases there was no-one left on the boards that had any experience of the brewing industry. He resigned from both boards when they became subject to mergers. He was also Chairman of the Lincolnshire Standard Group and of the Lincolnshire Management Committee of the Trustee Savings Bank and he also chaired many local and charitable committees. In 1954 he was awarded the C.B.E. for his political and public services and his obituary describes him as a "kindly and courteous gentleman, a friend to the needy and a doughty fighter for causes in which he believed" (11).

What probably sums up Harry Bateman to those who knew and worked for him is a story I have heard from many sources, including the present Chairman. During the 1930s when the depression was on the brewery like everyone else had to lay people off. When Harry saw them hanging around street corners because they had no work to go to he took them back on again at the brewery and found work for them to do until the business picked up again.


Public Houses

Like any business manufacturing a product, a brewery needs a market in which to sell. In the case of breweries this is usually through outlets which have licences to sell alcoholic drinks. These are in the form of 'on-licences' in which beer is sold for consumption on the premises or 'off licences' which are usually shops where it is sold to take home. For a company like Batemans the basis of their market is the 'on-licensed premises such as Public houses and clubs. These are divided into the 'tied houses' and the 'free trade'. Tied houses, forming the 'tied estate', are the pubs which the brewery owns or leases and in which they put a manager or a tenant to run it for them. The free trade is when the beer is sold to other pubs or clubs which are not brewery owned or are sold in others tied houses as part of a trading agreement. One important part of the free trade business these days is supplying bottled and canned beers to the large supermarket chains.

We do not really know when Batemans began putting their 'tied estate' together. In a letter to one of their maltsters in August 1920 they are saying that "practically the whole of our business is 'FREE' and we have severe competition". In a letter to Worthingtons in 1911 they say that they have twenty pubs. It is not until 1917 that we can put a list together of the pubs that seem to be tied to Batemans. Whether this was because they owned the pubs or leased them, is not clear, though over the next few years most of them came into their possession. We do know for certain that George bought the Chequers Inn at Croft in 1884 and the Anchor Hotel at Friskney in 1898 as they appear on the transfer of business agreement and the Great Northern at Surfleet as there is evidence in the letter books. The Good Intent we know was leased from Salt & Co. and the Sailors Home at Old Leake, I am informed, was a twenty-first birthday present to Harry Bateman from his father (12).

The earliest references to pubs are found in the letter books. The first being to the landlord of the Shepherds Arms at Wrangle about licensing hours and another early one is to the Good Intent at Friskney which they appear to have rented from Thos. Salt & Co. of Burton on Trent. One interesting letter to the Sailors Home at Old Leake read "Your sporting inclinations appear to us are likely to be your ruin" (13). This was the beginning of a letter concerning complaints by customers about the landlord's dogs and he is being given the ultimatum that either the dogs go or he does. We do happen to have the reply to this letter from the landlord who asks to see Harry to "… know what all the trouble is about if those people put their signatures to their saucy letter ...". Another letter concerns the Great Northern Hotel at Surfleet which was bought for £1,300 in 1911 and soon afterwards they were asked if they wanted to sell it but they said they would, only if they could make at least £200 profit on it. There are in fact several letters to show that they were negotiating over various pubs but we do not always get the outcome. The earliest list that can be put together comes from the letter books and the Trade Bottling Account Book 1914-17 which can be found in Table 1. The biggest problem about these pubs was finding out whether they were part of a tied estate, just leased, or supplied on agreement. When the business was incorporated something like forty-eight pubs are transferred over to the new company from the old business or from Harry and from Jessie (14).

We find that after incorporation they do begin to enlarge their 'tied estate'. In the Minutes for 21st Aug 1928 we find that they are purchasing from Bass the 'Good Intent' at Friskney, a pub that has been supplied by them since at least the First World War and in the same deal they also buy three more pubs and an off-licence.

