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Leney & Son - Phoenix Brewery Wateringbury



Mark writes :-

"During renovation of our house (we only moved in last week), we uncovered a beer bottle under the floorboards...please see attached pics.  We were intrigued to know roughly which year it was from (if you or your blog followers knew)?"

Can we help?






Dail has kindly responded as follows:-

I think we can safely say that Mark's green bottle, embossed with the name 'Frederick Leney & Sons Ltd., Wateringbury', is definitely pre 1935, since it is known that from at least that date Leney's beers were produced in half pint, one pint, and quart brown bottles all  with a paper label.
Following my notes on green bottles, below, I have given a brief summary regarding the Phoenix Brewery and the change of the business name over the years. You will notice that the name 'Frederick Leney & Sons Ltd.', which corresponds with the embossed name on Mark's bottle, was used from 1895 up until about 1960.  We know that Mark’s bottle is no later than 1935, for the reasons given above which suggests a date somewhere between 1895 and 1935 at the very latest.

Hope this is helpful,
Regards,
Dail W.

Green Bottles
There are a couple of similar stories surrounding the invention of bottled beer, but perhaps the most well known is credited to Dr. Alexander Nowell, a 16th century Dean of St. Pauls. In 1568, Dr. Nowell, a keen angler, decanted some home-brewed ale into a bottle to take on a fishing trip. On his return home, he remembered that he had left the unopened bottle in the grass on the river bank. A few days later he went back to retrieve the bottle, and to his surprise he discovered that the cork came away with a loud bang, but the taste and quality of the contents were still very good.
Beer bottles were often green in colour until the 1930s when it was discovered that brown glass bottles filtered out more light, which prevented the beer from going 'skunky'.  This is a term used to describe the bad flavour and smell of beer which has been exposed to light and its chemical makeup adversely affected.

Phoenix Brewery
Charles Leney first acquired the lease of Wardens Hill Brewery on Bow Road early in 1838, at which time it became known as Phoenix Brewery and the business traded in the name Charles Leney.
In 1847, Charles' younger brother Frederick moved to the village and joined him in the business, which then became known as Messrs Leney, or sometimes Messrs Charles & Frederick Leney.
After 21 years, in 1859,  Charles Leney left the business, later leaving the village in 1861. His brother Frederick remained in the village  and continued to run the business which simply became known as Frederick Leney.
Around the summer of 1864, Frederick was joined by his eldest son Charles, from which time the firm traded in the name Frederick Leney & Son, then F Leney & Son from the end of 1870. Frederick's second son Augustus joined the firm in about June 1873 when it then became known as Leney & Sons.
Frederick Leney died on 26th May 1881, leaving four sons and four daughters.
It was Frederick's second son Augustus who was the strength behind the expansion of the business, which was finally registered as Frederick Leney & Sons Ltd. in the spring of 1895. {This is this name on Mark’s bottle.}

By the mid-1920s, there were no members of the Leney family actively associated with the company, and in 1927 Frederick Leney & Sons Ltd. was acquired by London Brewers Whitbread & Co., though the Leney name was retained until about 1960.