Free Butt

Photo:Photograph shows Free Butt pub and Tamplin's brewery, Albion Street

Photograph shows Free Butt pub and Tamplin's brewery, Albion Street

Photo taken by Martin Nimmo, circa 1968

Tamplin's Brewery

by Martin Nimmo

It's difficult to tie Brighton's own brewers, Tamplin's, down to one place, though the brewery was on Albion Street and there was a pub at the entrance, called "The Free Butt".

Brewed in various parts of Brighton
Tamplin's also had other parts of the manufacturing process around Brighton, notably The Maltings, on the corner of Eastern Road and Sutherland Road - now incorporated in Brighton College. Tamplin's were ubiquitous in the area, with a large number of tied houses, served by a fleet of blue brewery lorries, its ales advertised on the exteriors of the local buses and frequently on the back of the Corporation's bus tickets. It was initially taken over by Watneys, then subsumed in one of the great conglomerates of today.

Photo taken by Martin Nimmo, circa 1968
Sent to site by e-mail 21-01-03
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
My Uncle Bill was a driver for Tamplins Brewery, or Tamps, as it was known. Many of the lorries were Scammells, and to the best of my recollection the livery was maroon. The blue ones were Kemp Town. There were Tamplins 'houses' all over Sussex. Bill Brown was with Tamplins for a number of years, earning safe driver medals from 1934 to 1943, which I have in my possession. He later became tenant landlord of The Newmarket Inn at Ashcombe near Lewes, now sadly gone and replaced by a Little Chef.
By Rita Denman (24/05/2003)
Thank you for the livery details of Tamplins and Kemptown, I assume the latter was dark blue. This information is important to me as I collect models of Brewery lorries. If you find any photographs of the drays would you please consider selling them to me. Thank you.
By Dave Smith (28/09/2003)
Thank you for your story on Tamplins. Does anyone have any photos or information on 29 Hanover Street, Brighton, when it was a pub called 'Duke of Edinburgh'? My father grew up there and would like to know more. It was in the Pikes directory run by J. Westgate. Can anyone help?
By Karen Smith (16/12/2003)
An aunt of mine worked at Tamplin's brewery at the bottom of Albion Hill when she was a girl - in about 1930 I imagine. Her job was to sniff beer-bottles returned for re-use. The sniffing was necessary, so I was told, because a bottle that had been used for holding Jeyes Fluid could not be re-used even after washing, as the smell would not go.
By Peter Field (11/01/2005)
My grandfather started an apprenticeship as a brewer's cooper in 1882 at Tamplin & Son. It was known then as Phoenix Brewery at Lewis Road. I have a letter sent to my great-grandfather outlining the arrangement.
By Charles Bodle (06/07/2006)

My aunt, Mrs Gladys Hawkes (nee Cook) worked at Tamplins brewey from 1941. I don't know when she left, but in 1966 she received a silver mug in recognition of 25 years of service.

By Eric Cook (11/12/2006)

Many years ago the Royal George at Hurst Green displayed an oval Tamplins Ales sign. The story was that the landlord's name was Tripp and that he did just that down the stairs and broke his neck. At his funeral villagers sent him flowers and the hotel became owned by Flowers.

By Valentine (22/01/2007)

There is no mention here of Tamplins Cannon Brewery at the bottom of Artillery Street. As a 10 year old in the early 1940s, us kids used to watch the bottles being cleaned as the machine was close to the entrance. At the front entrance, up on the roof was a golden cannon.

By Viv Webb (15/02/2007)

Thank you for this wonderful photo and information. The brewery belonged to my daughter's boyfriend's 5 x great grandfather Richard Tamplin when it was first founded.

By Lou Newby (31/05/2007)

My dad, Fred Hall, worked at Tamplins brewery for about ten years after the war, and mum worked there for a while too, that's how they met, We lived at 37 Hanover Terrace until 1980 , he then worked at Allen West. I can remember when the council wanted to tarmac our road and we kids were sent off to Tamplins to ask the men to move their cars, we ran amongst all the machinery hollering.

By Val Harber(Nee Hall) (02/09/2007)

I live in Newcastle upon Tyne and a number of years ago bought a wooden crate with a lid from a junk shop in Alnwick Northumberland - it's a lovely old crate with Tamplins & Sons Brewery Brighton Ltd. Just today I decided to look up if the brewery still existed - so was interested to find this site - I wonder how it got so far up north!

