A SMALL jug with a link to to one of Warrington’s most famous industries has made a remarkable profit at auction.

This small brown water jug, standing just 13.5 centimetres tall, confounded expectations and sold for £1,300 at a Runcorn auction – £800 more than its estimate.

Tetley Walkers’ brewery on Dallam Lane called ‘Time’ on its operation in 1994 and so ended an era until its triumphant return, via the saleroom, at The Auction Centre, Runcorn.

Michael Bain, senior auctioneer and director of The Auction Centre, said: “Our seller had no idea that the jug had any value at all. However, the level of pre-sale interest in this lot was unprecedented. Our seller is naturally delighted with the result.”

Warrington Guardian:

The jug

Mike Peterson, Newsletter editor of the Association for British Brewery Collectibles (ABBC), was also surprised.

He said: “This is a superb jug, but I am surprised at the price it sold for. If someone had asked me about that jug before hearing about the price it reached, I would have valued it at up to £500.”

Mr Peterson went on to explain that the jug was almost certainly late Victorian and therefore exceptionally rare.:

“It is not easy to date accurately. However, you have an excellent clue on the jug itself with the name on the jug appearing as ‘Peter Walker and Son Ltd’. Since it describes itself as ‘Ltd’, you can date the jug to after 1889, when it was registered as a limited company,” he said.

“The company became ‘Walker Cain’ in 1946, so it must date before then. However, I am sure this jug is pre-1900. For its age, it appears to be in excellent condition.”

Peter Walker’s first site in Warrington was on King Street before moving the brewery to Dallam Lane (now demolished and part of the car park of the Halliwell Jones Stadium). He was quite the astute businessman as well as a brewer of some renown and quickly realised the potential in pale ale if only it could be rendered more cost effective, transportable and importantly, exportable to Queen Victoria’s growing empire.

He came up with an invention called the ‘Burton Union’ and quickly patented his model. His original was barely used in the industry, but his patent ensured that the name and idea earned him his fortune. It’s modern day namesake is still in use for Marston’s ‘Pedigree’ ales and earned Warrington a place in brewing history. This invention enabled the export of pale ale, now better known as India Pale Ale. Rather curiously at that time, pale ale was considered to be of a weaker, ‘inferior’ strength. It would be about 18 per cent proof by today’s measuring standards.

The little brown jug is one of the increasingly rare glimpses of that bygone era.

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The closure of the brewery in the mid 1990s

It remembers a brewery which as recently as 1996 still brought fame, prosperity and employment to Warrington and by achieving such an amazing hammer price, surely demonstrates the enduring affection for the Peter Walker and Son, Warrington and Burton name that was central to the lives of so many for so long

For further information contact Michael Bain and his team at enquiries@theauctioncentre.co.uk or tel. 01928 579796