Drop the Anchor Brewery

Author: neil

By in Uncategorised 0

Un-fined Beer – viewed from another angle. by Trevor Noyes

Un-fined Beer – viewed from another angle


The controversy surrounding un-fined beer may have come full circle.  Some would say that the essential aspect of any drink is the “taste” and not the “view”.  So lets wind the clock back.


I collect mainly pewter tankards, but have a few examples of stoneware and glass, all marked for use in a licences premises, especially pubs.


Prior to 1900, beer or ale was sold in pewter, or stoneware “mugs”, glass did not appear for the pint market until breweries were able to reliably fine beer to allow it to be served clear – more later.


Stoneware came in a number of different styles, but essentially were in pint or quart measures.  Because of their fragility few survive, but a some examples are shown.  Left to right – Mochaware, the type  decorated by attractive “tree” inclusions [acid injected below the glaze], and this one marked by the pottery as Newcastle – transfer printed type of various scenes, sometimes inns and rural aspects marked as Bristol – plain coloured stoneware [yes some in pink – thought to be used for cider, not ladies !] marked as Bristol.


Beer at this time could well be cloudy and full of bits, but to the drinker it was the taste that was essential.


Pewter had been used for years as a reliable long lasting metal in which to serve beer, but was more expensive.  Many more different examples survive – my collection is over 100, dating from about 1820 to 1920, and an ideal way of understanding the beer trade.  Tankards were often marked with the pub name either on the front or under the base.  The landlords name or initials appeared on the front.  Many an hour can be spent tracing the pub and landlord, often associated with other social history – bankruptcy, inheritance or name changes.  Most of mine are from the London Kent or Surrey areas – more money available even then!  Left to right – about 1850 “soft” metal with high lead content, often dented appropriately on the base or sides – to make short measures even then! – 1870 more robust design with spout for subsequent decanting and higher tin content to help avoid “denting” – 1900 very robust easier to clean etc.  All are clearly marked with a quantity, from half gill to quart and measuring authority, e.g. stamp {V – orb – R 2 all crowned} – London City 1879 onwards.  It was not until the 1824 Weights and Measures Act that quantities were standardised as the “Imperial Measure” we know today.  However, it took until the 1879 Act for a standard marking system to be made law.  Even then there were “head” arguments, but all subsequent measures were to the rim – no head allowed !!!


Around 1900, beer could be reliably fined and so one view is that major breweries marketed this new beer in glass to best effect.  I keep my Watney’s Red Barrel, Flowers Keg and Double Diamond dimpled examples, all marked – 1966 478 – Ravenhead Glass, hidden !!


So full circle ? Do we close our eyes when served un-fined beer and enjoy the taste, or take a pewter certified measure with us !  Anyway un-fined beer will clear eventually – e.g. bottle conditioned, or it will add another distinct flavour to the multitude of others from hops and malt, with the additional yeast palette.


Trevor Noyes

By in Uncategorised 0

The history behind the names

Silent Stones

Silent Stones: A marker, A Kings Throne, The hill  where people came to swear oaths, settle disputes and receive court judgements.

Perhaps the most mysterious site in the Bournemouth-Christchurch area is the site known as St Catherine’s Hill. Few today know why it is so named: after a chapel that once stood there, built sometime back when the church was the major local landowner, with its administrative centre Christchurch Priory.

Off the tourist track, this 35-hectare hill Christchurch, the lower Avon Valley and the New Forest to the east and, to the west, what is now Bournemouth. Today it is a Town Common Nature Reserve, a place where local people go to exercise their dogs or horses, or just have a pleasant walk along the bridleways and footpaths that criss-cross the hill through its heather and birch and conifer woodland cover.

