Thornley-Kelsey [Radford Hall] Brewery

This is a summary of the Research Paper which is available in full HERE

Born on 7th August, 1854, Henry Edward Thornley was originally a farmer at Radford Hall, Radford Semele, who initially commenced brewing solely for his own labourers.

However, by 1898 he had broadened his business interests and is listed at Radford Hall Brewery with H. Bradshaw of 6, George Street, Leamington Spa as his agent. By 1900, H. E. Thornley Ltd was well on the way to being established and had opened offices at 146, The Parade, wholesale and retail stores at 10/12 Gloucester Street and two branches in Coventry [Canterbury Street and Cromwell Street] – and by 1902 all brewery buildings were complete. Furthermore, their ales and stout had acquired a strong reputation in the area and the brewery had begun to accumulate a tied-estate.

The Brewery, photo Bob Saunders

The Brewery, photo Bob Saunders

Henry Edward Thornley died on 27th June 1916, at Radford Hall, Leamington Spa, aged 61 years, but ownership of the brewery was retained by the Thornley family. In March 1933 H. E. Thornley was registered as a limited company, with capital amounting to £15,000, to acquire the business of brewers, etc, carried on as H. E. Thornley at the Radford Hall Brewery, Radford Semele, Warwickshire and elsewhere. Later that year the company merged with Benjamin Kelsey Ltd, of Birmingham, to become Thornley-Kelsey Ltd; the directors comprised Philip G. Kelsey, Benjamin G. Kelsey, Frank L. Buttler and Cecil W. Bourne.

Arguably the last sizeable independent brewery in Warwickshire of its era, it traded until October 1968 when the owners ceased brewing to concentrate on their wine wholesaling business. At the time of sale, the tied-estate in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire comprised 68 pubs – which were purchased primarily by Davenports – and, of these, 22 were located in Warwickshire. 

Allan Jennings, June 2016

Acknowledgements
Please refer to the complete history of ‘Thornley-Kelsey [Radford Hall] Brewery’ HERE for a listing of acknowledgements and research sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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