16. Carlsberg and the Lion brewery

The 1899 Insurance Plan shows the layout of the Lion Brewery.

On the east side of the South Bridge where modern flats now sit, there was once a large brewery complex. It is uncertain when it was first opened, but the original Lion brewery, run by the wonderfully names Messrs Jope and Jope was destroyed by a fire started in a copper furnace in 1862. Their new brewery opened in 1864, and was acquired by Phipps in 1890. It was an extensive complex with a malthouse, kilns and an arched under croft for storing beer. This brewery closed in 1973 and became the site of Greenough & Co builder’s merchants.


Aerial photograph show the Lion Brewery and Phipps either side of the river (1930)

The 1899 Insurance plan shows the Phipps Brewery Complex and Rice’s foundry, where Carlsberg now sits.

There has been brewing on the site where Carlsberg now sits since 1817, when Pickering Phipps built a wharf and brewery here. Phipps continued to brew on this site until 1960 when it became part of the Watney Mann brewing empire. The site was taken over by Carlsberg, who built this modern brewery in 1874. Phipps continued as a pub chain and started brewing in Northampton again in 2014 when they opened the Albion brewery on Kingswell Street.

View North towards Bridge Street . (c1900)

As the plan above shows, Phipps was not the only occupant of the site. The Eagle foundry was built in 1823 by Brettell and Barwell and made parts for carts and wagons, fencing and other forms of metalwork. In the 1860’s the foundry was bought by Pickering Phipps Rice. His company Rice & Co specialised in cast iron products for the building trade such as lamp posts,manhole covers, gulley grates, kitchen stoves and ranges, ornamental fireplaces, gates and railings, stable fittings, road signs, even spiral staircases and skylight frames. The company moved to a new site on the south bank of the river in 1928 although their office remained on Bridge Street until 1950.