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Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Thrale

Nobody’s sure exactly when the birthday of Henry Thrale is, not even the year is certain. He may have been born in 1724 or it may have been 1720. He did, however, die on April 4, 1781. He was the son of brewer Ralph Thrale (1698–1758), who bought the Anchor Brewery in Southwark, London, England in 1729. Henry Thrale became the owner when his father died. By “the early nineteenth century it was the largest brewery in the world. From 1781 [after Henry Thrale died] it was operated by Barclay Perkins & Co, who merged with Courage in 1955. The brewery was demolished in 1981.”

This is his basic biography from his Wikipedia page:

Henry Thrale was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1765 to 1780. He was a close friend of Samuel Johnson. Like his father, he was the proprietor of the large London brewery, H. Thrale & Co.

Born at the Alehouse in Harrow Corner, Southwark, he was the son of the rich brewer Ralph Thrale (1698–1758) and Mary Thrale. He married Hester Lynch Salusbury on 11 October 1763; they had 12 children, and she outlived him. He was MP for Southwark 23 December 1765 – September 1780, an Alderman, and Sheriff of the City of London: a respected, religious man who was a good hunter and sportsman with a taste for gambling.

Thrale’s Anchor Brewery around 1785.

This is the entry for Barclay, Perkins & Co. Ltd, which at one time had been Thrale’s Anchor Brewery, from “The Brewing Industry: A Guide to Historical Records,” edited by Lesley Richmond, Alison Turton, published in 1990:

The Anchor Brewery around 1820.

And finally, the famous English writer Charles Dickens, during the period when he was writing many of his major works, “he was also the publisher, editor, and a major contributor to the journals Household Words (1850–1859) and All the Year Round (1858–1870). In “Volume V, from March 30, 1861 to September 21, 1861,” in a piece entitled “Queen of the Blue Stockings,” from April 20, 1861, Ralph Thrale is mentioned in a history of the Barclay Perkins brewery to give context to his tale:

A marker where Thrale’s brewery once stood in central London.

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