This huge brewery was in operation from 1936 to 2005, to be finally delocalized to Dublin. Only the marketing department remains in London in an ultra-modern building nearby.
Built by the famous English architect Giles Gilbert Scott, author of -among others- the famous Battersea Power Station, this brewery is organized into massive buildings linked between each others by aerial bridges.
The succession of the buildings follow the production process.
Malt & hop store, brewery, fermentation house, then vathouse and kegging plant and finally bottling plant.
The site even had its own power station, incredibly beautiful site completely untouched.
But also we managed to explore: labs, silos, rooftops, demolition machines, offices, radio room, hair salon... A king-size urban exploration in an incredible place, protected from vandalism...
I joined Guinness at Park Royal Brewery at the tender age of 17 in 1969. I was accepted in the Secretarial Training Scheme in April. Guinness told me I would be attending Hammersmith College in the following September for one college year to learn secretarial skills i.e. Shorthand , typing , secretarial duties and also to take extra O levels in economics, accounts and office practice. My first job and I was being paid to go to college by a fantastic caring employer. I loved working for Guinness. The training scheme girls were in reality a temping agency within the brewery covering for staff holidays, sickness etc. In all departments. Wonderful experience. Benefits inlude free meals, a great social club, sports facilities help with mortgages , free allocation of Guinness or Harp lager on special occasions i.e. Birthdays etc and a profit sharing scheme which was paid out to me 6 months after I left. The irony is my final job was in Planning where investigations were being made as to the viability of closing St James Gate Brewery in Dublin. No mention of closing Park Royal in the early 1970's. Wonderful employer who really cared for their staff. I was one of the rare leavers who had every attention of going back but never did. My father thought it was the biggest mistake I ever made. He was probably right.
I joined the company in the summer of 1974. I went into the boys scheme which meant over a two year period you got to work for a month or two at a time in one of the many departments in the brewery. What an eye opener that was for a still wet behind the ears boy of sixteen. Guinness as an employer was fantastic, good pay, free pension , free food and beer brilliant sports club and social scene plus the company had a real family feel to it. It was like a little world of its own. It is very sad to see the pictures now as they bring back so many great memories. Mostly though you remember the people and the characters you worked with and met. I knew both Andy and Keith who have posted on here. There are some really good stories to tell about this place and the people in it but I would be here for at least a week if I went into them all.
I can,t help but think that companies nowadays would benefit by taking the approach Guinness did to their employees and still make good profits as Guinness did. Although there was close to 1500 people working there when I started, everyone seemed to know everyone else and that included the directors. I remember getting into a lift one day in the malt store not long after I started and a chap got in who I didn,t know but he asked my name and then went onto explain he knew my father who was still working at the brewery at the time, it turned out to be Edward Guinness.
Great days sorely missed.
Regards to all who worked there.
I worked at Park Royal man and boy from 1961 to 1995. Lots of great memories hide and seek in dark hop stores, swimming in water filled vessels and the reservoirs in the summer on night shift, the girls in office training, the food. A really great job and a good employer.
... worked there from the very early days (around the beginning of the war, not sure of the exact date). I remember being taken through the maltings on his shoulders and being scared by the darkness and heavy smell in the air! He moved north in 1955 to work at a sales office in Liverpool. Very many years later (late 70s), I did a tour of the brewery and came to appreciate how forward thinking the original designers were. Own power, own water supply, even own cows. Manpower was minimal, sometimes only one two people were on duty. Much of the process was gravity driven as the wort/beer moved from building to building. During the tour, the guide told (and no doubt retold many times) the story about what happened to the bottled beer if it went beyond its shelf-life and was returned to the brewery. Apparently, it was sprinkled onto the extensive grounds and in due course the grass grew up half cut.
My father once told a story about a visit to the nearby Twyford Abbey; take this with as as much or little salt as preferred. It seems that one evening around Christmas while working nights, he and a colleague decided that the monks could do with a bit of seasonal cheer. So they loaded up a crate of beer, and set off into the frosty night. They were welcomed at the door and, having been advised not to speak, were taken into a room with a roaring fire where they set to work. Unfortunately, after an hour or so with no more sounds than the clink of glasses and the crackling of the fire, the nature of the product being consumed resulted in some digestive disturbances, and subsequent laughter, at which point the visitors were rapidly shown the door.
I joined Guinness in 1960 (aged 15) as a messenger and worked there until 1968. My father also worked there as foreman in the heavy gang from 1956 until he took early retirement in 1994. My wife worked at Guinness as a secretary for about 7 years and her father like the previous contributors father joined Guinness when they took over Thomas Allen in 1955. He had joined Thomas Allen when he was 14 and retired from Guinness in 1965 having enjoyed at least 18,250 free pints of the black stuff. Guinness was a fantastic company to work for and I remember well the sweets at christmas....especially the nougat! In the 60s and 70s Guinness was like a big family and I often wonder what became of my friends and colleagues.