I also tried to put together a comprehensive list of the clubs that they were supplying during World War One. This was more difficult because letters were not always sent to the club address but very often to committee members or the stewards so it is not always possible to know to which club they are referring. The majority of these clubs were in the Lincoln and Scunthorpe areas, but they were within easy reach of the railway network. The list I have come up with can be found in Table 2. Most of this business they seemed to have kept until the Second World War, by which time they were making all of their deliveries by lorry. Unfortunately because of petrol rationing they could no longer deliver to the northern parts of the county and therefore lost these outlets. Harry seems to have spent a great deal of time acquiring and maintaining the custom of these clubs. There are several letters to club officials, arranging to meet them and even some where he is prepared to arrange holidays for them in Wainfleet or Skegness. It seems as well, that he tried really hard to keep these clubs supplied during the war and as a consequence he seemed a little upset when one club objected to the price of the beer just after the war. The Crosby Road Working Mens Club in Scunthorpe asked for some cheaper beer, possibly because they had been offered some from elsewhere. Harry wrote to them explaining that the price of the beer depended upon its strength. He went on to say "For different strengths there is a margin in which we can work and that 7d beer at the lower end of the margin is not much better than 6d at the top so why pay 7d" (15). What he is saying is that Batemans 7d beer is well into the margin allowed and is worth the extra because it is made with the best quality materials. He also said that Scunthorpe was a prosperous region at that time and that customers would prefer a better ale than a weaker one. A follow up letter, from the club, must have asked them to brew a special weaker beer for them, which Batemans say they can only do with a minimum order of forty barrels and that, they said, will be too much for them and the only practical way it could be done would be to get another club to go shares. However one of the clubs who was approached to do this has replied to the brewery saying that it would be a mistake. The outcome is not known.

This problem could well be connected to another which is revealed in the following two letters. In a letter dated 13th March 1920 and written to Warwicks & Richardsons of Newark Harry congratulated them on standing up against a price war that seemed to be starting in the Scunthorpe area between other unspecified brewers. In a follow up letter dated 27th May 1920 to the same brewers, it seems that the price war was hotting up and that Harry hoped he had been misinformed that Warwicks had dropped their prices. Another brewer, Holes, also entered the war at this stage and was trying to sell into an area where they had not previously been. Harry is suggesting in this second letter that a meeting should be set up to sort the business out. He suggested "... if we are going to do like this and lose a little money then we might as well lose a lot and have a little game" (16). He went on to say that he believed the prices would get even lower. Warwicks had apparently dropped their 6d ale to 100 shillings a barrel and their 7d ale to 113 shillings a barrel. Again the outcome is unknown.

Throughout the 1930s they gradually bought up other pubs and increased their tied-estate, so that by 1948 they had sixty-eight including the three hotels, of the County, and the Vine in Skegness and the Peacock and Royal in Boston. They continued to buy in the 1950s and 1960s, steadily at first but in 1957 they purchased twenty-nine at one go. This was made up of sixteen from Steward & Patterson and thirteen from Flowers for a total cost of £50,000 (17). In 1962 they leased five houses from Whitbreads as part of a trade agreement (18) and in 1970 they purchased seven pubs from Hewitts Bros for £100,000 (19).

To help purchase some of these pubs they had to sell some of their old pubs. Even some of the new pubs they bought were sold almost straight away, presumably because they came as part of a deal and they were not the ones they wanted. This was probably because they competed with a more successful Batemans pub, that was already there, or because they were too small to be economic. Many of the pubs that were sold at this time were sold de-licenced. I asked Mr Bateman about this and it was for several reasons, the main ones being because if a pub was closed in a village they did not want another brewery coming along and competing with them. Some of the pubs they had bought from Steward & Patterson and Flowers had belonged to Soulbys of Alford and Soames of Spalding, who often had pubs in the same villages as Batemans. For example in New Bolingbroke after the purchase of these pubs Batemans had five in what is only a small community. So two of the pubs were closed without their licenses and with covenants preventing alcoholic drink being sold from them again. There is now only one pub left in this village.

