These documents, appearing as fresh today as when they were first drawn up in 1890, are further items from the extensive collection of Dennis Carpenter from Oldbury, a keen collector of Black Country memorabilia.
He has quite a few pieces relating to the famous Smethwick brewers Mitchells and Butlers that he hasacquired over the years, and these papers are just an example.The papers are rental accounts drawn up by the Birmingham firm of James and Lister Lea and Sons for land and property owned by Henry Mitchell and hint at what must have been an extensive portfolio for the wealthy brewer.
Brothers James and Lister Lea began their business in 1846 as architects and they went on to design several notable pubs in Birmingham and the Midlands, many of which are now listed buildings. Their sons joined the firm and the business moved more towards property management. In 2001 the business merged with Bruton Knowles to be one of the biggest property consultants in Britain.
Henry Mitchell inherited his father’s pub, the Crown, in Oldbury Road, Smethwick, in 1861. Five years later he built a large brewery next door, to meet demand, but as his business grew he needed even bigger facilities. He began brewing at his state-ofart Cape Hill brewery in 1879 and by the time his business was incorporated as a private company in 1888 he was producing 90,000 barrels a year. In 1898 his firm amalgamated with William Butler of Broad Street, Birmingham, to form M&B.
Dennis’ account papers relate to property Henry Mitchell owned in Walsall and Bartley Green. He owned land and houses in Sun Street, Port Street and Arundel Street in the Palfrey area, and Bartley Green Farm. We have not been able to confirm details of the farm but we believe that Bartley Green Library was built on part of its land in 1905.