THE BUILDING may be gone now, but Mitchells and Butlers’ Cape Hill brewery will linger long in the memory of many; having employed many thousands over the years, and slaked the thirsts of countless thousands more.
We regularly receive photographs and memories from former M&B employees, but we were pleasantly surprised recently when we were contacted by Barry Butler of Devon. Barry is the son of Peter D Butler of the founding Butler family — or Mr Peter as he was known at work.
“He was Sales Director of Mitchells & Butlers from 1955 to 1959,” Barry told us, “and Joint Managing Director from 1959 to 1960. He started as an apprentice in 1940 – although he was in the army during the war. He returned to the firm in 1944/5 and qualified as a brewer at University on release. He married June Sapcote (of the famous building company, etc) in 1949. Bob Butler — the Chairman during the ‘50s and ‘60s — was his cousin.” Barry inherited a wealth of M&B material on the death of his father, and he has been kind enough to put some of it our way.
The pictures we reproduce here are a window on the firm’s bowling fraternity. Peter Butler is the man presenting the trophy in one of the pictures, and Barry tells us that Peter bought the trophy himself.
It was made of solid silver and was presented annually for over twenty years to the winner of the M&B Invitation Champion of Champions. The picture was taken at the Portman Road bowling club, which still exists today. Sadly, the trophy was stolen a few years ago.
The pictures all date from the 1950s, and if you recognise anyone and can tell us anything more, we’d love to hear from you.