Back Garden Gold

Adam’s 18 month-old son dug this up in their Blackheath garden (proving that they’re never too young to be put to work…) and Adam is wondering what it used to be. He reckons it’s part of something that says ‘and Sons Ltd’ and I agree.

My money would go on the Lovibond brewery which stood next to what is now the DLR and Davy’s Wine Vaults. I suspect this was a good old fashioned stoneware flagon that would have graced many a Greenwich table in Victorian times and continued until the 60s. There’s still a Lovibonds over in Henley but I don’t know how much, if anything, it has to do with Greenwich.

In fact, I think I may have found your bottle, Adam. It was up for auction at Cameo Antiques in Berkshire back in April. The collection below reached £42.00 (among several tasty lots. Must make my way over to Berks sometime…)

I guess that means your shard is worth about 10p. Probably not enough to put Adam Jnr. through college, but then money’s not everything. It’s a piece of old Greenwich, and a lovely thing to have.

Anyone else found anything intriguing in their back garden I’d like to know about?


the attachments to this post:

lovibonds lot auction cameo
lovibonds lot auction cameo

beer bottle blackheath frag low
beer bottle blackheath frag low


7 Comments to “Back Garden Gold”

  1. tintinhaddock says:

    Great sleuthing Phant.

  2. Rod says:

    Yes – part of a Victorian gallon beer jar from Lovibonds at Greenwich. There are two (complete) jars in the glass display case in the bar at The Old Brewery, if anyone would like to see them in the flesh.
    “The Lovibond brewery which stood next to what is now the DLR and Davy’s Wine Vaults” – not past tense, Phantom, the building next to Greenwich station which now houses Davy’s IS Lovibonds’ brewery. The “Lovibonds” in Henley, has, as far as I can see, no connection with the esteemed Greenwich brewery, where the first objective means of measuring the clolour of beer, the Lovibond scale, was invented. This scale was adopted all over the English-speaking world and has ensured Greenwich’s place in the annals of brewing history.
    Incidentally, if anyone would like to get an idea of what Lovibond’s beer would have tasted like in Victorian times, the current special available at the Old Brewery is a strong (very strong) Pale Ale brewed to an absolutely authentic recipe found in Lovibond’s brewing log of 1864, in the head brewer’s own handwriting. The log happens to belong to a friend of mine, beer historian, Ron Pattinson.

  3. Adam says:

    Brilliant – thanks – I shall make sure that Adam Jr treasures it!

    Adam

  4. Bill Ellson says:

    Excellent detective work.

    The present Lovibonds at Henley adopted the name after one of the partners had viewed a site in Henley that had previously been used by Lovibond and Sons.

    Three suceeding generations of the Lovibond family ran the business at Greenwich. Somerset born John Locke Lovibond in partnership with his sons until 1872, then his son John Locke Lovibond junior in partnership with his brothers until his death in 1890. He was suceeded by nephew Edward Andrew Lovibond who incorporated the firm in the mid 1890 and was managing director up until his death in 1954 at the age of 89.

  5. Kate says:

    Why can’t I find anything like that in my back garden!! …oh thats right I live in a first floor flat….
    Bet theres some great undiscovered treasures underneath our feet in Greenwich! Wish I could get my trowel out!!

  6. Rod says:

    “The present Lovibonds at Henley adopted the name after one of the partners had viewed a site in Henley that had previously been used by Lovibond and Sons.”

    Only the most tenuous of connections, then. I assume that this site was one of Lovibond’s many shops, as I do not think that they had a brewery at Hendon.
    You are certainly right about Lovibond’s West Country origins – they also had a brewery at Salisbury. The desire for consistancy between their breweries may be what lead them to invent the Lovibond scale.

  7. Paul says:

    ROd, great to have you back!