“…where eagles dare not perch…”*

*William Shakespeare’s Richard III Act I, Scene III :

The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch”.

“Eagle Chambers (pictured, in Kingston, now the premises of True Tattoo) which was identified in (George) Phillipson‘s Directory of 1880, still can be seen at the corner of Eden Street and St James’ Road.”

Certain industries such as malting were rendered commercially unviable once the railway arrived and considerably lowered the transport costs (and therefore the price) of malthouses beyond Kingston’s vicinity, but brewing itself continued to thrive well into the 20th century. Four key firms dominated the Kingston brewing trade: Hodgson’s, Nightingales, East’s and Fricker’s. Hodgson’s was the largest, operating on a sprawling site on Brook Street adjacent to the Hogsmill River that had been developed through the second half of the 19th century.

These breweries would once have made a collective visual impact on Kingston, making it appear a town of industry, but due to redevelopment this is now difficult to appreciate overall in terms of townscape. Only along the Thames at the empty site of the Eagle Brewery is it possible to gain the sense that large-scale functional buildings were once characteristic of this working quarter of the town.


“The Kingston Brewery, on Brook Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, was established about 1610. Fricker’s Eagle Brewery was opened here in the early 19th century by Thomas Fricker

It was owned by Charles Rowlls in 1854 when it was acquired by the Hodgson brothers, wine merchants, of St Mary Axe. The company was incorporated in 1886.

They acquired Fricker’s when it was put up for sale in 1903. Despite a Chancery case by the Fricker family, Hodgson’s, who were interested in the 28 associated tied houses, succeeded in closing the brewery. The frontage to the Eagle Tap remained.

The brewery premises were retained until 1923, when they were sold to corn merchants Osborne and Young.

Hodgson’s acquired F.A. Crooke and Company Limited, Guildford Brewery, Guildford, in 1929. The company was itself acquired by Courage and Company Ltd in 1943; and went into voluntary liquidation in 1965.”

From: Archives in London and the M25 area

Other sources: The former site of Fricker’s Eagle Brewery Wharf is now a public open space along the riverside. The Ram pub, now owned by Greene King, lies beside the wharf, and was the brewery’s tied house.

In the 19th century there lay alongside the brewery a timber yard that had provided oak for the Palace of Westminster, and a tannery which made use of the oak bark.

G.J. Palmer and Sons used Eagle Wharf, amongst others, to unload seacoal brought directly from the northern collieries, from the 1920s to the mid 1960’s.

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