Thomas Dutton and Duttons Brewery

by Gordon Hartley
In 1799 Dutton's brewery was established  by Thomas Dutton and his son William. The land on which it was situated at Salford had been demised by the Vicar of Blackburn in 1797 to Robert Bannister. It is believed that the Duttons leased the land from him. The business was known as Thomas Dutton and Son. In 1802 Bannister he sold some of the land on which the brewery and a dwelling stood to Samuel Hilton. In 1807 George Haworth entered into partnership with the Duttons. Hilton then resold the land to the partners in Duttons.
Thomas Dutton died in 1815 and the business was carried on by his son William. When he died intestate in 1827, the business passed to his son Thomas who was a minor at the time. Thus the firm was taken over by trustees. In 1853 John Tattersall who had married Esther, William's daughter, was taken into partnership by Thomas Dutton.
In 1871 Thomas died, leaving his estate to his sisters, Mary Dutton and Betsy Pickop. His share in Thomas Dutton and Son was acquired by John Tattersall, making him the sole owner.In 1872 he took his brother William of Milnthorpe into partnership. The name of the firm was changed to Dutton & Co. William did not take an active part in the management until his brother's death in 1878,when he became sole proprietor.
In 1889 control was handed over to William Tattersall's son-in-law George Whiteley. In 1896 William Tattersall died and his daughter, the wife of George Whiteley inherited the business. The business became a limited company three months after William's death.
In the 1920's, small breweries had had their day and Duttons started to acquire other local breweries. In 1928, the Blackburn Brewery Co. Ltd. was purchased. This company had previously taken over Horsfall's Brewery of Brierfield and Crabtree's Brewery of Clitheroe.
In 1929 Duttons acquired John Mercer Ltd. of Adlington. In 1936 they took control of Kirkstall Brewery of Leeds.
Further takeovers and name changes occurred over the years. In 1938 after a reflotation, the name changed to Dutton's Lancashire and Yorkshire Brewery Corporation Ltd.In 1947 the company purchased the share capital of Jonas Alexander & Sons of Kendal.
In 1963 Dutton opened offices on High Street. Soon after Whitbreads acquired Duttons.1978 saw the last beer brewed by Duttons. Demolition of the brewery followed in 1986.

The site is now occupied by Morrison's supermarket.

Duttons Chr​​onology

Chronological notes

1779 20th September. The Vicar of Blackburn demised a plot of land Robert Bannister, on part of which the Salford Brewery ( Dutton's) was built.

1799. Thomas Dutton & his son William established the firm as Thomas Dutton & Son in Bow Street Blackburn.

1802 22nd July. Robert Bannister sold his interest in the land to Samuel Hilton.

1807 21st September. George Haworth entered into partnership with Thomas & William Dutton.

1807 30th September. Samuel Hilton sold the land occupied by the brewery to the three partners.

1815 10th June. Thomas Dutton died.

1827 15th September. William Dutton died intestate, and the business passed to his son Thomas, a minor.

1842 13th October. John Tattersall married Esther Dutton daughter of the late William Dutton.

1853 1st January. Thomas Dutton took his brother-in-law, John Tattersall, into partnership.


1871 21st August. Thomas Dutton died, leaving his estate in trust for his sisters Mary Dutton and Mrs Betsey Pickop.

1872 John Tattersall took his brother, William Tattersall, of Milnthorpe, into partnership.

1876 5th April. John Tattersall purchased the interest in the brewery of the late Thomas Dutton.

1878 21st September. John Tattersall died, leaving the residue of his including the brewery, to his brother, William Tattersall.

1889 William Tattersall handed over control of the brewery to his son-in-law George Whiteley.

1896 15th November. William Tattersall died, and the brewery was left to his daughter, Mrs George Whiteley.


1897 23rd November. Company refloated  by a London syndicate under the name of Dutton's Blackburn Brewery Ltd.

1928 15th July. Purchase of the Blackburn Brewery Co. which incorporated Crabtree's Brewery Clitheroe, & Horsfall's Brewery Brierfield, Blackburn.

1928 10th October. Reflotation of Dutton's Blackburn Brewery Ltd.

1929 28th March. Purchase of John Mercer Ltd., of Adlington.

1936 5th July. Control purchased of Kirkstall Brewery Co Ltd. and of its subsidiaries, Albion Brewery (Leeds) Ltd. and Willow Brewery Co. Ltd.

1937 20th January. The Clifton Arms (Lytham) Ltd. purchased.

1937 15th November. Flotation of Dutton's Lancashire & Yorkshire Property Corporation Ltd.

1938 11th November. Richard Seed & Co. Ltd. of Radcliffe purchased.

1938 5th December. Reflotation of Dutton's Lancashire & Yorkshire Brewery Corporation Ltd.

1947 1st April. Purchase of share capital of Jonas Alexander & Son Ltd., of Kendal.   


1961 A new Rolls-Royce car with the registration plate of OBJ 1,was supplied to Managing Director Clifford Brown.

1963 September.  Dutton's office block on High Street, Blackburn opened.

1964 Whitbreads acquired Dutton's Brewery.

1978 Duttons brewed its last beer in Blackburn.

1986 Office block on High Street, Blackburn was demolished.

Morrison’s supermarket now stands on the site where Dutton’s brewery once stood.

Dutt​ons Residences 

The Dutton’s residence and brewery on Bow Street Blackburn .

According to Baines Directory of 1824 William Dutton was living at 3, Bow Street, and was described a brewer. William and his father Thomas set up the brewery in 1799.
Thomas Dutton was born in Clitheroe around 1750. His son William was born in June 1780. A daughter Martha was born in November 1782.
Ivy Bank, 1, West Park Road, Blackburn. Thomas Dutton had this house built around 1870. 
 The close-up photograph shows the ornate doorway.


Deaths of the Duttons

 Blackburn Times 2nd September 1871 page 4, col 5
Blackburn Times 6th June 1885
Blackburn Times 20th June 1891 page 6, col 3
 jPage 42.jpg
​Picture of the grave of Thomas Dutton.
GRAVE C/E. A 19-20

Thomas Dutton son of William and Betty Dutton, died 27th August aged 52. Place of death: Ivy Bank, Blackburn.

Mary Dutton died 1st June 1885.

Mrs Betsey Pickop died June 1891.

Mary and Betsey also died at the residence of Ivy Bank, 1 West Park Road, Blackburn.
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This sign was on a building on Whalley Banks, King Street Blackburn.

Another well known sign was the neon O.B.J. sign. OBJ stood for "Oh be Joyful" and was a strong bottled beer.
Two Dutton's public houses where the OBJ sign could be seen were the Lord Nelson on the corner of Penny Street and Salford Blackburn, and the New Inn at Rishton.
Just one of a range of beer mats produced by Duttons to advertise their beers.