By Yvonne McAndrew (03/06/2008)

My father, Geoff Wright, worked for Tamplins from around 1956 to 1967 when, as part of the Watney Mann group, he transferred to Wilson's Brewery in Manchester. I used to go with him to the brewery quite a lot and even remember seeing real coopers at work in the brewery yard. The fleet of drays was not maroon as stated above. They were mainly cream with a maroon piping and lettering. I remember that they were always immaculate and polished like fire engines. In the 1960s they would have the Watney's Red Barrel fitted to the cab roof. Other vehicles that could be seen at the brewery included the mid green Watney lorries that would come down from London. They sported gold lettering and again, the trademark Red Barrel. The larger tankers actually carried a tank that appeared to be made of wood - like a large wooden barrel. All again highly polished and clean. There was a lot of pride in being members of the brewery. I saw this at first hand in the 1970s when Watney Mann staff carried out a hard fought, but ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to prevent the hostile take over of the brewery by Grand Metropolitan (now merged with Guinness to form Diageo). Needless to say there was no less a sense of belonging amongst the staff at the Wilsons Brewery in Newton Heath, Manchester - the original home of Europe's finest football club !

By Peter Wright (26/08/2008)

My great, great grandfather, Amos Heneage Markwick was a drayman, I believe at the Phoenix Brewery, does anyone know if there is a staff list. He lived just up the road from the Brewery at Magdelain Place so I would think this must have been the brewery he worked at.

By Brenda Howlett (05/10/2008)

My father is a Tamplin (Richard Owen Tamplin Sr.).  Is the pub still in operation?

By Connie Coffman (12/11/2008)

Connie, Yep still open.  But now also a music venue.

By Christopher Tuft (12/12/2008)

Hi I am a Tamplin, I was wondering if there is any sort of family tree going and any information on the family? My fathers name was George Cyril Tamplin.

By Julie Tamplin (02/01/2009)

I have a picture of my great-grandmother standing outside The Good Intent circa 1926, which I believe is the same pub that is pictured above. My great-grandmother was Harriett Burtenshaw and she and her husband Richard ran the pub at that time. My mother still remembers visiting my great grandmother at this location when she was a child in the 1930s. I would love to get in touch with anybody else who has information regarding this.

By Dawn Driscoll (14/09/2009)

I also worked at Tamplins as a tun basher which means that you have to get into the tun after it was emptied and wash the old yeast out and then use sand and wire wool to scrub the tun until it shined. I worked along side of Johnny Walters and Brian Newman and a good friend of mine who has sadly passed away called Dennis, or as we called him, Winkle. There was a foreman called Stan Gumble and the bosses name was Mister Goph. What a lot of characters there were working there at my time with Tamplins. Old Leaney who was always walking around with a fag in his mouth, Charlie and his mate in the yeast room and Jock Sims in the boiler house, which is where I finished up working as a position called third hand which meant learning all the diffrent jobs so as to be able to relieve people when they went on holiday. If anyone knows of any of these people let me know. off sick?

By george watkins. otherwise known as duffy (11/10/2009)

Hi I am a Tamplin. I was born in Newport, South Wales and I am trying to find my family.

By Tracy Tamplin (08/11/2009)

To George Watkins: Can you recall 'Old Leaney's' first name or where he lived. My ancestors lived in the area and I think I must be related.

By Ashley Leaney (31/12/2009)

Today, while at work, I found a collection of Tamplins bottle openers, seven in total. They are a bit rusty but I  have successfully cleaned and polished one so far. Does anyone know if they have any value?

By Dave Bennett (13/03/2010)

Whilst metal detecting recently I found a token - silver one side copper the other. On the silver side going round the edge it says Thomas Roff Tamplin Brighton, in the midle it says 22 New Road 1825. On the reverse copper side around the token it says Woolens Draper & Clothier, in the middle an engraving of what looks to be the Royal Pavillion. Can anybody shed any light on what it may be? Thanks in advance.

By Peter Abbott (22/03/2010)

I worked as a driver at Tamplins (Watneys) from Aug 1957 till Nov 1971. I have some lovely memories of my time there. Hi Eric, I remember your Aunty Gladys, she was the wife of Fred Hawkes who was the mate to George Priest. Their BMC truck was no 46.

