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Why Titanic passengers thought Wrexham Lager was brewed in England

17 May 2021 5 minute read
One of the donations of memorabilia from Peter Howell which belonged to his late brother who used to work at Wrexham Lager.

A unique collection of Wrexham Lager memorabilia is to take pride of place in the original home of the iconic brewery – including a poster designed for the ill-fated Titanic cruise liner.

Wealth management company Hadlow Edwards lovingly restored and moved into the Grade II listed red brick building on the edge of the town’s Central Retail Park after outgrowing their original offices.

They were delighted to be presented with the collection by former lab technician Peter Howell, 60, from Wrexham.

All the items belonged to his late brother John who worked at the brewery from 1963 until the year 2000 when it was closed down by brewing giant Carlsberg.

The collection includes glasses, T-shirts, beer mats, bar runners, trays and a variety of bottled lagers including a four-pack of a special commemorative strong lager to celebrate the 1981 wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

Most intriguing is the poster that was designed to advertise Wrexham Lager on board the Titanic where it was one of only two beers being served.

It was believed the American passengers would not know where Wales was so the poster referred to Wrexham being in England.

The luxury liner sank after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic during its maiden voyage in 1912.

As well as being quaffed on the Titanic, there is evidence of Wrexham being drunk by British soldiers in 1885 at the siege of Khartoum in the Sudan.

‘Perfect home’

The restoration of the Victorian building over three years was faithful to the history of Wrexham Lager which is believed to be Britain’s oldest lager brew.

The brewery was founded in 1882 by German immigrants Ivan Levinstein and Otto Isler who wanted to recreate the lager taste that they missed from home.

The main brewery was demolished after production was halted at the site in 2000 – the year that Hadlow Edwards was founded but the brewery house was saved because of its listed status.

Wrexham Lager was resurrected in 2011 after former MP for Clwyd South Martyn Jones bought the rights for the famous beverage from Carlsberg for £1.

Before becoming an MP, Mr Jones worked as a microbiologist at the original brewery, alongside John Howell whose collection has now come full circle.

Hadlow Edwards of Wrexham receive a donation of memorabilia off Peter Howell which belonged to his late brother who used to work at Wrexham Lager. Pictured Peter Howell with (L/R) Directors of Hadlow Edwards James Parry, Warren Hadlow and Tom Hadlow.

Brother Peter was delighted that the memorabilia had now found “the perfect home” where the artefacts are being preserved for posterity by Hadlow Edwards who have named rooms after brewery terms, including The Hops, The Grist and The Mead.

Peter, whose father also worked for the brewery for a time, said: “John died at the age of 71 and it was only then, when we were sorting through his things that we found all this Wrexham Lager memorabilia.

“It was too good to throw away because it is part of the town’s history – Wrexham Museum didn’t want it and it doesn’t deserve to be in my attic gathering dust.

“Then my other brother, my twin David, remembered seeing the story about the official opening after Hadlow Edwards moved here. It’s nice to give the collection to people who’ll appreciate it.

“Wrexham Lager put Wrexham on the map, it was a global brand.  I can remember when I was a lot younger, watching Coronation Street one day and it had a Wrexham Lager pump in the Rovers Return.

“It was devastating when the brewery closed but it’s nice to see it back again and being recognised again.”

One of the donations of memorabilia from Peter Howell which belonged to his late brother who used to work at Wrexham Lager.


Hadlow Edwards’ Director, James Parry, was hugely grateful to Peter for presenting them with the “wonderful collection”.

He said: “It was very poignant because his brother John worked at Wrexham Lager for so many years and was clearly very proud to be a part of a global brand that was synonymous with the town.

“It was fascinating to see the poster that was used to advertise Wrexham Lager on the Titanic because it’s got a deliberate mistake because it says, ‘Wrexham Lager, Wrexham, England’.

“Apparently, there were only two beers on the Titanic and the Americans had never heard of Wales.

“This is a  historic building and it’s really nice to have some of the history back.”

Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Ltd is an Appointed Representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, which is one of the UK’s largest wealth management organisations.

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Mandi A
Mandi A
3 years ago

Must have been reading the newly published 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, you know the one, “for Wales see England”.

3 years ago

That wasn’t just down to the assumption that Americans had never heard of a country called Wales. The general view, and the legal position at the time, was that Wales was part of England. I have a booklet at home from that period that describes the Orange Free State as being “the size of England without Wales”. The current Tory Government have tried to resurrect this notion with their references to “the Kingdom of England and Wales” as part of their insistence on government buildings in Wales flying the Union Jack.

Mark Jones
Mark Jones
3 years ago

Yet Wales would have ex-pat miners and steel workers in the United States. I suspect Wales was obliterated from the records by a ‘British equals English’ mindset.

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