Beer: A History of Brewing and Drinking at Temple Newsam

20th February 2018

New exhibition: 24 March – 27 October 2018

Britain’s first national drink will be the focus of an exciting new exhibition at Temple Newsam House.

At a time when drinking water was often contaminated, beer offered a safe and nutritious alternative enjoyed across all social scales. It was even used to treat a range of ailments and diseases, from jaundice to ‘the King’s Evil’ (a skin disease). At Temple Newsam House in 1749, Ann Scarburgh’s apothecary prescribed her ‘ingredients for Six Gallons of Beer yr Ladyships’.

The exhibition looks at the significance of beer during the long eighteenth century and reveals aspects of life on Temple Newsam Estate through the eyes of the staff and aristocrats who lived, worked, brewed and drank here. New stories have been uncovered from the estate archives, including that of female brewer Elizabeth Pease, who provided ale for the estate for over 30 years during the 18th century.

Beer was a key part of celebrations where the estate community came together, from military victories to weddings. When King George recovered from his illness in 1789 Lady Irwin laid on 1366 gallons of ale for her tenants.

Visitors will have the chance to see objects from Leeds’s important collection of ceramics and view areas of the house in a new light. Now a popular area on tours, back in 1869 the cellars were liberally stocked with 3,800 gallons of ale and 2,200 of beer.

An exciting programme of events will be on offer throughout the estate, including tasting sessions. More information will follow in early 2018.


IMAGE: 2. Beer jug, creamware, decorated in Leeds, 1770s. © Leeds Museums and Galleries. Photograph by Norman Taylor.