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John Arkell

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Peter Arkell OBE

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Our History

Anyone visiting Arkell's Brewery for the first time could be excused for thinking they have walked straight into a time machine.

The beer is still brewed in much the same way as it was when John Arkell first made it in 1843 and the brewery buildings seem untouched by the passing years. If you speak to any of the staff about the company it is clear that everyone is still as fiercely proud of its local and family roots as John Arkell was himself.

But Arkell's has not achieved its unique position as Swindon's oldest company and one of the oldest traditional breweries still operating in Britain today, simply by standing still.

The company has remained true to the principles of loyalty, quality and tradition set down by its founder 167 years ago, but it has also adapted brilliantly to the changing world around it. Some things never change at Arkell's, but it is the ability to change effectively when change is necessary that has been at the cornerstone of the brewery's success story over the last 167 years.

John Arkell was a remarkable man. Born into a farming family in 1802 in Kempsford, South Gloucestershire, he emigrated to the New World in his late twenties and took with him a group of local people who sought a refuge from the tough conditions endured by agricultural folk at that time. It was a brave step.

They arrived in Canada and established the small community of Arkell - which still exists today - but three years later, John returned for love. His fiancée preferred to live in England so he came home to marry and set up home in Stratton St Margaret, near Swindon, where he grew barley on his farm.

