“I was born in Greenwich, Ashburnham Grove, some 57yrs ago. I am now an Ex Pat living in Budapest, Hungary, I long to come back and see it before it ALL changes.
I can remember as a kid going to school (James Wolfe infants) and walking past a brewery called ‘Lovibonds’, do you know if it is still there? Is the school still there?
I intend to do a sojourn next year and see all that is. It’s funny – the older you get the more one craves for the past, personal past.”
But onto Lovibonds. The building, or at least a good part of it, still exists, and you can get a pretty good view of it, both inside (the pub bit at least) and out.
Lovibonds started out in the West Country in 1834 and moved to Greenwich in 1847. The building that’s still there today was built on surplus railway land in 1865.
The big claim to fame is by Joseph Williams Lovibond who invented the Tintometer in 1885 – a way of judging the clarity and purity of liquids by a analysing colour comparisons with a series of glass slides. Joseph invented it to test beer, of course, but today it measures everything from swimming pool water to oceanic pollution.
The company flourished in Greenwich – we were only talking yesterday about the number of pubs that dock towns encourage and Lovibonds was right there on the spot. (I’m happy to say that the trend seems to be resurfacing, with several new breweries springing up and expanding…) and they bought various other breweries, depots and stores outside the area. By 1936 they had 71 shops.
It all went pear-shaped in the War, when Greenwich was bombed to buggery, but it wasn’t doodlebugs that finally did for Lovibonds. They rebuilt and continued brewing until the giant conglomerates shoved the smaller companies out of business in the late 50s/early 60s. Lovibonds brewed its last ale in 1959, and started selling beer instead. It all went downhill from there. They were bought out in the 60s and died completely in 1969.
Davy’s wine vaults currently own much of the remaining buildings, and being over 100 years old themselves, they’ve been pretty sensitive about keeping the feel of the place.
The rest of the buildings, you can get a pretty good view of from the DLR platforms and entrance at Greenwich Station. As far as I can tell, they’re warehouses these days.