By Eddie Patrick (25/03/2010)

Eddie Patrick, now there is a name from the past. Are you still in Adelaide, with Bob Driver another Tamps driver? That is where I last saw you, and you were telling me about how you still wrote to Albert Coates. Other names that come to mind are Arthur Nevitt, George Trower, Henry Blake, Cocker Dick Russel, Coco Tee and his son, and Bill Frost and Harry Mason. Then there was your "offsider" Terry. Hope all is well

By John Davis (25/04/2010)

I have a photo of my Great Grandfather William Baldwin in the doorway of "The True Blue" pub in Brighton. He must have been the proprietor as his name is printed over the door. The front of the pub also has " Tamplin & Sons Brewery Brighton Ltd" sign printed along the front. Does anyone know where this pub was?

By Sally Lambert (23/09/2010)

Hi Eddie. I just found your reply. Unfortunately I haven't been back to this section for a while. I see from the reply from John Davis that you lived in Adelaide. I lived there for quite a while. I now live on the mid north coast of NSW. Anyway, if you see this I can give you an email address. I'd love to have a chat.

By Eric Cook (11/03/2011)

I loved every bit of it; would like to know more. They say that all the Tamplins are belonging! Is it true?

By Wayne Tamplin (06/09/2011)

The memory may be a little foggy, but just along from this pub were little cottages. I recall visiting a friend of my mothers there. This has to have been the mid fifties. My mums friend was named Effy Hall! Years later I realized this because every other word was F! Lovely lady as I recall, a neat little cottage,fascinating to me a small child of about seven or eight.Mum told us to just forget what we hear, as she was a good friend! Are the cottages there?

By Jennifer Tonks (07/09/2011)

The rear of the ugly blue 1960s Phoenx building backs on to Phoenix Place. I'm not sure what was there before it in the 1950s, perhaps small cottages? However adjacent and still in Phoenix Place, just along from the Freebutt are some very small cottages. In the late 1970s I lived just up the hill in Scotland Street, and walked through Phoenix Place every day on my way to work. I was always fascinated by these very small cottages, which are still there today! The one on the far right, must be the smallest/narrowest cottage in the whole of Brighton, unless anyone knows differently? This should stir up some debate!!

By Peter Groves (08/09/2011)

Hi Peter. These may well be the cottages I recall! I do believe it was along the same area as the pub. Thank you. Imagine being hypnotized? Wow! What memories we would retrieve (hopefully). I have a great many, tiny little memories of a Brighton childhood. From time to time on here, my memory is triggered. Sadly I cannot always be accurate, but great people on here step in to either clarify, or lead me to investigate, through family, the authenticity of my memories. Great site, great people. Thank you.

By Jennifer Tonks (11/09/2011)

My friend's dad used to be foreman at the old Tamplins Brewery by the Free Butt, this was in the late 60s and I remember they used to have a very useful Sunday morning football team. We used to go to most of the matches around Brighton and I think they were in Division 6 or 7 which was pretty good considering there were 14. The matches could get a bit physical as the Tamplins team were quite big blokes considering they used to spend the week lifting barrels of beer. Some of the tackles wouldn't have been allowed in the Premiership but they could still play a good game at that level. I was around 13 at the time and quite often in the changing room after the game my mate's Dad used to craftily hand me a small bottle of either brown or light ale, it didn't happen every time but it was quite a treat when it did. I remember those fabulous lorries they had and the sound of the engine when they were accelerating up Southover Street.

By Paul Clarkson (16/03/2012)

Some lovely stories on this page, really enjoyed reading. My Grandad Derek Livermore, nickname Percy Livermore, used to be a drayman for Watneys which then became Phoenix brewery. I wonder if anybody would remember him, he often told us tales of work adventures, but I was only a nipper so dont remember much!

By Helen Wrapson (27/04/2012)

My grandmother used to work at the Tamplins bottling plant in Artillery Street where she was the forewoman. Her name was Edith Taylor and she lived in Blucher Place, on the carpark. She retired in 1960 and was the last person to leave the street before it was demolished, to make way for the first Churchill Square. It would be nice if somebody remembered her.

