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Part Two of Potted History
Jan 07, '13

1347 - The English capture Calais and consider it good foresight in extending influence into French soil for future generations of white van drivers. Whilst in reverse records dating back to the 15th century show that almost half of the ships' cargoes taken across the North Sea and the Baltic Sea were barrels of beer.

In 1415 - the surly French sought to attack an English convoy in transit and ranged a force of knights and men-at-arms to seize the convoy and all its contents. As was the way with opponents of this nation their number was unfair and exaggerated when ranged against the English force. French forces equaled some 35,000 opposed to 4,000 men of England. Fortunately, the greater number of Englishmen was versed in that deadly weapon the longbow. The most fortunate aspect of this vicious yet efficient weapon of war was that sobriety played no part in its devastating passage of death.

The struggle was fierce and unrelenting but the warlord Henry Vth made one serious mistake, he had guarded prisoners held captive near to the baggage train where the English ale was stored to sustain his troops. Incensed by the wanton risk upon their golden fluids, the men slaughtered their captives with complete disregard for ransom and wealth, in the stead of beer rationing or worse still, denial. Yet none knew the outcome of the main engagement but for the admission of such losses by the French heralds. Then with great relief, the battle was won and men of England would raise their glasses to those that fought so bravely upon St Crispin’s Day.

From such carnage came these immortal words.

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here

But one ten thousand of those men in England

that do no work to-day!

  KING. What's he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;

If we are mark'd to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for ale,

Nor care I who doth feed as well as ale;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.

God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour

As one man more methinks would share from me

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more ale!

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse;

We would not die in that man's company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when this day is name'd,

and rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he'll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,

Familiar in his mouth as household words-

Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-

Be in their flowing jugs freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhood’s cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

To dally but for moment, let it be known that each city was taxed so many cartfuls of arrows to support this action and did so willingly, with one particular city providing an abundance of both arrows and manpower. In reward for their contribution Swindon was granted, by decree, the right to produce celebratory ale with the name of ‘Archers’ to commemorate their wilful input of man and arrow into the victory.

1455 -1487- The War of The Roses came about due to rivalry between senior magnates in Lancashire and Yorkshire which had lasted as far back as the Late Romano British period and the later playing host to the two rival brothers formerly known as Hengist and Horsa made the dispute just that little bit more contentious. On the surface the loose recognition of the dispute could be viewed as a White and a Red Rose but in the end a whole dynasty of the Royal line was to lay prone in death as the transition of Royalty spread from the Stuarts of Scotland to the Royal Prince of Wales, Henry Tudor or Harri as his retainers would know him.

Never before had such events had such impact upon whole family lineages as the Battle of Bosworth field. One instance was the mass treachery of regional armies such as the Stanley’s when the tides of battle changed and wavered during that bloody conflict of on 22 August in the year of our Lord 1485. Whole families were torn asunder on that fateful day when the brewing dynasty of ‘William Smith’ and ‘John Smith’ fought on different sides of the field. Not only the communities of the North were affected by this great struggle but also the whole country and the issue of precedence lay naked lifeless and dead on a brewers cart as the corpse was ignominiously paraded for all to see at the end of hostilities, his head banging and thudding on the cobbled streets of the city in its passage.

Did you know? In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'

1536 - The Dissolution of the Monasteries commenced in April 1536 during King Henry VIIIth's reign; there were over 800 monasteries, abbeys, nunneries and friaries that were home to over 10,000 monks, nuns, friars and canons. By April 1540, there were none. The instruction by the King was based upon the fact that they were independent, and could organise and control their own finances. At the same time growing sums of money were being sent for dispensation to Rome and denying the host country substantial revenue. Power within English monasteries was not the King, but the heads of respective monasteries and the monks were able to make decisions independent of government. Moreover many monasteries remained loyal to the Catholic religion, but above all each monastery had cultivated their extensive lands for several centuries and created world famous ciders and meads that they denied to him and its most important revenue and this quite simply, could not be tolerated.

1549 - The Prayer Book Rebellion in the Act of Unification made it illegal as from Whit Sunday of that year, to use the Latin Prayer Book. This was replaced by an English translation, whereby few of the Cornish people spoke English and were particularly affected by this new legislation.

The villagers of Sampford Courtenay in Devon raised the most vociferous objection and began what has also come to be known as the 'Western Rebellion'. Joined by hundreds of villagers from all over Devon and Cornwall they marched on Crediton and occupied it.

In London, King Edward VI (Henry VIII's son) and his Privy Council became alarmed by the news from the West Country and he promptly ordered one of the Privy Councilors, Sir Gawain Carew to pacify the rebels. At the same time, Lord John Russell was ordered to take an army, composed mainly of German and Italian mercenaries, and impose a military solution.

The mercenary arquebusiers known as Landsknechts from Germany and Italy subsequently killed over a thousand rebels at Crediton, then murdered 900 unarmed people at Clyst St Mary. 1300 more people were slaughtered at Sampford Courtenay and 300 died at Fenny Bridges. Unused to Royal power the king being a child at the time, gave further orders to be issued by the Lord Protector, the Earl of Somerset, and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer for the continuance of the onslaught on the local populace. Under Sir Anthony Kingston, English and mercenary forces moved into Cornwall and summarily executed or murdered many people before the bloodshed finally ceased. Proposals to translate the Prayer Book into Cornish were also suppressed.

Essentially the translation brought to question the interpretation of taking wine or holy nectar and this played a major role in the young kings will to engage European mercenary armies. Acutely aware that they would not engage in pillage of the townships being unaccustomed to good beer being that much less advanced than their English counterparts. Absence of family ties made these aliens to these shores less willing to indulge in bribery and favoured treatment but when caught unawares during those inevitable spells of military occupation, they were to suffer the most horrible of deaths at the hands of the populace with last rites being administered with Watney’s Red Barrel.

