History of the Company
The making of a brewery in Bedford
In 1875 Charles Wells arrived back in Bedford after 20 years in the Merchant Navy. He is the second son of George wells, who owns a furniture shop in the High Street. Charles was engaged to a girl called Josephine Grimbley but her father said that if Charles is to marry her, there will be no more sea journeys! So Charles settled down and bought a brewery and thirty two pubs at an auction for £16,700.
He was very industrious; he remodelled the brewery and got it working very smoothly. In the first year, Charles made a profit of £829. In the first four years, Charles had increased the number of barrels brewed from 3,229 to 5,632, and by 1880, he had bought six pubs. The brewery continued to expand rapidly and by 1890, Charles Wells owned 80 pubs and brewed 12,552 barrels of beer a year. By the 1900s, profits had increased to £15,000.
He had lots of children and so did they, so the Wells family was able to continue to be involved in each generation, looking after the beers and the brewery and investing in new equipment. Some local breweries were bought when they became available, in towns such as St Neots, Newport Pagnall and Northampton, which gave them extra pubs for the beers to go to.