Leeds Brotherton Library


I will be starting my residency at The Tetley, Leeds on the 9th March, where I will be based at their residency studio with the former Tetley brewery headquarters. The early modernist building was designed in 193-, and the building is now owned by Carlsberg, who took over manufacturing of Tetley in 1931. I went to a heritage tour by a Master brewer at The Tetley last year, but I wanted to learn more about the history of the business. There is a small archive of Tetley related items held at the headquarters, so I also looked in local library resources at the Brotherton Library at The University of Leeds.

The Brotherton Library, at the University of Leeds, is a stunning example of a 1930’s library built round a rotunda. I have visited before several years ago, and it was wonderful to revisit this beautiful historical architecture. I viewed the items within the special collections department which is a large and very well organised archive that was busy with other people viewing pre booked items. If you are interested in booking items for research, you can search their archive here https://library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections

The archive assistant, Helen Price, was very helpful in locating further archives for research, such as The West Yorkshire Archive Service.

I viewed the book ‘Quality Pays’, by Clifford Lackey, which explains the history of The Tetley family back Henry VIII, as ancestors of The Tetley family; whom before becoming brewers were a range of framers, merchants and maltsters. When Joshua Tetley began brewing in 1822, his father having had a successful malting business previously. He married Hannah at 29, and had 7 children, only one of which was a boy. The successful brewery continued through the years with grandfather, father and son running the company. It was not until 1919 that women were employed in business, carrying out physical roles that men would previously. They worked 7 days a week, and showed ‘no signs of physical weakness’!

Despite this brief interlude, looking through the imagery and documentation over the years, specifically the portraits of chairmen and staff, the business was a patriarchy, run by men, making beer for men. The business went through many changes over the years, acquiring and selling pubs, and various mergers, before it was purchased by Carlsberg in 1988.

The Tetley notes also included in-depth research into the profiles of their public house across the country by a historian. Unfortunately, I cannot share images of the documents due to copyright.




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