One of the other reasons why houses were sold delicenced was to transfer full licences to beerhouses and those with only six-day licences. For example the Chequers Inn at Irby was sold delicenced and the licence was transferred to the Good Intent at Friskney which had a beer only licence. According to Mr Bateman much of the area they served was predominantly Methodist and even by the 1960s many of their pubs had only partial licences so some closures were carried out specifically to transfer full licence to a more profitable pub. It was not until after the war that the licensing magistrates began to change their attitudes towards drinking. They had not believed in 'perpendicular drinking' as they thought that a person who was standing up would drink more and therefore become intoxicated more quickly. In cases where no licence could be transferred, they had to try and convince the magistrates that a full licence was necessary. Occasionally it was done by applying for a wine licence first, as one or two ladies were accompanying their husbands to the pub and would not want to drink beer but would prefer a port and lemon or something similar. The only wines that a pub was likely to sell would have been port and sherry. They would then seek a full licence to sell spirits at a later date. Also a pub that sold wine and spirits had to have more than one room. Presumably a room where the ladies could go away from the workers who might be in their working clothes. This was probably the reason why we have bars and lounges in many pubs today (20).

Today the pub continues to be the main outlet for the brewery but they are expanding away from the traditional areas into areas where more profitable pubs can exist at the expense of some of the less profitable country pubs which are being sold. These new areas include Newark, Nottingham, Derby and London. They still have an extensive 'free trade' but this is carried on through wholesalers rather than clubs and they are also developing an export market, especially in the United States.



I thought it would make sense to look at the transport arrangements in a little more depth, because I think they show what really must be a typical pattern of transport development in most industries in the twentieth century.

From the beginning and well into this century, we do know that the brewery used a horse drawn dray. This, I would imagine, would be for the local deliveries both to pubs and private customers. Whether George did his own deliveries we do not know, but I am sure that he must have done at sometime, Mr Mowbray seems to remember Harry Bateman going round with the deliveries. The first reference to an actual drayman comes from Mrs Burnett who says that his name was John Smith. She says that she used to have to wait for him to come back from his rounds in the evenings, sometimes until nine o'clock, so that he could pay in his money and give in the next days orders. He would be out every day, no half days as nobody ever worked half day (21).

If we look at the local road pattern we can see that the earliest pubs were easily accessible. Most were within a relatively short distance of the brewery, but even so, they must have kept the drayman busy especially as he would also be visiting local farms.

However it is without doubt the railways that provided the main form of transport for the brewery in the early twentieth century. We do know from the letter books that they were being used extensively by this time. For example they must have been able to buy the Great Northern Hotel in Surfleet because of its link with the railway. We find examples of them using the railways for the delivery of small items such as single bottles of spirits or for sending samples to Russells. They also used them to bring in supplies of beers from the outside breweries such as Guinness, which they then bottled and re-sold. They also of course used them to bring in their raw materials. We find several letters dealing with losses and delays though to be fair much of this was in wartime.

One of Batemans fleet from the 1960s
One of Batemans fleet from the 1960s

The rail network in Lincolnshire as seen in the map below, shows to what extent Batemans must have used the railways when you see the places they were supplying by the end of 1918, particularly the clubs in the populated areas of Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. From the letter books it is obvious that landlords would either go to the local station themselves and pick up their beer or it would be delivered by a local carrier.

The brewery was of course situated very close to the railway station at Wainfleet which would have been very convenient for them. We do not know for how long after the war it was used quite so extensively, as the brewery was beginning to put together a fleet of motor lorries. Mrs Burnett refers to them getting their first lorry just after the war and this is confirmed in the letter books. For instance in a letter to the Shell Motor Spirit Co. in Spilsby, it says that they have "commenced to run motor lorries" (22). By July 1920 they had a Napier and were advertising for a driver for a Garford 30cwt lorry. A little later we get confirmation that they were running at least five lorries. They also bought a Ford 'Ton' truck for the Boston business, presumably Ridlingtons, at about the same time.

The total extent of Bateman's trading area in 1920 and its link with the rail network.
The total extent of Bateman's trading area in 1920 and its link with the rail network.

We also find that Harry Bateman sold his motorcycle at about the same time and bought himself a car, something else which Mrs Burnett refers to. He bought a Daimler from the Alford Motor Co. for £700 in a deal which also included a Buick van. Harry found the Daimler too big for his needs and later looked for a smaller car.