Regardless of the violence these times bore witness to beer making remaining mainly a family operation and had little commercial application. However, it was certainly an integral part of everyday diet. Ladies-in-waiting at the court of Henry VII were allowed a gallon of beer for breakfast alone.

Queen Elizabeth, when travelling through the country, always sent couriers ahead to taste the local ale and if it didn't measure up to the quality required, a supply would be shipped from London upon her instruction.

William Shakespeare's father was a recognised ale-tester or "conner". The "conner" conveyed his responsibility by pouring some upon a bench and sitting on it while drinking the rest. If there were sugar in the ale, or it was impure, his leather breeches would stick after sitting for half an hour or so and this quality control was further served.

The Dean of St Paul’s, in the 16th century, is credited with the invention of bottled ale. Dr Alexander Norwell put beer in a bottle when he went fishing and left the bottle in the grass. Returning some years later he found the cork came away with an explosion but the taste and quality of the beer was still good.

Did you know? In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.

When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... 'good night, sleep tight.'

1588 - The Spanish Armada was defeated by the English fleet under Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins: war between Spain and England continues until 1603. It cannot be denied that the weather was on our side when the armada set sail, it subsequently blew them of course and caused its own natural casualties due to its severity.

When the Royal Navy did draw down upon them there was one other factor that had major detrimental impact upon the Spanish mariners ability to repel any attacks they sustained. Perhaps over confidence in the skill and strength of his fleet caused the King of Spain to promote a land general to control the Armada and whilst this might have benefit after the successful landing of troops, it became a major impediment whilst sailing the rough seas, worse still engaging an experienced and skilled opponent such as the English.

With land war in mind he commanded great siege guns be placed on the deck of the Spanish galleons. These weapons had no trajectory and would have served to knock down a castle door or open an unwilling ale house on their journey, but was useless at sea. This decision alone proved disastrous as it denied a whole gun deck any practical use in the defence of each vessel. This fact yet unknown to Sir Francis Drake, he finished his bowls match and slowly consumed his ale prior to setting to sea, where he soon took count of their error and made full use of it.

1605 - The Gunpowder Plot where Guy Fawkes and other Roman Catholic conspirators fail in attempt to blow up Parliament and James I. Had this doom laden attempt been successful, the taking of Holy wine might well have caused difficulties for the more traditional holy water attainable in Inns and hostelries in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster and Parliament and the profits from the cider industry may well have been diverted to Rome as had been the case prior to the ‘reformation’.

1642 to 1651 – of all the conflicts the world has endured this particular little island and the changes the English Civil War was to bring about regarding democracy, government and political parliament were profound at the most global of levels. Superficially and with tunnel vision academics will tell you that it came about in pursuit of true democracy and that implementation of this in the first instance was the reduction of Royal power being all but dictatorial. Repealing laws that evoked a power likened only to that of Godliness was simply a means of transfer and whilst one individual in the person of Regent was to be replaced by political parties, their allegiance in the course of time could be questioned. When finally ratified it was to influence the birth of nations and the expanse of progress under the mystical, elusive banner of democracy. Above all, it paved the way for enormous abuse of power by government and religions over alleged civilizations of western origin.

Over the fullness of time acts of parliament would be passed that would influence the creation of the American Bill of Rights and the abuses suffered by those under its governance would not be witnessed for half a millennium. It was not that this age was the father of such global influence as much as giving it superficial credence to operate within the tenet of public consent, it became legitimised.

None the less it would be hard to isolate those that acted with selfish motive opposed to the many that believed they acted in the public good. Identifying who and when became one of the growing number of ultimate questions akin to ‘was God an astronaut’ or ‘is there life after marriage’?

The only real achievement of the war that benefited the Royal dynasty’s was that King Charles 1st had the foresight to patent simple names such as the ‘Royal Oak,’ depicting his hiding place during his escape bid and quest for freedom. He also recognized that he might find comfort in hostelries bearing a name that he bestowed them in the future. Yet the Royal descendents are not as keen to acknowledge as an equal money-spinner, was the pub name ‘The Kings Head’ that had a whole new meaning. The King hardly enjoyed a pint in these venues; after all tipping a pint directly down the throat of a headless corpse did nothing for his digestion following his execution in 1649.

The war itself originated out of many mistakes made by the King within areas such as poor choice of relationships that affected the common good, mis-use of taxes and liberal withdrawals of money by increased demands upon the populace through the public purse and such means as ‘ship tax’. Religious domination under the banner of ‘Divine right’ with the King being the highest representative of God on earth and finally prejudicial licensing laws opposed throughout the regions of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The immediate confusion might be to establish who supported who as there were major regional variations, but at a general level the nobility, landowners and Anglicans supported Charles I while those in towns and cities supported Parliament. However, this is a broad generalisation as there were noblemen who supported Parliament and there were towns such as Newark that supported Charles. Ironically parliament then was the overt means of upper class, elitist representation, which in time was to translate into sheer capitalism at the cost of true democracy. True representation as the cause, or reason for this and other conflicts, was little more than an illusion, but then the working classes could convince themselves otherwise and the mental cloud enjoyed through alcohol would be a welcome bed fellow, which sadly would subdue the masses into toleration and acceptance of the illusion.

1658 - Oliver Cromwell dies and is succeeded as Lord Protector by his son Richard; The Battle of the Dunes, where England and France defeat Spain and England gains the region of Dunkirk as if a precursor to the great beer festival of 1940 and the urgent need for British forces to vacate after a pub brawl with German revelers.

1666 - The Great Fire of London cleansed massive districts of medieval London and it was said that too many alehouses were being overrun by Ind Coope breweries, whose method of distribution and marketing was somewhat suspect. When the embers had settled a far more open license was afforded to different Hostelries and Inns that introduced a far wider selection of good English ales.

