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Story Of London

Shakespeare, Dr Johnson, the Brewery and the Hyena of Brescia


Shakespeare’s Globe closed its doors in 1644 and never reopened. Beside it was a small brewhouse and although Cromwell’s Puritans closed all the theatres they left the breweries alone. The entire site went on to become home to a famous brewery which sported the rotund Dr Johnson in its Logo. The brilliantly moustachioed Julius Haynau was an Austrian General whose treatment of the women of Brescia scandalised all of Europe. Then he came to London and visited the brewery …

The Globe
In 1989, the remains of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre were discovered at Anchor Terrace, Southwark under the car park of what had been Courage’s Brewery. The Brewery had been expanded and developed in 1710 by a Mr Halsey who subsequently sold it to Ralph Thrale of Streatham. Thrale’s son, Henry, took over the business in 1758 and under his management it became the fourth largest in London. His wife, Hester, was a friend and benefactor of Samuel Johnson and provided a home for him at her house in Streatham Street for more than sixteen years. When Henry Thrale died in 1781, Johnson was one of his executors and arranged the sale of the Brewery to the wealthy Quaker family of merchants, the Barclays, founders of Barclays Bank. They went into partnership with John Perkins, the manager at the brewery, and began trading as Barclay, Perkins & Company. By 1815 it had become the leading brewery in London and produced more than 330,000 barrels of porter a year. The enlarged brewery became one of the sights of London and its fame spread abroad with one of its products, Russian Imperial Stout, which was widely sold on the continent. The brewery was destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1832 but was quickly rebuilt and enlarged. The firm merged with Courage in 1955 and the Southwark brewery was reconstructed and modernised in 1960. In 1986 the site was acquired for redevelopment by the Hanson Group which financed the 1989 archaeological excavation. After the discovery of the Globe remains the site was designated a scheduled Ancient monument by English Heritage. The modern Globe Theatre does not occupy the original site but is situated further to the west beside the modern riverfront.The bankers had been initially hesitant at taking on the brewery but were persuaded by Johnson’s robust argument that “We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice”. He was not wrong of course and they rewarded him by naming one of their products “Barclay’s Doctor” and using an image of him clutching a pint pot in their logo. The Anchor brewery was one of the sights of London and visitors flocked to see it. Amongst them were the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, Bismarck and napoleon III and it is referred to more than once in the novels of Dickens. In 1850 Peter Cunningham, in his Hand-Book of London tells us that:Anchor Brewery“The establishment in Park-street is now the largest of its kind in the world. The buildings extend over ten acres, and the machinery includes two steam engines. The store-cellars contain 126 vats, varying in their contents from 4000 barrels down to 500. About 160 horses are employed in conveying beer to different parts of London. The quantity brewed in 1826 was 380,180 barrels, upon which a duty of ten shillings the barrel, 180,090l., was paid to the revenue; and in 1835, the malt consumed exceeded 100,000 quarters.”Julius Jakob Baron von Haynau (1780-1858) was an Austrian General who played a large part in the suppression of the Hungarian revolt in 1849 after which he was appointed Dictator of Hungary. He was famous for his stupendous moustaches but became notorious in 1848-49 when he ruthlessly and savagely suppressed the Italian revolt against the Austrians. All of Europe was scandalised when, after the siege of Brescia, he had a group of women, suspected of spying, stripped naked and flogged almost to death by his soldiers. This action earned him the nickname of the Hyena of Brescia In 1850 he paid a visit to London and decided that he had to see the famous brewery. His notoriety was such that his name was well known on the London Streets from the activities of the Street Patterers
. When he announced his intention of visiting the Brewery, the Austrian Ambassador was uneasy and attempted to dissuade him from so public an excursion.Baron von Haynau
It happened that, amongst the clerks at Barclays and Perkins was a refugee from Vienna who knew the famous moustaches and who recognised the Hyena as soon as he walked through the gate. He raised the alarm and Haynau was at once surrounded by a crowd of indignant draymen and brewers. They lost no time in administering rough justice. They could not resist the temptation of the moustaches and he soon found himself being pulled two ways at once. Some punches were also landed before he escaped down an alley pursued by the brewery workforce brandishing brooms, throwing stones and hollering “Hyena” and “Down with the Austrian Butcher” after him. He took refuge in the George Inn from which he was rescued by a detail of the Watch and whisked across the rive in a boat.A diplomatic war naturally followed. The Austrian Ambassador demanded explanations. Viscount Palmerston was Foreign Secretary in the Government of Lord John Russell at the time. His reply regretted what had occurred but he added that in his opinion the General had “evinced a want of propriety in coming to England at the present moment;” and that the brewery men were just expressing their feelings at what they considered inhuman conduct” by a man who “was looked upon as a great moral criminal”. Privately he is known to have exclaimed that they should have “Tossed him in a blanket, rolled him in a barrel, and sent him home in a cab.”Vienna was incandescent and unfortunately for Palmerston, he had neglected to show his letter either to the Victoria, who expected this level of consultation, or even to Russell. The Palace was furious. Prince Albert was especially indignant. He regarded the conduct of the employees of the brewery with disgust and described it as “a slight foretaste of what an unregulated mass of illiterate people is capable.”Palmerston, who had never been popular with the queen, was instructed to withdraw his note and replace it with another from which all censure of Haynau had been removed. The Foreign Secretary refused and threatened to resign. The Prime Minister was unbending. The Palace held its breath – hoping for the resignation. Then Palmerston suddenly capitulated, withdrew the note and sent a conciliatory apology to Vienna. However, the Austrians remained so resentful that they refused to send a representative to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington in 1852.Public feeling was completely on the side of the draymen, who became the heroes of many a street ballad and turned many a penny for the Patterers for years after. This is the text of one of the Patters:”The other day as you must know,
In Barclay’s brewhouse he did go
And signed his bloody name “Haynau.
The fellow that flogged the women.
Baron Rothchild did him shend,
And in the letter which he penn’d
He shaid the sheneral wash his friend,
And so good a man he could not mend.
CHORUS: Rumpsey bumsy -bang him well –
Make his back and sides to swell
Till he roars aloud with dreadful yell,
The fellow that flogged the women.”And when the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi visited England in 1864, he insisted on visting the brewery to thank “the men who flogged Haynau”. And Haynau himself. His term as Dictator of Hungary lasted only a few months into 1850 – he was dismissed for using excessive violence.