Saturday, 12 November 2011

Wadworth's Dray and Shirehorses.

Max and Prince outside the "Black Swan Hotel"

Beer brewed at Wadworth's Devizes Brewery is delivered to the local pubs by dray and shirehorses.  They are a regular sight around the narrow streets of Devizes and often cause a traffic jam, much to the consternation of some drivers.  The brewery was founded by Henry Wadworth in 1875, and when it outgrew its original building, it moved into new premises that now stand at Brewery Corner in the Northgate.  The brewing process is gravity fed, so all the ingredients of a good brew are lifted five floors to the top of the Victorian building, where they are fed into various hoppers for their journey down to the ground floor, brewed and ready for dispatch.  The brew is then transported to Burton on Trent for canning and to Liverpool for bottling.  When finished, some bottles of Bishop's Tipple find their way back into my store cuboard in New Park Street.
Wadworth's have stabling for Max, Monty and Prince, the three magnificent shirehorses that pull the dray.  Several breweries in the country use dray and horses for local deliveries, although recently Wandsworth Brewery reluctantly stopped using them, as motorists were becoming more and more abusive to the draymen. after finding themselves held up in traffic jam.   Fortunately Devizes drivers are more tolerant, and hopefully this method of delivery will continue for years to come.  Each year the horses go for a holiday on a local farm.  Pictures of them galloping freely in the fields are a joy to see.

Max and Prince at a Drayman's Wedding.

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