1690 - It was becoming known in England that Irish were developing the secret brew on an industrial scale as created by their patron saint Saint Patrick. This dark creamy beer was said to be worthy of world export and worse still was being distributed illegitimately thus denying the sovereign taxation monies. With subdued regret King William of Orange defeats the Irish and French armies of his father-in-law at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, but following his victory he tarried in a local Inn and sampled this new ale they called Guinness, and some say he fell in love with it in an instance.

1715 - The Jacobite Rebellion begins in Scotland aimed at overthrowing the Hanoverian succession and placing the "Old Pretender" - James II's son - on the throne. The rebellion is easily defeated as there is no heart in it as the English King seized all ‘Caledonian’ ale houses and breweries and denied the rebels access and with that, the cause simply lost momentum.

Did you know? Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.

1733 - The 'Excise Crisis' takes place and Walpole the first English Prime Minister is forced to abandon his plans to reorganise the constraints implied by customs and excise. His prime motivation was retaining the treasury grip on taxation extracted from English ales production and stringently denying the import of alien drinks of which he made no profit.

1765 - Ruled from the United Kingdom parliament implemented The American Stamp Act to raise taxes in the colonies in an attempt to make the ‘New worlds’ defence self-financing. This was a major cause of dissent as the founding fathers were having little success in home brewing, yet they were still heavily taxed on an inferior drink to that which they had become accustomed.

1773 - Few events in the history of America are as well known or as highly celebrated as the Boston Tea Party.  Yet the real ramifications of that event took many decades to manifest. The United States was but one of a group of colonies under British rule when a band of men dressed like Mohawk Indians "sons of Liberty" boarded cargo ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbour.  The harbour ran brown for days afterward and news of the attack was soon despatched back to the United Kingdom.  

Why did they do this?  Why tea?  The English government was still in debt following a spate of wars in this case with our old friends the French and felt it quite reasonable that the colonies should help in the cost of the defence of the realm.  England was also spending large proportions of its defence budget for British soldiers stationed in the American Colonies, thus it saw fit to raise taxes in that vast continent to try to recoup expenditure and service its growing overseas debt. 

American patriot leaders were opposed to any internal tax they did not consent to and were ably led by John Adams one of the staunchest leaders in the fight against these taxes.  His success expectation was high having successfully argued against the stamp act a few years earlier.  One of the major taxes that England raised was on tea imported into the American Colonies.  Tea was one of this nation’s most imported products and England and the English parliament recognised it could raise a great deal of capital measured by the sheer size and volume of this import. 

Dissent was slow as a few Americans opposed the tax and engaged in acts of protest. It was an ill timed act even though the rebels knew full well that pouring tea into the cold waters of the harbour could hardly be construed as a hot beverage, but the truth was, had they waited but a short time, they might have been introduced to the secrets of far more appealing beverage and evolve the true American dream. Sadly however they were consigned to the far inferior alcoholic beverages of modern America.

Did you know? In old English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.'

It's where we get the phrase 'mind your P's and Q's'

1805 - The Royal Navy had sunk the greater majority of the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar just off of the Spanish coast. Admiral Lord Nelson himself had been the most unfortunate of victims during this eventful and conclusive naval engagement and victory. To commemorate this victory a golden bright ale was commissioned by business charter called ‘Nelson’s’ brewery with its principle ale being called ‘the flagship’. This appetising ale was dispensed in copious amounts along the route of the returning hero’s body,

1815 - A mixed confederation of countries bore witness to Napoleon Bonaparte ravaging Europe then surge deep into Russia on a wild pub crawl at great cost in manpower and equipment. However, the crowns of England had gained information that French spies had seized a batch of ingredients from a brewery and were setting up a secret still in a farmhouse at Heugamont. This could not be allowed and the Duke of Wellington was dispatched to make closure of this threat and in doing so, was fully aware his presence would draw the attention of Bonaparte who was duly affronted and aggrieved.

As anticipated the French army marched day and night to protect the distillery and the two forces were to meet and clash at a place called Waterloo. The animosity felt between Napoleon and Wellington was such that there could never be an accord and as it exploded into violent disagreement

only the intervention of a third party, The Prussian Blues was to bring about a decisive decision in favour of the British and the event marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Peace was established in Europe at the Congress of Vienna.

1819 – Political unrest in the country was becoming a serious concern to the government. The general public cried out for political reform and greater representation in government, and at a particular rally, Manchester saw a crowd of 60,000–80,000 gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. Such unofficial gatherings were becoming unruly and lacking in control, worse still spilling out into the town centre.

In a vain attempt to gain control and avert a full-scale riot, the authorities ordered the closure of all public buildings, alehouses and places where numbers could gather. This was a major mistake and the final straw causing a riot to ensue that became known as the ‘Peterloo massacre’. This sad event was brought to a violent end after troops were ordered to intervene and were responsible for indiscriminate wounding of four hundred protestors and slaying fifteen more.

1829 - This year saw the Metropolitan Police Force set up by Robert Peel in an attempt to contain the raucous crowds that gathered at the end of each day’s revelry. In addition, Parliament passed the Catholic Relief Act, ending most restrictions on Catholic Civil Rights. They were allowed to own property and run for public office, including parliament. More importantly, when bars closed on Saturday night this access to a Catholic church first thing Sunday morning gave drinkers access to communion wine that was of great appeal to the converted and a sure fire way of getting the less righteous into church.

1834 - A small group of labourers were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Laborers and they became known as The Tolpuddle Martyrs. The rules of the society show it was clearly structured as a friendly society and operated as a trade-specific benefit society, however, at the time, friendly societies were gradually evolving strong elements of what we now consider is the predominant role of trade unions. They were subsequently sentenced to transportation to Australia.

Life in the vast continent of Australia was harsh and unforgiving, harvesting the most simple of crops was at the outset quite an ordeal. Little did they know that combined with the privations of their horrendous sea journey and the sheer hard labour in turning the dust bowls of the continent into fertile fields combined with the searing heat could not be quenched by more than water until this immature continent would evolve its own sustenance?

