Morrells Brewing Company

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Morrells label.
Morrels oxford fine ales ashtray

Morrells Brewing Company was a brewery in Oxford, England, which operated under that name between 1782 and 1998. The brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney.[1] He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners.[2] Morrells' range of ales included "Varsity".[citation needed]

Morrells brewed its ales at the Lion Brewery in St Thomas Street. In the 19th century Morrells redeveloped and added to the Lion Brewery a number of times. A large brewing shed was added in 1879, a blacksmith's shop and engine house in 1880, a further shed and new yard in 1882, stables in 1889, new offices in 1892, a tun room in 1895, further offices in 1897 and a tall octagonal chimney in 1901.[3] All these developments were designed by the local architect Harry Drinkwater,[3] who also designed a number of public houses for Morrells.[4] The Lion Brewery was powered by a waterwheel on a backwater of the River Thames, supplemented by steam engines for which the engine house was built.[3]

Morrell Avenue was built 1929–31 in the east Oxford suburb of Headington and is named after the Morrell family, who used to live on their estate at Headington Hill Hall to the north, including South Park which Morrell Avenue borders.[5]

After an acrimonious family dispute, the brewery was closed in 1998.[6] The beer brands were acquired by Refresh UK and are now owned by Marstons. The 132 tied pubs were bought by Michael Cannon, owner of the American hamburger chain Fuddruckers, through a new company, Morrells of Oxford.[7] [8]The new owner sold most of the pubs on to Greene King in 2002.[9]

The Lion Brewery site was redeveloped for luxury apartments in 2002.[10] The waterwheel and tall, yellow brick chimney were retained but only the façades were retained of the other buildings.[3]


  1. ^ Allen, Brigid (1994). Morrells of Oxford: The family and their brewery 1743–1993. Oxfordshire Books. ISBN 9780750906340. 
  2. ^ "History of Headington, Oxford". 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d Woolley, 2010, page 79
  4. ^ Tyack, 1998, page 269
  5. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Morrell Avenue / Morrell's Brewery". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 261. ISBN 0-333-39917-X. 
  6. ^ "Morrells Brewery up for sale". Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  7. ^ "Jericho Echo". Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Brewer buys pub chain for £67 million". BBC News. 2002-06-18. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  10. ^ "Brewery site plan nears final hurdle". 2001-02-19. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 

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