Gallery: Kindred Spirits raises glass to Ipswich’s brewing history

The copper room at Cliff Brewery in 1978. (Photograph by Paul Nixon/Archant)

The copper room at Cliff Brewery in 1978. (Photograph by Paul Nixon/Archant)

The name Cobbold is interwoven with the history of Ipswich. Banking, brewing and connections with Ipswich Town Football Club sees the name linked to generations of history.

Can you add names to these drinkers at the Belstead Arms, Radcliff Drive, Ipswich in March 1974. The

Can you add names to these drinkers at the Belstead Arms, Radcliff Drive, Ipswich in March 1974. The Belstead Arms, which has recently been refurbished, was opened in 1963 by Lord Belstead. (Photo by Jerry Turner/Archant)

This week David Kindre, has found archive photographs of one of Ipswich’s breweries where hundreds once worked.

The former Tolly Cobbold Brewery at Cliff Quay stands mostly closed and awaiting redevelopment. The Cobbold brewery was founded at Harwich in 1723 by Thomas Cobbold. He had problems with the water supply in Harwich, which was brackish. He first overcame this problem by importing water from a spring at the Holywells Estate in Ipswich, which the family had owned since 1689.

Tanks of water of were sailed down the River Orwell on specially constructed vessels which returned with beer. In 1746 brewing started in Ipswich to be close to the water supply from Holywells, on the site now known as Cliff Quay.The Harwich brewery continued until 1876.

In 1957 Cobbold and Company merged with Tollemache Breweries Ltd who had a site in the town centre between Tacket Street and Carr Street, which is now a car park. The Tollemache Brewery closed in 1961.


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The Ellerman Shipping group took over the Cliff Brewery in 1977, it was sold to the Barclay Brothers in 1983. Brent Walker took over and closed the brewery in 1989.

A management buy out saved the Cliff Brewery in 1990 and brewing started again. The main brewery closed in 2002. Did you work at the Cliff Quay Brewery?

Do you have any photographs of the Tollemache brewery? E-mail David and share your memories and photos.

See more from Kindred Spirits here

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