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Brewery rescues memorials and joins acts of remembrance

Northamptonshire remembered those who fought and fell in war yesterday, one century after the end of the First World War.

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Alongside the traditional wreath laying ceremony at All Saints Church in Northampton there were all kinds of other commemorations.

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At the Albion Bar the revived Phipps Brewery celebrated recovering memorials to workers from the original Phipps company who died in the First World War.

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The marble slabs were restored and redicated in a ceremony conducted by Father Oliver Coss and unveiled by Phipps Chairmain Jeremy Phipps.

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Phipps and their neighbours The Northampton Brewery company saw many of their workers join up in 1914 and many more conscripted over the next four years.

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Both companies put up memorial plaques up in 1919 to commemorate the  49 brewerymen who gave their lives – 19 from NBC and 28 from P.Phipps & Co.

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When the Bridge Street Brewery was closed and demolished in 1974 the plaques were removed and taken up to the new offices of the Watney Mann Midland pub chain in Lodge Farm where the pub chain was run from for the next few decades.

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Three years ago the Lodge Farm depot, which by then was being operated by Kuehne Nagel as a drinks depot without any link to the Phipps, Watney, Manns pub chain, was closed and all office staff laid off.

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In the last week one of the older retiring staff whio had originally worked at Bridge Street called Phipps NBC and begged them to come and rescue the memorials before they were scrapped or lost forever.

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Two of Phipps directors drove up immediately and retrieved the memorials from their resting place on an open air grass verge and took the back to safe storage at the 1884 Albion Brewery, the last working part of the Phipps Brewery plant as it was in 1914 -18.

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Alaric Neville, the present day managing director of Phipps NBC said: “There then followed years of protracted negotiations to secure the legal ownership of the memorials which was only settled earlier this year in Phipps’ favour.

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“This meant Phipps could not begin the work of restoration and so the plaques have not been seen by the public since they left Lodge Farm. Happily the weathered marble slabs are now getting the love and attention they deserve.”

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Photographer Dave Ikin was at the dedication ceremony. He also photographed the Remembrance Parade at All Saints.

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