My late dad, Len Holmes, started work with Guinness when it took over Thomas Allen Transport. He was a tanker driver and went all over the country, even on the ferry to the Isle of Wight. In those days I used to get rides in the cab. When my mum became ill with heart problems, he switched to Shunting. The workers had a beer allowance and when drink driving came in, dad used to save his allowance for Christmas. He never bought beer! I remember the Christmas parties. The very young had a lovely tea in the canteen with entertainment, the older ones went to an ice show or pantomime in a fleet of London buses and then back for tea. Every child had a gift. Then from 16 to 18 we always received a parcel containing six tins of various boiled sweets. Once mum and dad helped with the 'children herding' so we all had lunch in the beautiful Board Room sitting at a huge round table. There were Sports Days. My husband, who worked for a local brewery here, went on a tour there in 1981 so at least he was able to see it for himself. Unfortunately dad had a fatal heart attack on the 27th September 1968. I recall being in awe of this magnificent building. Such a shame, but unfortunately business does not survive on sentiment.
Hello all Brewery lovers,
I was very fortunate to work at the Park Royal Brewery from Nov 88 to closure date on the 30th June 2005.
Starting my days as a Lager Charger in the Harp Lager brewery until its closure in Summer of 99, appointed Team Leader in 1994.
These were happy days working with terrific lads & learning so much about the art of brewing.
We worked a traditional 6-2, 2-10 & 10-6 shift pattern with every Saturday off whilst covering one Sunday Morning every 8 weeks.
The working week kicked off at 10pm every Sunday night through to 10 pm Friday night.
We also had a decent 5 a side football team, winning the London Breweries tournament in 1989 & 1994, great memories!
Sadly our days were numbered in the Harp Brewery & the Company called 'time' on us during 1999.
Some of the Lager boys left the Brewery at this time, whilst others found roles within different areas of the Company.
After being offered a role with the Budweiser Brewery at Mortlale, I decided to stay with Guinness & accepted a Team
Leader role in the Vathouse area of the Guinness Brewery.
The shifts were 4weeks of 6-2, followed by a week of lates 2-10 then a week of nights 10-6 before returning to early shift.
It was a dark old place the Vathouse, not everyone's 'cup of tea', but I enjoyed my year working in this department before its closure in Summer 2000.
You may think I'm a jinx, however most Brewery workers in Britain were suffering the same fate during this era.
Again I survived the redundancy cull & moved across to the Guinness Brewhouse/ fermentation/ conditioning/ kegging Department.
I really enjoyed my days in the Guinness Brewery, but once again our days were numbered!
In April 2004 we were given notice of the total Brewery closure, at the end of June 2005.
As a united tight- knit workforce we displayed fantastic pride & professionalism during this period of time and ensured the proud name of the Park Royal Brewery from 1936 continued through to its final last day on 30th June 2005.
These photos bring back great memories, many thanks.
Kind rgds Andy.
So sad to see the old place, so many good memories. I did my electrical apprenticeship there, and then did instrumentation. Immigrated to Canada in 1975, but still remember so many of the people from those days..
Worked in the labs in '66 - 67. Great job, great people and great benefits. Every so often did the early morning shift taking samples for testing at various locations in the brewery then around 9 am take a break in the free cafetria with a full breakfast and a couple of pints of fresh draught guinness. Now over 45 years later, in IT and banking, retiring to craft brewing in New England.
i used to drive tankers for guiness a few years back and regularly delivered trailers on permanent nights to and from park royal to guinness warrington. my enduring memory of the place was the full ala carte staff resturant resembling a swanky top london resturant where several full chefs were on duty twenty four hours a day and you could order as much as you liked of anything you desired and was all totally free !, they would even assemble meals in boxes for the drivers to take with them on the run home.....happy days it saddened me greatly the day they announced it was to close.
I WAS THE PIPEFITTER /WELDER IN CHARGE OF THIS CONTRACT BACK IN 1968. THE COMPANY I WAS WORKING FOR AT THE TIME WAS FOSTER POWER PIPING. I HAD TO TAKE A WELDING TEST FOR THIS CONTRACT AND THE TEST PIECES WERE SENT TO BIRMINGHAM UNIVERSITY FOR TESTING.AFTER PASSING THE TEST I STARTED THE CONTRACT
AND WAS FINISHED AFTER 6 WEEKS. TEMPERATURES IN THE BOILER ROOM AT THE HEIGHT WE WERE WORKING WERE
120 DEG F. IT WAS HARD GOING, BUT I WAS JUST A YOUNG GUY OF 28 BACK THEN.
ED ANDREWS. 13th MARCH.2009
Thinking about the possibility of sending my c.v. to Guinness once again, and thus, trying to find the brewery location in London I found this.. watching at the photos of the different rooms completely empty, the tanks unassembled, the corridors full of dust and stones... I suddenly realized that I was sad.. I felt butterflyes in my stomach. I┬┤m currently working in a Heineken brewery in Spain and its so full of life that just imaging... I have worked olso in Saint James Gate and, as I have allready read, its gonna happen the same to them... IT┬┤S A REAL PITTY!!!!
The old Guiness-Brewery-building on the pics was situated in London, in an industrial area called Royal Park. The production of Guiness has moved to Dublin, to St. James Gate. So you won┬┤t find this building in Dublin.
I'm going to Dublin in the next months, anyone know if the building still exists ?
thanks so much for sharing!!
I had the pleasure of working at Park Royal 12 years ago to install the large mosaic in the new brewhouse and I had the sad task of removing it prior to demolition. The Old Brewhouses were being demolished while I was there and it was a sorry sight.
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