By Peter Maurice (23/05/2012)

I have just acquired a watercolour signed "R.E Kirkbright 1941" which I think shows an old Tamplins pub (in Brighton?). The signs on the front of the pub say "Tamplins United Service" and although there is a pub sign hanging from the building I can't make out what it says. The pub is on a corner and on what appears to be quite a steep hill. Next door is a small shop with the name "A.H Bristow" above the window. Can anybody help me identify these buildings?

By Stuart Cropper (07/06/2012)

Hi Stuart, the name of the pub was the "United Service" and it was at 100, Elm Grove - next door to A.H.Bristow at number 98. Regards

By Andy Grant (09/06/2012)

Thanks Andy. I have since posted a picture of my watercolour on another part of the site if you would like to have a look at it. Stuart Cropper

By Stuart Cropper (16/06/2012)

Hi, I remember Tamplins used to hold a Christmas party for the families of the workers. My father used to work there -Ivan or Iky Holmes. I remember that he came home with a kitten from there. We named it Mittens, it used to sit on the chair under the table and swot us as we walked past.

By Marina (10/08/2012)

Wow, this is really interesting stuff. I worked at the now, sadly, closed Free Butt through 2008 and never knew the history. The pub/venue got shut down due to noise complaints from the houses built next to it. It was supposed to reopen but never did. It was such a special place and is much missed by a lot of people.

By Nikki Acott (19/08/2012)

My father owned the Free Butt in the '30s. I used to watch the beer tankers leave the brewery from the side window. I am now 86 and am hoping to visit the Free Butt to see how the place has changed. My grand father had a pub in Kemptown - I think it was in Michael St but I cannot find it on the maps.

By Richard Morris (04/02/2013)

I attended Brighton Technical College on Richmond Terrace from the mid 1960s until 1970, and well remember the smell from the brewery on summer days when we had the windows open. The hoppy, all-pervading aroma wasn't particularly pleasant, although we always managed to put up with it by thinking of the end product. We suffered so that others might enjoy themselves.

By Alan Phillips (05/02/2013)

Richard Morris: Could Michael St actually be Mighell St? Not in Kemp Town but running north off Edward St, now largely under American Express. There are various local pronunciations of the name Mighell [usually Myall] but my mother who lived as a girl almost opposite at 145 Edward St, always called it 'Mee-ghell'

By Geoffrey Mead (05/02/2013)

Geoff Mead: Thanks so much, I'm sure you are right, I think the pub was called 'The Black Lion', but not sure. I remember there was a foundry type place behind it; they made horse shoes and stuff.  The pub was not Tamplins but I think Kemptown Brewery. Thanks again.

By Richard Morris (09/02/2013)

Picture of Black Lion pub, Mighell Street on James Grey collection web site, volume 24, picture 69.

By Lee Ambler (22/03/2013)

My great uncle, W. T. F Sylvester was Chairman & Managing Director of Tamplins, certainly in the late 1940s until 1953 when the brewery was acquired by Watney Combe Reid of London. I also worked at the brewery in the Tied Trade Dept in the early 1970s calling at the tenanted pubs in Sussex. Whilst the brewery by this time was well under the Watney Mann banner, it operated as Tamplins and still brewed the wonderful "Sussex Bitter". After a small break, I also worked there assisting with control of the managed pubs under the "St.George's Taverns" and later "Albion Taverns" banner. In 1979 I left the then Grand Metropolitan controlled company and joined Fremlins Brewery in Maidstone, then under the Whitbread umbrella - there's another story of a brewery's change and decline!

By Stuart Sylvester (22/04/2013)

My father, Burt Hutson worked for Tamplins in 1943 till 1945. In that time, he used one of the first electric vans; the driver was Bill Rolfe (from a famous Brighton fishing family). He was called up to the Royal Signals for his National Service, spending 3 years in Germany. When he was demobbed he carried on working for Tamplins from 1947 till 1948. Just in that little time working for them he has some fond memories.

By Burt Hutson (30/04/2013)

Peter Maurice: I lived at the bottom of Artillery Street; my dad, Frank Collins, worked in the brewery. I believe my mum knew your mum as I remember the name Edie Taylor.

By Margaret Hammond (01/05/2013)

I am glad that somebody remembered my grandmother, so thanks for that Margaret. The name Frank Collins rings a bell, also have you got a brother called Codgie who I used to see on my way to work in Elm Grove a few years ago? We would have a chat and he lived in a hilly street, maybe Down Terrace or Pankhurst Avenue.