Whether by coincidence or not the Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire and reconstruction presented an opportunity for reviewing and revitalising government but such an ideal was little more than wishful thinking.

1839 and 42 – saw a steady increase in unrest in Wales opposed to the high tolls having to be paid on the Turnpike Roads. So much so that a riot took place on the 6th of June 1839 when a group of Welsh farmers attacked a Toll House. They destroyed the hated gate and smashed up the toll Keepers house and burned it to the ground.

Leadership in such times can arise from the strangest of places and Twn Carnabwth stepped to the fore to fill that role and reputedly he wore women’s clothes as a disguise when a further attack on a toll house was made (hanging was the sentence for rioting in those days). Legend tells us that these clothes were borrowed from a lady called Rebecca and over the course of time the riots became known as the Rebecca Riots.

Another story passed down through the generations is that a curfew was put on the land that all males were to be indoors after six at night until six in the morning. Thus, to plan and orchestrate the riotous actions the men dressed as women, gathered in local alehouses to conduct their plotting, then conducted the raids in woman’s clothing as a means of concealing their identity.

Other people took the belief that a specific passage from the bible gave them the Lords blessing, "And they blessed Rebecca, and said unto her, Thou art our sister. Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gates of those that hate them."

Nobody is entirely sure which reason for the name is true, but both could be correct. The riots flared up over the period 1839 to 1842, but lost momentum when two of the ringleaders were captured. They were both found guilty and, instead of being sentenced to death, they were sentenced to transportation and sent to Australia, which was then a 'prison island'. According to local legend, the men laughed when they were given this punishment, not realizing the severity in the complete absence of ale houses in which they could plot and scheme for some decades to come.

1841 - The first British Census recording the names of the whole populace of the United Kingdom is undertaken and the first weapon of ‘Big Brother’ begins. This was seen as a natural progression from the Domesday Book of 1086

1854 - Outside of being an act of rank stupidity, the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ was also an act of great courage and sacrifice. The Russians had placed themselves with cannon and musket at the end of a valley and ranged down two sides of the approach. Thus the command for the 17th lancers to charge into such horrendous odds was considered a gross error of judgement at officer level. The truth was, that the Russians had thought themselves clever in denying the passage back to the British Billets and place of refreshment, little knowing that this would enflame the lancers spirits more

The casualties were surprisingly light considering the size of the forces arranged against them, soldiers showed much unselfish love for fellow lancers. Had more survived that day and gone on to celebrate its achievement, the scant supply of ale for other ranks consumption would have been sorely stretched, to say nothing of the revelry the participants might have enjoyed when recounting exploits in the Inns of England when returning home.

The poem that came to life after the event gave it immortality, but it lacked detail and information that might cause embarrassment to both Queen and country. In essence it was common knowledge that the English serviceman would not be denied his daily ale and an enemy that thought otherwise, did so at their peril.

Half a pint, half a pint,

Half a pint downward,

all downed in Peckham Rye

drank the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Down with the ale! He said:

Into the back bar said Seth

drank the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismayed?

Not tho' the soldiers knew

Someone had blundered:

Theirs was not to make reply,

Theirs was not to reason why,

Theirs was to eat a pie:

Into the Frog and Toad

Drank the six hundred.

Women to the right of them,

Girl friends to the left of them,

Wives in front of them

Mothers in front of them

Screamed at by every girl,

Boldly they drank and well,

Into the claws of Beth

Into the mouth of Mel,

Drank the six hundred.

Gulped down through glasses glare,

Flashed as they turned in air,

gulping the ale down there.

Drinking and barmy, while

all the world wondered:

Plunging into cigarette smoke,

some spoke through pipe and choked:

Cossack and Russian

Reeled from the cancerous choke

Shattered and sundered.

Then they leaned back, but not--

Not the six hundred.

Women to the right of them,

Girl friends to the left of them,

Wives in front of them

Mothers in front of them

Coldly they sunk the ale,

Keg, draught and tankard swell,

They that consumed so well,

drank thro’ the jaws of Seth,

Sank through the mouth of Dell,

All that was left of them,

Left of the six hundred.

When can their glory fade?

Oh, the full glasses craved!

All the world wondered.

Honor the drink they made!

Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble Six Hundred!

Such is the lot of an Englishman!

1857 - The Second Opium War opens China to European trade. The British government knew all too well that free access to Opium as a pacifier for the poverty stricken populace did not challenge at least on a recreational level, thus there was no threat of any substance to the good English pint and the splendid way it served to transport the mind of a consumer, into a world far better than the one in which he resided.

At the same time the Indian mutiny erupts against British rule in the sub-continent. This vast continent had yielded many good crops for the Imperial crown of England, but when the Mother country started to use its very name to describe a simple commodity of alcohol then something had to be done.

Discovering that one of the more popular golden drinks consumed in vast quantities back in England was to be given the name Indian Pale Ale, or IPA, revolt became the only recourse and riots began in all the major cities of India simultaneously. However the name prevailed as living testimony to the quality of produce that emanated from the great continent of India.

1865 - Was the generic beginning of what we have come to know as the American trek westward. This epic exploration gave rise to many myths, legends, stories and beliefs that mustered around the Western United States from 1865 to 1890. Many folk heroes and legendary characters likened to the romantic imagery of Robin Hood were created out of meagre and often primitive verbalisations of stories handed down from one person to another.

Conflict as always accompanied progress as violent, small scale range wars exploded between settlers became commonplace. At the same time corruption and criminalised justice systems were also frequent, but the most criminal of all acts, was the treatment of the indigenous peoples loosely known as the American Indians, or contemptuously referred to as savages.

Their culture was regularly degraded to one of ridicule as this ethnic cleansing sought some form of justification. Alcohol too was introduced as a mind changing drug inducement, once more lending support to the inhuman subjugation that the white Anglo-Saxon inflicted upon these innocents. As if violent oppression were not enough, alien illnesses decimated their number further, they having never been in proximity of so many human ailments and illnesses until the white man’s arrival.

