Before Groves & Whitnall...
In the year 1835, in what became Regent Road Brewery was in the occupation of Samuel Lyth, described in the term used in legal documents of that time as “common brewer?” After his death the business was carried on by his Widow, Margaret Lyth, whose name appears in the Slater’s Directory of Manchester & Salford, for the year 1850, as an “ale and porter brewer,” at 2 Regent Road. She in turn was succeeded by her son, Thomas Joseph Lyth. The family name was commemorated by Lyth Street, a short street of small cottages running off Wilburn Street near the brewery.
On March 23rd 1853 Thomas Joseph Lyth sold his land and buildings, including the plant and other effects for £3,410 to Henry Bathe and Henry Newbold. The new owners soon extended the brewery by acquiring an old mill in Wilburn Street.
It was shortly after this that the connection of the Groves family with the brewery commenced, and some brief reference may be made to the founder of the partnership, William Peer Grimble Groves. He was undoubtedly a man of enterprise. Born June 1st 1817, at Walthamstow, near London he came north in about 1845 and engaged in business in Liverpool as a distiller. In 1852 he emigrated to Australia, where he started a freighting business taking stores to the goldfields. This was very profitable but after eighteen months he returned to England on account of his wife’s health.
In 1854, he settled in Manchester and built a vinegar works in Blantyre Street. At the same time he acted as a traveller for Bathe & Newbold. So successful was he in obtaining new trade that in 1859 the partners appointed him manager, and in about 1864, he took up residence at 4 Regent Road, the then present brewers’ house. His eldest son, William Grimble Groves, born on July 3rd, 1847, began after leaving school in 1863, to help his father as a clerk, whilst at the same time he studied chemistry at Owens College, Manchester. Young William’s closest friend, Arthur William Whitnall, born on the same day, 3rd July, 1847, was also a chemistry student at Owens, and later became a qualified pharmaceutical chemist.
The two friends on leaving college fitted up a laboratory in the vinegar works in Blantyre Street, having decided to become manufacturing chemists. A different opportunity, however soon appeared. Messrs. Bathe & Newbold wished to retire and offered their business in 1868 to their enterprising manager. W.P.G. Groves required extra capital in addition to his own savings to purchase and develop the brewery. A.W. Whitnall, who was the twenty one, had the necessary money, which he was willing to put into the business provided his young friend W.G. Groves also came into the partnership.
The brewery had expanded since it had been acquired by Bathe & Newbold fifteen years previously, and when it was sold to W.P.G. Groves and A.W. Whitnall on October 21st 1868, the consideration was £9.000. The purchase price covered the land and buildings with “utensils, brewing plant, rolling stock and effects”; clearly a sale of a going concern, two days later on 23rd October Henry Bathe & Henry Newbold officially dissolved their partnership in the business.
Below: Taken From The London Gazette On The 23rd October 1863