THIS week in Yester Years, we are taking a look at this history of one of Warrington’s most famous employers.

Tetley Walkers’ brewery on Dallam Lane finally called ‘Time’ on its operation in 1994 and so ended an era…

But in last week’s Warrington Guardian, we told the story of its triumphant return, via the saleroom, at The Auction Centre, Runcorn.

A diminutive Irish whisky water jug, standing a mere 13.5 cms high by Doulton, Lambeth and adorned only with the printed legend ‘Peter Walker and Son. Warrington and Burton’, fetched £1,300 at auction, a full £800 more than any previous estimate and £1,200 more than similar items available on auction websites.

Warrington Guardian:

Michael Bain, senior auctioneer and director of The Auction Centre expounds: “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.”

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).

Warrington Guardian: The Halliwell Jones Stadium will play host to the match between England under 17s and the Australian Institute of Sport

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% proof by today’s measuring standards.

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

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.