The tide of progress could not be halted as towns and farmsteads established themselves across the great plains of America, but all was not easy in these times of conquest and expansion and the greatest cost to life was the American Civil War. More American lives were lost than in all wars since. The public were persuaded that it was a war of human rights and the emancipation of the eleven million black people that resided within the great land mass, but the truth was much more simple and centred strongly around the industrial-fiscal economy of the Union. Meddling in the internal affairs of America was plentiful from Europe but the Union was forged and a new and insurmountable power was to grow from such violent contest.

1872 – Electors were given the right to cast a vote and have their choice remain a secret and this rule applied generally as part of the electoral system henceforth. Notwithstanding this, few voters recognize any difference between the policies of the main political parties, but it was still not public knowledge that the act of 1872 which guaranteed privacy no longer applied. Evidence of this fact can be witnessed presenting an electoral role number at a polling booth. It is entered upon a stub which has the tear off voting slip. That slip is handed to the voter and used, but it, like a cheque from a cheque book bears a unique and duplicate number on both voting slip and the booklet from whence it came. Thus private independent voting rights are little more than pure fiction.

1879 - The Battle at Rorke's Drift took place over the 22nd and 23rd of January and was a gallant defense by a small garrison force of 152 British soldiers, part of the Centre Column, against seemingly overwhelming odds of between 3000 and 4000 Zulus. The British were to award eleven Victoria crosses to the defenders, the most ever to be awarded in a single action in the history of the British Army.

It served the nations morale well in diminishing the severity of the British defeat at Isandhlwana where a force of seventeen hundred British soldiers was attacked and routed with but four hundred men including some Europeans surviving. It was deemed politic to praise the worthiness of the troop at Rorke’s Drift action as compensation, yet as brave a fight as they put on, the real motive force was only hinted at in the film ‘Zulu’ by the Vicar consuming copious amounts of alcohol in this simple irrelevant outpost used as a hospital. That building being the nearest thing to a roadside Inn that the troops could enjoy whilst serving in the dust bowl of southern Africa and thus give cause to defend it with great tenacity and bravery.

1880-1902 As much as British armed Forces were mobilized to halt the invasion of the Zulu nation, when a tenuous peace ensued. A military occupation occurred to the widespread resentment of the largely Dutch residents called Boers. Inevitably a war of independence began in a terrain that was totally alien to the normal style and tactics of the British red coats. Little had changed over the centuries when uniforms were designed so that the thick red wool of the red coat would conceal injury and act as minor defence against penetration by native weapons. The attitude of concealing injury had started back in the English Civil war where sergeants wore red sashes to conceal blood, which by looping his sash under their arms would drag them away and allow a replacement to step forward. Tradition continued and whereas the sash still worn now has a red tassel, in the seventeenth century these were matches (or chords) that were used to ignite the weapon of the time, a matchlock.

Military discipline was the bedrock of British success in the field but many years were to pass before the bright colour of a uniform would change for drab earthy colours to act as camouflage.

The process of change was slow and even resisted, but gradually our troops were issued with khaki uniform that suited the South African plateau and velts much better.

With an ocean separating the two continents the Boers adapted a fighting style not unlike that of the Native American Indians. British troops were being picked off one by one when in open order. Single shots decimated their number; a high price to pay to sustain dated tradition of movement. With no visible evidence of a sniper, capture was impossible and another victim would fall prey no sooner than the formation was resumed and the passage interrupted once again impeding progress.

Tacticians pondered and reverted to the old and tried method of ‘scorched earth’ and set fire to all the wheat fields which were the main ingredient to the Boers wheat based beers, but some thought that too extreme and beyond accepted rules Whereby the alternative established by the high command was a revelation that was not seen to be so severe and set a pattern that would evolve even further over ensuing wars.

It was decided that in any region where losses mounted an order was given to imprison the families, wives and children of the known insurgents who would be incarcerated in locations that were to become globally known as concentration camps. Military authorities let it be known that food and rations would be heavily depleted, even denied until the men folk surrendered to captivity and thus ensure their families receive basic provisions Consequently, by the cruelest of method a slow end was brought to this unfortunate conflict.

Only one concession was agreed in order to pacify the English parliament. Upon surrender of the Boers, England took hostage man named ‘Deucher’ a Boer patriot leader who provided his patriots with great encouragement. He accepted the conditions of house arrest in the UK and whiled away the hours by creating a well-respected liquid which he marketed in order to sustain his loose imprisonment in the United Kingdom.

1914-1918 - The Great War. The War to end all wars lasted four years and sowed the seeds of conflict for half a century.

Fought to an almost stationary position in mud soaked trenches usually running parallel and were separated only by coils of twisted barbed wire, the war was little more than slaughter. In time it degenerated to a war of attrition, where both sides were drained economically and demographically and a generation of mankind was culled, with tens of thousands simply vanishing in the mud filled fields of Belgium and France.

Generations of young men volunteered for service in droves and in doing so reduced the manpower to service the basic domestic needs the nation would require to survive. Industry too was hard pressed to service the extreme needs of warfare but many women stepped forward to fill that need and sometimes it cost them their lives. Scientists and politicians alike were fully aware that some of the chemicals required in constructing artillery shells were, quite simply deadly and the cost of life to thousands of young women was seen as a necessary sacrifice.

The fields lay fallow and foodstuff of the most elementary kind was having to be shipped by convoy from the New World. Thoughtfully the war cabinet suffering from the same essential shortages remembered that America enjoyed the patronage of the Founding Fathers from these shores and with discovery and settlement of the New Country, these brave adventurers’ propagated fields of English hops in bringing just a little bit of the home country to the New World. Thus their foresight may now serve their kinfolk as we called upon them to send the valuable crop to sustain the fight for freedom.

