1945- 1961

Groves & Whitnall, The Post War Period...

The post war period saw further consolidation of the Groves & Whitnall's position in spite of the many difficulties which were encountered. The damage caused by bombing and by the forced lack of repair and decoration of the company's properties entailed much work and expenditure of money. Considerable sums were recovered from the war damage commission but the main claim in respect of the destruction of the Globe Works took a lot longer to settle. Various improvements, however were made to the brewery, including the installation of a diesel electric generating plant which made Groves & Whitnall's power needs partly independent from the mains supply and could be used in an emergency to continue brewing. It was decided not to rebuild the Mineral Water factory, as arrangements were made Jewsbury & Brown Ltd., one of the best known Mineral Water manufactures in the North of England to supply Groves & Whitnall's houses.

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The board after the war continued its policy of buying more fully licensed houses, especially those where meals could also be supplied. The following acquisitions all provided the company with satisfactory investments. In 1945, "Owd Betts on the Lancashire, Yorkshire Border, "The Kilton" in Mere, Cheshire, "Bells Of Peover" in Cheshire, "The Fairview" in Milnrow, near Rochdale. In 1946, "The Green Man" and "Black's Head Royal Hotel" in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. In 1947, "The Saracens' Head" in Warburton, Cheshire, and in 1948, "The Old Church Inn" at Ashton-under-Lyne. Great changes, during and after the war took place in the Board Of Directors & Chairman. On 12th October, 1943, Mr. Fredrick William Gratrix, Secretary & Director since 1932, retired. He died on 7th November, 1943. Mr. George Whitehead, Deputy Chairman & Joint Managing Director since 1932, resigned on 31st December, 1943, after 47 years service with Groves & Whitnall, 30 of them as a Director. Mr. Geoffrey Worthington, the son of the former Director, Mr. W.G. Worthington who had joined the company in 1919, was elected as a Director on 30th November, 1943. He was appointed Managing Director on 1st April, 1948 Mr. Joseph Jocelyn Lomax Walker, who had joined the company in 1922 and been Manager of the Bottling Works since 1925, and Mr. Albert Ashcroft, F.C.I.S., who had joined the Company in 1912 and served as Accountant, were both elected to the Board on 29th August, 1944.

Major William Peer Groves, M.A., J.P., Chairman since 1932, retired on 30th September, 1946, and died on 24th October of the same year, he had 46 years service with the Company, 36 of them as as Director. Mr. James William Peer Groves, the son of the late Chairman, and great grandson of the founder, who had joined the Company in 1938, was elected to the Board on 3rd September, 1946. Mr. Keith Grimble Groves, M.A., LL.M., J.P., Barrister-at-Law, a Director since 1923, was elected Chairman on 19th November, 1946. Mr. Rowland Whitaker, who had held the office of Managing Director from 1943, retired on 31st March, 1948. He had 52 years service with the Company, 32 years as a Director. He died on 14th October, 1948.

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Above: Post War Groves & Whitnall Delivery Truck

The post war years saw a complete change in the  Groves & Whitnall brewing staff. The service of Mr. Rowland Whitaker has already been mentioned. His right-hand-man, Mr. Francis Haigh, who joined the old form in 1894, being second brewer from 1910 to 1946, when he was appointed head brewer retired on the 30th June, 1948, after 56 years service. Mr. Percy S. Dockray, who had joined the Company in 1899, when his fathers company was purchased by Groves & Whitnall, and served as third and then later second brewer from that time onwards retired in 1946. During most of this period of 47 years he was in charge of the Alexandra Brewery, Manchester. The combined service of Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Haigh and Mr. Dockray with the company totalled 155 years. Their place were taken by Mr. Andrew Hopkins, who joined the company in 1946 after many years experience at other breweries, and was appointed head brewer on the 1st July, 1948, and by Mr. A.S Schofield as second brewer, and Mr. Clive Worthington, son of Mr. Godffrey Worthington, as third brewer.

During the last few years of the 1940's further steps were taken to place a firm footing for the future welfare of the staff & employees of Groves & Whitnall. For some time the Board had considered that pensions should be put on a contributory basis, so that employees should have the contractual right to a pension to which they themselves had contributed. The outbreak of the war had prevented this from being done, but in 1946 it was decided to institute a Contributory Pension Scheme, to replace the Superannuation Account, established after the first world war. This scheme was constituted by a Trust Deed and came into effect on 27th June, 1947. Membership was open to all male employees aged 20 1/2 or over and under 59 1/2 and all female employees 20 1/2 or over and under 54 1/2 on that date and to all future employees. The Company undertook to pay the whole cost of past service pensions and of life assurance benefit in the event of the death of a member before he or she reaches the normal pension date. The pensions thus provided, supplementary to the State National Insurance Pensions should give the staff and employees an increased feeling of security; under modern conditions it has become more and more difficult to put enough aside in the course of one's working life to ensure a reasonable standard of living upon retirement. The senior employees who, because of age, are not eligible to join the Pension Scheme, will still be provided for under the Company's existing Superannuation account, which by 1949 stood at £88,0000 & increased throughout the 1950's & 1960's, Keith Grimble Groves stayed on the board until April 1959 before retiring but continued as senior trustee of the Employees' Pension Fund until 1963, when it was wound up being replaced by the Greenall Whitley Pension Fund owing to the amalgamation of the two companies.

Groves & Whitnall Ltd, Regent Road Brewery, and Salford was taken over by Greenall Whitley in 1961 and closed in March 1971. Greenall Whitley also closed subsidiaries J P Simpkiss, Brierley Hill, in 1985, Shrewsbury & Wem Brewery Ltd, Wem, in 1988, Davenport’s Brewery, Bath Row, Birmingham, July 1989, and James Shipstone & Sons Ltd, Star Brewery, New Basford, in 1992, Below are a copy of the closing accounts statement for Groves & Whitnall Limited, dated 30th April, 1971 showing the final balance. Image Above Courtesy & Copyright Of Anthony Groves.

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