History of the Company
The making of a brewery in Bedford
Bedford born Charles Wells was a Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy. In the early 1870s he met his sweetheart Josephine Grimbley while on leave and the pair later became engaged. However Charles’ prospective father-in-law wouldn’t give his daughter’s hand to a sea-faring man so he took a drastic career change. In 1875 Charles bought a brewery and thirty two pubs for £16,700 in his hometown of Bedford.
Charles was very industrious and went on to remodel the brewery on Horne Lane and get it working smoothly. In his first year Charles made a profit of £829 and within four years he had increased the number of barrels brewed from 3,229 to 5,632 and had bought six more pubs. The brewery continued to expand rapidly and by 1890, Charles Wells owned 80 pubs and was brewing 12,552 barrels of beer per year. By the 1900s, profits had increased to £15,000.
Charles had lots of children who went on the give him lots of grandchildren and each generation of the Wells family continued to be involved in the business. As well as investing in new equipment the company bought some other local breweries in towns such as St. Neots, Newport Pagnall and Northampton, which provided extra pubs for the beers to go to.
Want to know more? Check out our Charles Wells Website.