One import to Europe that was not anticipated was 180,000 American citizens who volunteered to fight for the Kaiser and Germany. What motivated such a significant number of men to volunteer to fight against the British is hard to grasp but it is generally accepted that they felt it their duty to fight in defence of their own home brewed ales’ ancestral origin of Budweisser, even though the European receipe gave a far more honest drink.

In contrast, Westminster’s parliament instructed a large quantity of dried hops be requisitioned for immediate transfer to the UK and the first shipment would take place covertly on a steam ship called the Lusitania. This ocean liner would also transport over one hundred U.S. citizens that would act as a human shield to allow the vessel to sail through U boat packs in safety.

But information was surreptitiously and mysteriously leaked to the German secret service that munitions were to be loaded into the hold. Thus it became a legitimate target with nothing being revealed about the other cargo of hops that might bring about an act of piracy and the ships capture rather than sinking thus affording safe haven within the starved nation of Germany.

The American populace were largely opposed to any involvement in the ‘European’ war and persuading them otherwise would best be served by some act of attack or atrocity and at that time U Boat captains conducted policy of warning a transport ship of imminent sinking and thus allowing the crew to abandon the doomed vessel before its descent to Davy Jones. But covert information made its sinking a legitimate act of war, yet the German embassy were mindful of the potential loss of civilian lives as well as the possible wider implications in sinking the vessel.

The German embassy in New York posted leaflets, placed posters and gave legitimate interviews on local radio advising civilians to not seek passage on this vessel as they intended to sink it and sink it they did. Even this was not enough to bring an end to the massive profits the US was making from the war, nor was explosive acts of sabotage on ships in US harbours. But when Germany made approaches to entice Mexico to invade the United States from the south, then that could not be permitted and on April 7th 1917 America declared war on Germany. Any risk imposed upon the southern states home brewed beers could not be tolerated, even if they were grossly inferior to that which was brewed in the Mother country.

Meanwhile on the western front the offensive had ground to a bloody halt and remained so until the Allies were supported by fresh American troops, and began their own offensive in late summer. With German military leadership recognizing they could not endure more losses in the face of this massive manpower input from the United States on September 29th, German military leaders requested the Imperial Government to start peace negotiations as soon as possible.

Those negotiations are now accepted as the first stage of the Second World War due to their severity. The only redeeming feature to such human waste was that privations of war had made certain commodities scarce and other such essentials such as beer were much reduced of demand by the loss of almost a whole generation of mankind that may have consumed it.

‘No greater gift can a person give,

than to give up his pint or his partner.’

But in 1917 like much mischief making over the course of history there was a propensity for the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol to fuel the minds and actions of dis-satisfied and desperate folk. Ale houses as a place of gathering respected no national boundary nor national ideology, nor did it make allowance for the variety of beverage that might launch ill conceived projects however worthy the intent.

Meanwhile the ancient custom with both political and genetic control in mind still ensued in Europe, through intermarriage between national Royal houses and whilst it was generally accepted that this would maintain the status quo, the massive intake of Vodka at all levels of society put good will between Great Britain and the new communist regime of Russia at risk. The relaxing aspect of consuming traditional English ale was seen as a weakness opposed to the long proven reality of passive consumption by all classes of society in the UK.

Thus whilst a large proportion of young manhood was slaughtering each other in the trenches of Europe a group of men drank deeply of vodka and spoke shallowly of political systems and national government and to initiated a movement of working class origin that would suffer from the reality and greed of mankind which would erode the purity of concept. The October Revolution was led by the leader of the Bolsheviks, Vladimir Lenin and was based upon the writing and ideas of Karl Marx, a political ideology sometimes known as Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century. It was far less sporadic than the earlier revolution of February and came about as the result of deliberate planning and coordinated activity to that end.

Though Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party, it has been argued that since he was not present during the actual takeover of the Winter Palace, it was really Trotsky's organization and direction that led the revolution, spurred by the motivation Lenin instigated within his party that would topple a whole regime, the Tsarist power that presided over Russia at the same time as directing its armed forces to oppose those of the Kaiser in the greater global contest of that time.

However one major hurdle existed in this plan insomuch as Trotsky had been exiled and hounded from one country to another and following a short time in Spain he moved to the United States and from here, as news from home dictated he began his journey homeward, and did so via Canada. The great ally of democracy and Imperial member of the old Empire, Canada was complicit in allowing this essential figure to return to his ‘motherland’ and forge the policy and international attitude at a time when all nations concerned were allied and fought generally against the common foe, the Huns.

Potential outcome of the allies allowing free movement of this essential figure must have been known to them, so is it simple theory that makes them complicit in the birth of a movement that in the very early stage of development was to take the great continent of Russia out of the Great war by agreement and peace treaty in March 1918 thus releasing large German forces to vacate the eastern front and boost their comrades in the west that still stood foursquare against the newly arrived Americans and the stalwart troops of their European enemies.

Ironically one of the negotiators that allowed safe transit to Trotsky to take his destined role to fruition in the communist Revolution was also one of the negotiators of the so called peace treaty imposed upon the German nation in 1918 and imposes reparations that would cripple Germany’s economy and ability to sustain itself as a viable nation.

En par with the great raft of coincidences that would appear contradictory to the interest of democracy was the name given to a national drink in the UK, Red Barrel. Was this choice of colour another accident of the time, or was its chemical ingredients set loose on the world to weaken its resolve in the fight for self determination, at the same time match the colour of the workers party banner the Red Flag?

The cost to human life; nine million combatants with seven million permanently disabled and another fifteen million seriously injured. On top of such horrendous losses the world suffered a global influenza epidemic that took a further forty four million lives. But what impact can be measured at the pogroms of Russia and the slaughter of all opponents to the new regime that began in 1917, and thus nurture other evils to grow from the ashes and spread its ugly shadow of political control without exception, across the globe.

