On Friday 25th June, Member of Parliament for Burton-on-Trent and Uttoxeter, Kate Griffiths, visited representatives of the National Brewery Heritage Trust (NBHT) at the National Brewery Centre (NBC) in Burton.
Meeting with Harry White, Chairman of the NBHT, and fellow trustees, Wendy Toon and Terry Critchley, Kate heard
about the Trust’s important work in caring for a treasure trove of artefacts and documents at the NBC, which tells the story of more than 250 years of brewing in Britain.
A highlight of the event was a demonstration of the online archive, launched in July 2020. The website is part of an ongoing project to catalogue and digitise the half a million items cared for by the NBHT at the NBC. The archival and museum collections encompass all aspects of brewing, from grain to glass, including agriculture, transport and advertising, as well as sport and entertainment.
During the visit, Kate viewed a selection of manuscripts and inspected some of the historic vehicles, including a barley wagon which has been restored by the Trust’s volunteers. She also visited the stables where she met horseman, Barry Coffen, and Jed, one of the shire horses. Chairman of the NBHT, Harry White, presented Kate with a limited edition bottle of ‘Archive Ale’, produced to celebrate the launch of the online catalogue, and a selection of coasters based on beer mats from the collection.
The NBC reopened to the public on Wednesday 19 May after a prolonged closure due to restrictions surrounding Covid-19. In the last year, Kate helped Planning Solutions Ltd., the company responsible for managing the NBC, to secure grant funding from East Staffordshire Borough Council. This has helped sustain the popular tourist attraction through a challenging few months.
Speaking after the visit, Kate Griffiths MP said: “It was wonderful to meet Harry and the trustees of the NBHT. The Trust plays an essential role in documenting the history of British brewing, and Burton as its capital.”
“I was pleased to be able to help Planning Solutions Ltd, who manage the National Brewery Centre, to secure a financial grant during the period of lockdown restrictions, and will continue to do all I can to support the long-term future of the Centre and of the Trust.
Harry White, Chair of the National Brewing Heritage Trust, added: “It was great that we were able to show Kate the online archive launched last summer, which ensured continued access to our amazing collection of brewing and pub heritage throughout the temporary closure of the Visitor Centre.”
“We continue to look for new volunteers to help with the conservation and upkeep of our collection, as well as to develop the online archive by cataloguing items. We would encourage anyone interested to get in touch via our website.”
Mike Stickland of Planning Solutions Ltd. commented: “This has been a difficult time, but we are now welcoming back visitors to the National Brewery Centre, and encourage people to come to our events and view the unique collection of 500,000 artefacts and documents related to British brewing that is cared for here by the National Brewery Heritage Trust.”