By Peter Maurice (13/05/2013)

Yes, Peter, that's right. You might also remember Paul Palmer, I think everyone in the area knew him, a very funny boy back then.

By Margaret Hammond (15/05/2013)

I used to work at Tamplins bottling in Brighton from 1966 until 1968. Love to hear from anyone who worked there then. I see they knocked the place down, as they were going to. Very sad.

By John Bivard (16/07/2013)

So interesting reading all these comments. Thank you. My Grandfather William T Davis also worked for Tamplins but I believe he used to look after the horses as he was a Saddler and spent WW1 in The Royal Horse Artillery so he knew horses inside out. He lived first in Blucher Place then moved to Blackman St but I recollect my Mum saying how he would take his girls (4 of them) up to visit the dray horses, he had a favourite he named "Baby" and would often call to my Grandmother," Won't be long, just going to see Baby".

By Karen Bryant (09/08/2013)

I have just been reading some of the wonderful comments on this site. Margaret - the Paul Palmer you spoke about I think was my cousin, he lived at 8 Artillery Street. Hi to Eric Cook. It has been a while since I was on this site.  I have moved to Wallaroo, South Australia.
Email address     brened63@bigpond.com

By Eddie Patrick (17/09/2014)

Hi Eddie, must admit I wish we had stayed in Aus. Do you know if Bob Driver stayed in Adelaide? Hope you and yours are happy and healthy. Yours, John Davis.

By John Davis (19/10/2014)

I have to agree with Peter Wright's recollection of the livery of the tanker units that were coupled to the Scammell Scarabs of Tamplin's brewery. As a young boy I too remember them as cream with the Tamplin name in bold letters along the sides and, yes, they were always shiny and immaculate. I think the lettering was in burgundy and possibly the Scammell Scarab tractor units were also in burgundy.

By C. West (12/12/2014)

Hi my grandad Sid Morris was the landlord of the Three Butt in the 1930s. My dad used to watch from the upstairs window the workers and lorries going in and out of the Tamplins brewery.

By Glen Morris (26/07/2015)

Just correcting a comment I posted yesterday the 25 July regarding my grandparents running the free butt inn next door to Tamplin's Brewery. I said it was Sid Morris but in fact it was Cecil  and they called him Jim, and he managed the pub with his wife Edna.

By Glen Morris (26/07/2015)

Hello, I was wondering if someone is able to estimate a value on an old vintage guilded glass sign that has Tamplin's Ale signature? It's done in an Art Nouveau style. I found it in an old demolished building. If I can send a picture of it that may help but how do I do that. Thank you, da Sign Guy. [Hello. If you go to the homepage there is a link to a video tutorial on contributing to the website. This should include how to upload a photo]

By Sign Guy (09/07/2016)

Hi there. My name is John and I worked at Tamplins "bottling" plant in Russell Place. I was from Australia and spent two fantastic years from 1966 until 1968. I would love to contact anyone who also worked there until it closed and moved to the Phoenix.

By John Bivard (28/11/2016)

Hi this is a message for Peter Wright. I've just recently looked at this page and noticed your comment regarding your father Geoff who worked at Tamplins 1956/67. I used to live at 19 Newhaven Street up till 1959. I was wondering if you may have heard a story from your dad regarding a little girl climbing onto the roof of the brewery and putting her leg through the skylight? That girl was my sister Barbara. We moved to Middlesex around 1959. Might anyone else know the story? Or if anyone remembers the Roffey family from Newhaven Street? Many thanks.

By Brian Burton/new Roffey (24/01/2017)

My grandfather was the landlord of the Free Butt inn in the 1900s.

By John Grover (05/03/2017)

My great-uncle, Harry Clarke (1888-1947), worked at the Tamplins Brewery in Albion Street. He lived at 29, Albion Street at least in 1917 and 1934.

By Mark Askew (10/11/2017)

My Dad, Albert (Bert) Peters, worked for Tamplin's Brewery for 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1970s. In the latter years, he worked at the wine and spirit location in Lewes Road. My Uncle Frank Peters also worked for Tamplin's and his family lived at 33, Albion Street from 1936 until it was demolished when his family were re-housed in the new tower block in Ashton Rise. I can remember the wonderful Christmas parties, the smell of the hops and I have two pine chairs which were once in the Tamplins' Boardroom. 

By Jill Peters (13/11/2017)

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