However, it remains a slightly strange place, its pre-20th C. history largely unknown. Although only 45 metres high, its steepness, fortunately, has precluded normal industrial or residential development. The only modern additions are a pair of microwave towers and two concrete monstrosities – water reservoirs painted with graffiti of werewolves etc. However, there remains no sign of any ancient native Neolithic, Bronze or Iron Age hillfort atop what would have been a natural stronghold. There is a set of low earthworks in one area – the Council website says, “Bronze age settlers and Iron Age farmers may have built the enclosure just to the south west of the radio mast.” In addition, nearby are the banks of a Roman fort believed to have held a small garrison operating a two-way signal station? The Council website also says the hill “has most likely been used as a look-out and beacon since prehistoric times.” This is probably because it is the highest ground for miles, and because beacons were put there in Tudor and Napoleonic times.

Yet there is a defensive ditch that could hold the populace and their herds in time of attack encircled no evidence that in pre-Roman times it. (Maiden Castle hillfort for example could hold an estimated 4,000 people.) This is despite the facts the steep-sided 160-foot high hill would have been easier to defend than many places that did have hillforts, stood at a strategic spot than most, and was almost the only sizable hill in the area. It commanded a view of the area just inland of Hengistbury Head and Christchurch Harbour, which archaeologist Prof Sir Barry Cunliffe has argued was Britain’s busiest Iron Age port, the path and river route inland leading north up the River Avon to the interior of Wessex. The ancient route passed Stonehenge, which had an avenue leading to the Avon near the spot where Amesbury Abbey was later built, and may well date back to the days when Stonehenge was in use. All we know about the hill’s human usage pre-1900 is from a few archaeological notes, a couple of references in church records, and a much-cited local legend. The evidence of this could be interpreted to mean that it was not fortified as a military site as it was a sacred one.


Tucktonia: was a late 1970s theme park located on Stour Road, Christchurch, Dorset, England. Arthur Askey officially opened it on 23 May 1976. It originally occupied 4 acres of the 21-acre Tuckton Park Leisure Complex. The park was closed down in 1986.

The park was best known for its large model village layout, which included a representation of London.The 7.25-inch narrow gauge ride-on steam train and some additional fixtures and fittings, were moved to the Moors Valley Railway in the Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood, Hampshire.

It is rumoured that just prior to the closure of the park, the owners wanted to build a roller coaster at the rear of the site, but were refused permission by the local council. Following the refusal, the park closed shortly afterwards.

Bekonscot Model Village in Buckinghamshire provided much inspiration for the designers, one of whom had his office near Bekonscot and was a frequent visitor. KLF Ltd, who later went on to design similar models at Brittania Park (known as “The American Adventure” theme park by the time of its demise in 2006, built the bulk of the models. Tucktonia was the brainchild of former double British Formula 3 champion Harry Stiller who in 2006 still lived in the area.

The entire model village was believed destroyed when the park closed. However one model survives… this being Buckingham Palace, which was acquired, restored and put on display at the Wimborne Model Town, Wimborne Minster in 2002, and moved to Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth in 2006.

There are numerous unsubstantiated rumours that the models were not destroyed after the closure of the park – the main one being that they were instead placed into storage within a barn where they remained until 2001, when the building burnt down.

BBC Television’s Multi-Coloured Swap Shop show broadcast live from the park on one occasion.

The park’s model London was used extensively in the obscure 1976 King Kong spoof Queen Kong.

 The Priest Hole

 The Priests Hole: Ye Olde George Inn, Castle Street, Christchurch, Dorset, U.K

Some years ago, a priest hole was found during renovation, and inside was a torn, old-fashioned shirt along with shoes and a heap of bones. Licensees over the years have seen plates slowly turning on tables and one particular Victorian print keeps crashing off the wall.

Wine bottles that have been put on separate tables soon finish up gathered together on one table. In addition, it is said a grey lady walks the premises

This 14th century coaching inn in Castle Street boasts an eventful past that includes a priest hole used during Henry VIII’s reformation and access to medieval tunnels that run from the pub to the castle. It was also the scene of a fateful love story played out against the turbulent background of the English Civil War when the alehouse was a popular watering hole for Royalist soldiers.

