Saturday 17 December 2011

Old brewery monogram in Merthyr

Above: The Belle Vue, Merthyr Tydfil

Travelling through Merthyr Tydfil over the summer I came across this monogram on the pub wall of the Belle Vue pub on Glebeland Street, 

WWN did not ring any bells at first but I recently found this old photograph of the Belle Vue Hotel

and the name over the top is:
WW Nell & Co
Celebrated Ales Wines & Spirits

Okay so its clearly not the same building but the footprint is the same and the monogram on the rebuilt pub appears to refer to William Nell's brewery of Cardiff. It's rare enough to find any old surviving brewery insignia on pubs these days, let alone one that dates to before 1926, the year that Nell's were purchased by Crosswell's Brewery. Crosswell's ended up in the Rhymney Brewery and finally the Whitbread Brewery empires.

Nell's Brewery were based in Cardiff, next door to what is now the Owain Glyndwr pub but was previously known as The Buccaneer, The Tennis Courts Hotel, The Green Dragon, The Kemeys-Tynte Arms and the Mabley Arms in 1731. William Nell was originally from Ancoats, Manchester where he may have worked in a brewery. In 1846 he founded the Eagle Brewery, St Thomas' Square, Cardiff.

Above: the present-day Owain Glyndwr pub, the brewery was sited on the left hand side of the pub

In 1871 William Nell died and his son William Walter Nell took over, the WWN referred to in the photograph and monogram. In 1890 the business was registered as a limited company and was valued at £65,000.  
In 1898 the Abergarw Brewery at Aberamen, near Aberdare was taken over.
The 1920s were a difficult time for Nell's and in 1926 two of their directors died and they made a profit of only £1,361 from their 5 freehold and 7 leasehold pubs, hence the sale to Crosswells.

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