Somerton Brewery Page 3


Brewery Page 3

Alan Locke records in the Somerton Audio-Town Trail: “a lovely and rather macabre story told about the old brewery. Mr Battiscombe, one of the directors, died and it was thought a good idea for the staff to pay him respects before the coffin was screwed down and taken to the cemetery. The coffin was brought into the office and it was winter. There was a good fire going. He was laid open there for the staff to file by, take their hats off, touch their forelock as they went by. Half way through this doleful procession past the coffin, Mr Battiscombe suddenly sat up. One can imagine the consternation. Everybody was turned out, the door was locked and the doctor sent for. The doctor came and took one look at Mr Battiscombe, pushed him down flat and said ‘OK, Let’s screw him down’. And that was the last the world saw of Mr Battiscombe.”

The Somerton Brewery had its own “houses” in the district as far afield as Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury, Yeovil and Hatch Beauchamp, about sixty in all. In the early days all transport was by horse-drawn vehicles, and later by steam-lorries. All supplies of grain and coal had to be transported from Langport, as Somerton had no Railway until 1906. As well as producing beer, both in bulk and bottled, spirits, which were broken down to correct proof on the premises, and mineral waters, there was a very special and locally famous mixture known as “Garratt’s Mixture” which was supposed to cure anything from “Pneumonia to In-growing Toenails”, – its ingredients were never divulged, although they were certainly potent.

Tractor and dray at Brewery entrance in about 1920
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