Survivors of the Great War returned to ‘a land fit for heroes’, a land full of poverty, recession and ultimately the great depression of 1923. Poverty, despair, despondency and sheer desperation were the common lot of the starving. From such desolation spread extreme measures. Normal politics and government could not sustain a nation having forfeit so much in global warfare and Europe descended into political extremes. Initially following the path of the Bolsheviks more patriotic working classes also turned to its opposite. Allegiances wavered or were further reinforced; common sense of purpose was a natural price to pay when nations descended to such extremes as prohibition.

Primarily in Europe the masses succumbed to one extreme or another (albeit the United States evolved similar groups within its own continent but this did not deter leading figures such as President Bush’s grandfather from financially backing the National Socialist German Workers Party).

1932- On 20 February, a true visionary a Mr. R.J. Mitchell submitted his Type 224 aircraft design for approval which he referred to as "The Shrew" and it first took to the air on the 19th of February 1934, but it initially suffered rejection by the RAF because of its unsatisfactory performance. The next phase came with the 224 being superseded after authorization by the maker Vickers-Supermarine in 1933 to proceed with a new design, the Type 300, an all-metal monoplane that would become the Supermarine Spitfire. This was originally a private venture by Supermarine, but the RAF quickly became interested and the Air Ministry financed a prototype.

The concept itself grew from strength to strength and a sadly the father of its design was to succumb to cancer in 1937 and never saw the descendant of ‘The Shrew’ in its full glory. The Spitfire was the salvation in many ways of the British nation and the legacy was to last well into the 21st century in the ale houses of Sheppard Neame and the memories of all true blue Englishmen.

1936 - In October a group 200 men from the north-eastern town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London. Their purpose was to highlight the plight of the working classes suffering 70 per cent unemployment to what they thought to be the affluent south

Ellen Wilkinson, the local MP, was to later write, ‘There was no work. No one had a job except a few railwaymen, officials, the workers in the co-operative stores, and a few workmen who went out of the town... the plain fact [is] that if people have to live and bear and bring up their children in bad houses on too little food, their resistance to disease is lowered and they die before they should.' Furthermore the Working Men’s Clubs were dry of beer and none was to be delivered form the oldest brewery in England in Faversham. Let them drink their own juices said one unsympathetic local, why should we subsidize their life with the golden nectar created by Shepard Neame.

1937 – Flight was by no mean new in 1937 but passenger transit through the air was still embryonic and the accepted state of the art means of numerical movement was in the great airships such as the Hindenburg. Made in Germany this was seen as the height of comfort and to give further comfort to the vessels select passengers a revolutionary form of ale delivery was installed at the main bar to serve the passengers. Basically a cellar to store any fluids was obviously out of the question but gas operated pump system to pour ale that was vertical to both storage and consumption seemed the answer. The pressurized gas however did not travel well and it remains a firm suspicion that this un-gamely source of ale delivery caused the spark and explosion that brought the great airship down in flames on May the sixth 1937 costing the life of thirty five of its passengers including one ground crew member..

1939 - Adolf Hitler embarked upon a major and ambitious pub-crawl that started with Czechoslovakia, and then moved on through Holland, Belgium and France. As fast as this campaign was to unfold it took little time to recognize the true prize to fill his glass with abundance, was in England. Hence in savouring his victory over the Poles knowing he magnanimously shared that victory of territorial gain with the Russians. He must have mused upon the reflection that Britain knew his ultimate goal, and that Russia shared no such aspirations. After all, his pact with the Russians was a two headed coin. If Britain had acted in a purely moral manner in defence of Poland, she would have declared war on Russia at the same time and thus save Hitler the task in 1941/2, but if it didn’t and the Russians became allies to the free world then he would deal with the red peril whilst instigating ‘lebensraum’ and his conquest of Russia. In the meantime he could depend upon Russia’s influence on the British psyche whilst consuming Red Barrel bitter during the embattled years of the blitz. Thus Hitler was further saved from instigating his plan to swamp the British mainland with counterfeit money to undermine the economy, instead of which he could flood its manhood with alien fluids of political colouring (red barrel)

Meantime with no small measure of pride that I remind the good people of England of one of Winston Churchill’s more famous speeches whilst those closer to that great Prime Minister recall his ramblings when penning his speech to paper before its delivery.

“We shall go on till closing time,

we shall fight off any interlopers,

we shall fight in the car parks and public bars,

we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the bars,

we shall defend our public houses,

whatever the cost may be,

we shall fight in the Saloon bars,

we shall fight in the family gardens,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender,

and even if,

Which I do not for a moment believe,

this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving,

then our Empire beyond the seas,

armed and guarded by the British Fleet,

would carry on the struggle, until,

in God's good time,

the New World, with all its power and might,

steps forth to the rescue of good old English ale.”

Winnie of course had firsthand experience of war in both the Boer and the Great War, and knew only too well of the trials and tribulations that a nation must face. With true innovative insight, he instituted a whole army of individuals to fill the shoes of land-workers and men-folk of military age and instituted the Women’s Land Army. Thus a truly essential service came into being that was to play a pivotal role in the ultimate victory over the Hun. Womenfolk of England rallied to the colours and the hop fields of England flourished gainfully without delay and remained so through the whole ordeal of the war and after.

Of course our politicians would tell us we were fighting for freedom from persecution and democracy but such concepts are admirable when in reality that on the first day of World War Two, His Majesty's ship "Lorna" fired on the limping overcrowded passenger ship the "Tiger Hill" as she neared Palestine with 1417 Jewish refugees. The first human casualties at the hands of British forces were not Germans but Jewish escapees from Germany. And at the same time other refugee ships (e.g. the "St. Louis") were refused entry into the US and sent back to Germany and a most uncertain and risky future.

It would take a resolute English mind to concentrate on the real reasons for the war and defend the Garden of England and the produce this nation was to enjoy at the envy of the developing world.

1940 - Blitzkrieg was a totally new and unknown tactic, but it worked. Germany caught the combined allied forces completely off guard and pushed them ingloriously southward. Command Head Quarters knew that in order to recover as many ground troops as possible and thus preserve a viable force in which to carry the fight on, then they had to find an area to hold, evacuate and survey for future engagement.