Margaret Moore, the daughter of the inn’s landlord, fell in love with a Royalist soldier called Rupert. He was performing his duties as a soldier under Lord Goring whilst the Royalists held Christchurch Castle. In 1644 as the castle was being besieged, Lord Goring retreated but Margaret and Rupert were able to use the secret tunnel between the pub and the castle to continue their love affair.

Margaret fell pregnant by Rupert, much to the disgust of her father Henry, a staunch Parliamentary supporter. Unwilling to taint the family name, he bricked up his daughter and grandson in the cheese pantry leaving them to starve to death. It is said that, in the dead of night, you can hear a new born child crying in the darkness and Margaret scratching at the bricks in an attempt to get out.

Fusee Chain

 Fusee Chain: In the 15th Century a horologist invented a wheel (know as a fusee) – that could be used in small time pieces to keep accurate time.

These tiny chains were mass-produced in Christchurch. The industry started in Christchurch around 1784 by Robert Harvey Cox.

Tools required to make the chain links were punches, dies, miniature anvils and hammers, plus a variety of shaping files. It was precise skill to make the chains. Both the dies and links were so small as to be almost invisible to the naked eye. Fusee chains varied in size from 12.5cm to 25cm and some could be threaded through the eye of a sewing needle.

The bulk of the labour force in Christchurch consisted of young girls, many of which were also inmates of the Christchurch Workhouse, now the Red House Museum.

There were three major workshops for Fusee chain making in Christchurch:

  • Cox’s (Robert Harvey Cox) 1784*-1870s
  • Jenkins’ (Henry Jenkins & Sons) 1823-1914
  • Hart’s (William Hart) 1845-1899

It was also a major cottage industry for the town during this period. Many women worked at home, near a window, making chains for the factories.









By in Uncategorised 0

The Galley

By in Brewing Fit Out 209

Beer Needs Electricity!

Tonight we ran the three-phase electricity which will power the kettle. A little over a month until we plan to open, the brewery is starting to come together. We’re looking forward to welcoming you all!


By in Microbrewery 0

Exciting Announcement – Brewery Kit Ready To Ship!

This week marks another landmark for Drop The Anchor Brewery. We were really excited to receive an email that our brewing kit is ready to ship! After checking out a number of options we decided to choose Latimer Ales (http://latimerales.com/), a British brewery come manufacturer of excellent brewing kit, to supply our complete system.

microbrewery kit

We’re still another week away from the venue being ready for us to arrange shipment. Fitting out of the brewery should start in a week or two’s time, in time for our launch, which is planned for March.

Do You Fancy Sampling Our Beers For Free?

Our first brews will be ready towards the end of February, and we’re looking for volunteers to taste it free of charge to provide us with some feedback. If you’d like a few free beers make sure you sign up to our mailing list and like and share the Facebook page. We’ll be selecting the tasting panel from our list of followers and fans. (https://www.facebook.com/DroptheAnchorBrewery.



By in Microbrewery 0

Our Story – From Kitchen to Microbrewery

There’s no way of dressing it up, when you hit your 40’s you start to reflect on where you are in life. Half way between your carefree 20’s and looming retirement you wonder what the hell you’ve been up to the last 20 years.

Having spent the best part of this time in IT, I was looking for something more fulfilling, something fun to get my teeth into. The prospect of spending my entire live in front of computer terminal was a little bit daunting, to say the least.


From kitchen to microbrewery

It would be fair to say that I had talked about setting something up a few times, but not really got off my backside to do anything about it.

I  made the decision that I would set up a microbrewery, something really local, in Christchurch, for Christchurch, beer the way it used to memade. It would be fun, hard work, but definitely fun.

My blog ‘From Kitchen to Microbrewery’ is my story, warts and all. It’ll detail my steep learning curve, everything I experience along the way. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do, and I would love to hear your thoughts and any suggestions.