Return to Whittle  page

The Rise and Fall of Whittle Springs Brewery
A brief history of the rise and fall of the Spa and Brewery at Whittle Springs.
by J. Jackson.


The story of Whittle Springs, for it was at Whittle that the spring was discovered, has its own fascination and begins in the year 1836

The Discovery
of the Spring

The Cure The Growth
of the Spa
The Rise of
The Brewery
The Decline
of the Spa
Continued success of
Whittle Springs Brewery
The Decline of
the Brewery

Whittle Springs

The Future

The Rise of The Brewery.

Malt Kilns existed on the opposite side of Moss Lane bridge long before the discovery of spring water in this part of whittle. They were probably erected when the canal was built in 1795 for they were conveniently situated along its bank. A further kiln was to be found 200yds along Lower Lane, beside Tan House Brook. Worked by Edward Craven, these kilns are thought to mark the site of the oldest breweries in Lancashire. Previously it had been the custom for brewing to be carried out at farms and inns, not at sites deliberately chosen for the purpose. Drinks available at the " Heyes Arms " therefore included not only the spring water itself, but also ale, porter, ginger beer, soda water, lemonade and exhibition waters. These were almost certainly prepared by Edward Craven and Co, who became known as the Whittle springs Brewery Co. Indeed it seems likely that Edward Craven had some deeper involvement with the Spa because following the death of John Heyes, he was allowed the use of the land on which the brewery stood, rent free. 

As well as within the grounds of the "Heyes Arms", drinks of all kinds were available at the porters's lodge for those passing by. A brisk trade grew with the bargees on the canal. Steam boats pulled six barges at a time containing 40 tons of coal or grain, through an impressive flight of seven locks. These started only slightly upstream from the "Heyes Arms", and finished at the Top Lock just above Copthurst. The bargees became accustomed to buying a drink at the Porters lodge whilst waiting for their boats to clear the locks, "I'll just wap up for a drink" they would say, and eventually the Porter's Lodge became known as "the Wap", to all who used the canal or who lived locally

In 1874, following the death of Henry Heyes, the land belonging to the spa together with the "Heyes Arms" and the malt houses and brewery were sold to three men, James Cardwell, James Thomson and Thomas Gardner 

These three, owners of the Crown Brewery, began building a new brewery in the Gothic style to match the "Heyes Arms" or the "Howard Arms" as it was now to be known. A "rearing dinner" was held at the hotel when the roof timbers of the new buildings were finally in place. - To celebrate the arrival of the most extensive brewery in the whole district. It was not long before agents for the firm were found in Liverpool, Southport, Barrow - in - Furness and Lancaster.

Local public houses like the "Sea View" at Whittle and the "Bay Horse" in Leyland, amongst others proudly carried a header board proclaiming they sold "Whittle Springs Noted Ales and stout." There again, houses in the Whittle Springs area that had previously been connected with the Spa, were gradually acquired for various members of the brewery work-force. Horse Trough House for instance, was acquired by the brewery in 1883, divided into three dwellings and renamed Spring Terrace. New houses also were built specifically for key workers at the brewery. 

Return to Whittle page