It was decided with due consideration to select the closest areas of French coastline to embark from in full knowledge that as time passed a strong and resolved manhood could be implemented with an army of white vans, anticipating easy pickings of VAT less products from the European continent.

Thus, Dunkirk was selected knowing that other dock facilities were not available at Calais and Cherbourg. However it took no less than 900 Royal; Naval and civilian vessels to lift the 338,000 men from the beaches. This supreme effort came at no small cost and whilst they landed at every harbour and inlet on the south coast, it was a cup of tea most welcome that created the reality of being home and as they listened to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, describe the "miracle of deliverance" from Dunkirk and warned of an impending invasion. Moreover, with that sobering thought there was sunk a great quantity of a good English beer in anticipation of the threatened invasion.

The only time there was even a hint of panic was when the small ships captains realized that they might not reach Blighty till after closing time. None the less each ship embarked with its precious cargo regardless.

It was later that year that the most significant battle for Britain was to occur in the skies over Kent. Field Marshall Goering promised the Fuhrer that he would annihilate the Royal Air Force on the ground and then with air supremacy, operation ‘Sea Lion’, or the invasion of Britain could be launched with relative confidence.

Consequently, the Germans launched a sustained and massive attack on Britain’s airfields and installations and in those dark days, young British pilots fought hard and long to keep them at bay. Sometimes replacement pilots would perish on their first sorte and it became a sad statistic that on average, a pilot would survive but four hours flying time before being shot down.

Their supreme efforts were recognized by Prime Minister Churchill making the famous speech.

‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

(By which only those closest to him knew that he referred to a small minority that would subsidize the purchasing of beer in the N.A.A.F.I where junior officers were less able. Thus, spirits were kept high during a time when air engagements might occur up to three times a day).

Bravery of these young men has become a legend. Over five hundred British aircraft were shot down, and such losses could not be sustained. Tactically it was decided to divert the enemy’s attention. Knowing what a megalomaniac Hitler was, it was tactically decided to launch a minor raid on Berlin with somewhat antiquated Wellington bombers. The raids purpose was achieved and changed the whole course of the war, as Hitler made his enraged speech claiming he would destroy every city in England. As a result, he diverted his attacks from the near exhausted Fighter Command to civilian targets in British cities and the Royal Air Force were granted an essential repeal in which to recover, regroup and finally emerge victorious over the ‘Battle of Britain’.

Meantime propaganda announcements were made about three German bombers that dropped their ordinance on London inadvertently and thus the raid on Berlin was justified. What was justified was more like tactically essential in diverting the enemies attack in order to recover form the previous onslaught

Beleaguered squadrons were able to engage with great success attacking bomber forces both inbound and homebound at a massive cost to the enemies manpower and aircraft and it was this realization that influenced the final decision to revert to night raids on a much-reduced scale. You see Goering had not accounted for the fact that however large his attacks were, the kill rate was such that his aircraft were left as burning hulks in the hop fields of Kent, and what on earth would be the point of launching a ground attack on a country, when its principle asset was destroyed inadvertently by your own hand.

Wartime evokes many secrets with few as important as the true proportions of hops, malt and fluids that go into brewing traditional ales, but one secret did come close to public domain, in that the German code system had been broken, and we were to gain advance warning of air raids that would allow us to take proportionate precautions. Unbeknown to Hitler, his major air offensive on Coventry was well known within Whitehall, who in their wisdom, decided not to divert additional forces to defend it, otherwise it might appear obvious that we had received advance warning. Coventry was not known culturally for its good beer so its destruction was simply considered an acceptable cost of war.

Ironically it was the provision of ball bearings from the United States that made the blitz on Britain so horrifically successful at the outset, America finally joined the war for democracy and civilization one of the leading figures in the Ball Bearing Trust the SKF company in Sweden was second cousin to Herman Goring. Continued trade was also to cause the resignation of Vice President Batt of the War Production Board of the United States who could not in all conscience allow the US arms industry and aircraft production to suffer continued shortages of a material that was still being provided to the tune of 600000 units per year to Nazi Germany. If denied to the Germans this would simply seize up the forward mechanization of Germany’s blitzkrieg and bring it to a sudden and abrupt halt.

The irony of this was compounded by the largest German cartel the chemical, film and pharmaceutical giant I.G. Farben. Based in the United States Farben produced 85% of Germany's explosives in World War Two. Further supported by the agreement that Standard Oil supplied the Nazis with petroleum in spite of shortages in the US. It also supplied a rare lead additive without which the Luftwaffe could not fly. It suppressed the production of synthetic rubber in the US, which almost cost the Allies the war.

On a lighter note the chocolate giant Nestle enjoyed prolific trade when supplying the Wermacht with daily rations of chocolate to its troops. Given the value of sugar input to the human body for energy, we must remain thankful that the brewing industry did not betray democracy by supplying essential fluids to act as incentive to an enemy whose only choice of securing such products was by invasion.

1943 - The Dam Busters raid took place on May the 17th; The Special Operations Executive spent a great deal of their time dreaming up dirty tricks actions to inflict upon the hapless Germans and often allowed imagination to rule over good sense when considering such activities. Exploding dog poo was just one development to bring a smile to the innovators and whilst testing of the bouncing bomb to achieve the destruction of hydraulic dam installations in the Ruhr district another opportunity of mischief was recognized in the simple shape of the bouncing bomb.

Extensive tests were conducted on the device off the coast of north Kent and it was deemed no accident that the shape of the bomb was somewhat reminiscent of a large barrel of beer. This fact did not go un-noticed and even though shortages and rationing had major impact upon all domestic and luxury items on a daily basis, it was considered an evil twist to dispose of several firkin of ‘Watneys’ red barrel on the raid. It was considered that when the barrel burst it would pollute the waters

Jan 07, '13
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