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Timeline

  • 1802
  • John Arkell born
  • 1830
  • John Arkell emigrated to Canada and established the village of Arkell
  • 1833
  • John Arkell returned to England
  • 1843
  • Arkell's Brewery established in Swindon Road, Stratton St Margaret
  • The Kingsdown Inn (relocated in 1867)
  • 1856
  • The Carriers Arms (later The Lord Raglan; closed in 1907)
  • 1861
  • Arkell's Brewery built at Kingsdown
  • The George, Kempsford
  • 1862
  • The Fox Inn, Highworth
  • The Harrow, Wanborough (10-year lease)
  • 1864
  • The Golden Cross, Cirencester
  • The Artillery Arms, Regent Street, Swindon (Demolished 1936)
  • 1866
  • The Tavern Inn, Greatfield (later renamed The Butchers Arms, closed 2000)
  • 1867
  • The Kingsdown Inn rebuilt on its present site
  • The Plough Inn, Swindon
  • 1868
  • The Crown Inn, Stratton St Margaret
  • 1869
  • The Brewers Arms, Cirencester
  • The Eight Bells, Fairford
  • The Duke of Wellington, Swindon
  • 1870
  • The Bakers Arms, Faringdon
  • 1871
  • The Wheatsheaf, Stratton St Margaret
  • The Great Western Hotel (now The GW)
  • The Plume of Feathers, Cirencester (now The Bee's Knees)
  • 1872
  • The Wild Deer, Swindon
  • The Mechanics Arms, Cheltenham Street, Swindon (closed and demolished in 1961)
  • 1873
  • The Brewers Arms, Wanborough
  • The Dolphin, Swindon
  • The Duke of Edinburgh, Swindon
  • 1874
  • The Red Lion, Lechlade
  • 1875
  • The White Hart, Moredon, Swindon (closed in 1877)
  • The Bull, Highworth (closed in 1881)
  • 1876
  • The Borough Arms, Wootton Bassett
  • 1877
  • Maltings Erected
  • The Talbot Inn, Cirencester
  • The Red Lion, Swindon (now The Boundary House)
  • The Carpenters Arms, Gorse Hill, Swindon (demolished in 1964 and rebuilt in Chapel Street, now The Swiss Chalet)
  • 1878
  • The Bell Vue Inn (now Long's Bar)
  • The White Hart, Stratton St Margaret
  • 1879
  • The Fox and Hounds, Wroughton
  • 1880
  • The New Inn, Cromwell Street, Swindon (demolished in 1969)
  • 1881
  • The Bakers Arms, Swindon
  • The Clifton Hotel (now The Clifton)
  • The Carpenters Arms, South Marston
  • John Arkell died
  • 1883
  • The Saracens Head Hotel, Highworth
  • The Running Horse, Swindon
  • 1884
  • The New Inn, Stratton St Margaret
  • The Angel, Purton
  • 1885
  • The Kings Arms Hotel (now The Kings), Swindon
  • The Foresters Arms, Fleet Street, Swindon (demolished in 1959)
  • The Gardeners Arms, Westcott Place, Swindon (demolished in 1979)
  • 1886
  • The Lamb and Flag (now Bar Cuba)
  • The Mason Arms, Old Town, Swindon (demolished in 1969)
  • 1889
  • The Three Tuns, Wroughton
  • 1891
  • The Black Horse, Wanborough
  • The Sun Inn, Swindon
  • 1892
  • The Freke Arms, Swanborough
  • 1883
  • The Saracens Head Hotel, Highworth
  • The Running Horse, Swindon
  • 1884
  • The New Inn, Stratton St Margaret
  • The Angel, Purton
  • 1885
  • The Kings Arms Hotel (now The Kings), Swindon
  • The Foresters Arms, Fleet Street, Swindon (demolished in 1959)
  • The Gardeners Arms, Westcott Place, Swindon (demolished in 1979)
  • 1886
  • The Lamb and Flag (now Bar Cuba)
  • The Mason Arms, Old Town, Swindon (demolished in 1969)
  • 1889
  • The Three Tuns, Wroughton
  • 1891
  • The Black Horse, Wanborough
  • The Sun Inn, Swindon
  • 1892
  • The Freke Arms, Swanborough
  • 1896
  • The Bakers Arms, Upper Stratton
  • The Plough Inn, Highworth
  • 1897
  • The County Ground Hotel, Swindon
  • The malt Shovel, Highworth (demolished 1907)
  • 1899
  • The Plough Inn, Stratton St Margaret (now The Rat Trap)
  • 1900
  • The Plough Inn, Fairford
  • 1904
  • The Axe and Compass, Wanborough (closed in 1907)
  • 1906
  • The Bakers Arms, Badbury
  • The Wheatsheaf, Wootton Bassett (now Sally Pussey's Inn)
  • The Old Bear, Cricklade
  • 1907
  • The Plough Inn, Badbury
  • 1910
  • Launch of Best Bitter Beer (later called BBB, then 3B)
  • 1922
  • The Jolly Tar, Hannington
  • The Royal Oak, Lechlade
  • 1923
  • Present Chairman, Peter Arkell, born
  • The Duke Hotel, Hilmarton
  • 1924
  • The George Hotel, Lambourn
  • The Masons Arms, Aldbourne (sold in 1990)
  • 1926
  • The Bell, Purton Stoke
  • 1927
  • Arkell's becomes a private limited company
  • Bottling plant opened
  • 1931
  • The Crossways Club, Upper Stratton (now The Moonrakers)
  • 1943
  • Arkell's 100th Anniversary
  • 1951
  • Present Managing Director, James Arkell, born
  • The Curriers Arms, Wootton Bassett
  • The Royal Oak, Bishopstone
  • The Tavern Inn, Kemble
  • 1954
  • Present chairman, Peter Arkell, became a Director
  • 1955
  • R Holgate-Smith appointed Head Brewer
  • 1959
  • The Steam Train, Swindon (now The Manor)
  • 1962
  • John Arkell Vintners established
  • 1964
  • The Carpenters Arms, Swindon (now The Swiss Chalet) relocated
  • 1967
  • Don Kenchington appointed head brewer
  • Austin Amusements established
  • 1971
  • Peter Arkell became Chairman
  • 1972
  • The Highwayman, Elkstone
  • 1973
  • Present Managing Director, James Arkell, became a Director
  • The Bull Hotel, Fairford
  • The White Hart Hotel, Cricklade
  • 1976
  • Launch of Kingsdown Ale
  • The Victoria Inn, Eastleach
  • 1978
  • Launch of Arkell's Shandy
  • 1979
  • Arkell's buys 50 per cent of shares in Edmont Joinery
  • The George, Fairford (closed in the same year and added to the adjoining Bull Hotel)
  • 1980
  • The Liden Arms, Swindon
  • 1982
  • First Arkell's Passport promotion
  • 1983
  • The Duke of Edinburgh, Winkfield
  • 1985
  • The Woodshaw Inn, Wootton Bassett
  • 1986
  • The Crown Inn, Broad Hinton
  • 1987
  • Launch of Noël Ale
  • The Bear, Marlborough
  • Globe Inn, Gloucester
  • 1989
  • The Lord Lyon, Stockcross (now Rybaks)
  • The Thames Head Inn, Cirencester
  • 1991
  • The Plough, Stratton, Cirencester
  • The India House, Gloucester
  • The Whitesmiths Arms, Gloucester
  • The Sir Colin Campbell, Gloucester
  • The Adam and Eve, Cheltenham
  • The Exmouth Arms, Cheltenham
  • The Hereford Arms, Cheltenham
  • The St James Hotel, Cheltenham
  • 1992
  • Don Bracher appointed Head Brewer
  • The Coopers Arms, Newbury
  • Ye Old Red Lion, Chievely
  • 1993
  • Arkell's 150th Anniversary
  • 1994
  • The Rose and Crown Hotel, Ashbury
  • 1996
  • The Cross Keys, Newbury
  • The Friar, New Marston
  • 1997
  • Peter Arkell awarded OBE
  • The Globe, Gloucester
  • The Original Swan, Cowley
  • 1998
  • Arkell's Brewery website launched
  • 1999
  • The Eagle Tavern, Oxford
  • The Hare and Hounds, Foss Cross
  • The Cat and Fiddle, Cheltenham
  • Cassidy's, Cheltenham (now Bar Cuba)
  • 2000
  • The Bantam, Burghfield Common
  • The Bolingbroke Hotel, Hook
  • The Jovial Monk, Shaw Ridge, Swindon
  • 2001
  • Organic Ale launched
  • The Winkfield, Winkfield
  • 2002
  • Jubilee Ale launched
  • 2003
  • Arkell's 160th anniversary
  • Chairman Peter Arkell's 80th birthday - Moonlight Ale launched
  • The White Hart, Whitchurch
  • The Rising Sun, Reading
  • The Tawny Owl, Taw Hill, North Swindon
  • 2004
  • The Punchbowl, Woodstock
  • 2005
  • The Great Arkell's Adventure launched
  • Swindon Pride Ale launched
  • The King's Arms, Chipping Norton
  • The White Horse at Woolstone
  • 2006
  • Her Majesty the Queen's 80th Anniversary Ale launched
  • The Bear Hotel, Wantage
  • 2007
  • Cask-conditioned Organic Ale launched
  • The Bear, Marlborough
  • Globe Inn, Gloucester
  • The Lansdowne, Calne
  • The Volunteer, Great Somerford
  • 2008
  • The Riverside, Lechlade
  • First official Royal visit to brewery - HRH The Duke of Kent
  • James Arkell became Chairman
  • 2009
  • The Mason's Arms, Meysey Hampton
  • Arkell's Pilsner is launched
  • 2010
  • Alex Arkell joins the Brewery
  • 2011
  • Rickety Press, Oxford
  • New fermenting vessels installed (Will & Kate)
  • 2012
  • Kings Arms, Malmesbury
  • Fox & Hounds, Haydon Wick
  • Alex Arkell becomes Head Brewer