It seems that from the 1920s the lorry became the basis of their delivery service. I was told that during the summer months in the 1930s a local coal merchant loaned them a lorry and they in return loaned him one of theirs in the winter months (23). By the early 1950s they are running a fleet of six lorries, one of which was designed to carry the water tank, which was used to fetch the Bourne water from Wrangle. They also had two lorries in reserve for seasonal work, they were a 1931 Leyland Badger and a 1931 Leyland Beaver. The Company today still retains a fleet of lorries painted in the Companies distinctive red livery, to make its deliveries.

Table 1. Probable Tied Houses in 1917

Royal Oak Wainfleet Old Chequers Croft
Red Lion Wainfleet Ship Inn Toynton
Barkham Arms Wainfleet Bricklayers Arms Old Leake
Axe & Cleaver Wainfleet Sailors Home Old Leake
Three Horse Shoes Leverton Windmill Hotel Old Leake
Anchor Hotel Friskney Prince Albert Irby
Three Tuns Friskney White Lion Little Steeping
Bricklayers Arms Friskney Great Northern Hotel Surfleet
Good Intent Friskney Rising Sun Stickney
Barley Mow Friskney The Ship Ingoldmells
Shepherds Arms Wrangle The Nelson Spilsby

This list has been compiled from the letter books being those pubs that got regular letters about prices etc. and the Trade Bottling Account Book 1914-1917. The list is not necessarily complete and the brewery did not actually own all of them at this time. The following may also have belonged to the list.

Bell Hotel Burgh Manor Hotel Little Steeping
Duke of Welington Midville Pier Hotel Skegness
Kings Head Firsby Avenue Club Skegness
Railway Hotel Firsby Bull Hotel Spilsby
Duke of Wellington New Leake The Roebuck Lincoln
Monks Road Working Mens Club Lincoln
Liberal Club Lincoln
Union Club Lincoln
Constitutional Club Lincoln
The Mess Club Lincoln
Social And Democratic Club Lincoln
Working Mens Social Club New Brumby
Liberal Club Scunthorpe
British Working Mens Reform Club Scunthorpe
Iron & Steelworkers Club Scunthorpe
Constitutional Club Scunthorpe
St. Phillips Institute Scunthorpe
Working Mens Social Club Scunthorpe
United Servicemens Club Scunthorpe
Working Mens Social Club Ashby
Constitutional Club Ashby
Brigg Road Social Club Ashby
Ivy Leaf Club Crosby
Constitutional Club Grimsby
Central Club Grimsby
Workers Union Club Grimsby
Engineers Club Grimsby
Sailors & Soldiers Memorial Club Grimsby
Dockers Union Club Grimsby
Boilerworkers & Shipwrights Club Grimsby
Central Club Cleethorpes
G.C.R. Staff Dining Club Immingham Dock
P.R.H. Association Club Toft




Vaizey p 26


Vine Hotel - publicity booklet


Report in Lincolnshire Standard 22 June 1935


Application for the Grant of a Provisional Licence to the Spilsby Licensing Meeting 1933 in respect of the Jolly Fisherman


Parish Church of St Botolph


Lincolnshire Records Office, Chat 8 papers


Vaizey p 42


Report in Lincolnshire Standard 25 May 1970


Minutes of Board Meeting (hereafter Minutes) 4 June 1946


Report in Brewers Trade Review Dec 1953


Report in Lincolnshire Standard 29 May 1970


George Bateman 23 Aug 1990


LB 11 Sept 1918


Companies House, Memorandum of Agreement concerning the incorporation of G Bateman & Son Ltd


LB 24 Feb 1920


LB 27 Mar 1920


Minutes 29 Jan 1957


Minutes 28 Aug 1962


Minutes 31 Mar 1970


G.Bateman 23 Sept 1990


Mrs Burnett


LB 5 Mar 1920


G Bateman 23 July 1991

In the next edition Stephen ends his study of Batemans with a look at the brewery itself and the company's more recent history.

Copyright © 2004 the Brewery History Society