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The Phoenix Brewery

The Phoenix Brewery, in Dolphin Lane, off Castle Street, is first  recorded in 1740, when it was owned by a Mr Clements. In  1859 it was purchased by Mr Alfred Leney from the executors of  Thomas Walker. Originally he ran it in conjunction with his  uncle, James Evenden, trading as Leney and Evenden until his  uncle’s death in 1868. Alfred married into another Kentish  brewing family when he married Catherine Fremlin, the eldest  daughter of James Fremlin, of Wateringbury, near Maidstone.  In time Alfred was joined in the business by his three sons,  Alfred Charles, Hugh and Frank. When Alfred (senior) died in  1900, 400 people filled St Andrew’s Church, Buckland and an  estimated 1,000 thronged the churchyard for the burial. Among  the 150 wreaths was one from the tenants of the brewery pubs  in the form of a phoenix, which was used by the firm as a trade  mark.  The business continued to flourish and in 1904 took over the  rival firm of Flint & Co. of St Dunstan’s Brewery, Canterbury. It  is thought that Leney & Co., after their absorption of Flint & Co., owned about 160 tied premises, mainly in East Kent and the  Rye and Hastings area of East Sussex. In 1926 the firm of  Alfred Leney & Co. amalgamated with Fremlin Brothers of  Maidstone to form the public company known as Fremlins Ltd.  At the time of the merger the remaining Fremlin brothers  retired and Alfred Charles Leney became the first Chairman of  the new company. Brewing at Dover ceased in 1927 but bottling of beer continued  until 1950 at the Phoenix Brewery, the beer being transported  from the Fremlins brewery at Maidstone. The only break in  production came towards the end of World War Two, when a  shell hit the water storage tank at the top of the building.  Fortunately there were no casualties as the incident took place  at night. It was claimed that the bottling plant was the nearest  factory to enemy occupied Europe. After bottling ceased the old brewery was used as a distribution  depot by Fremlins until its demolition in 1963. The distribution  depot moved to buildings that had once been part of the old  Diamond Brewery on the Folkestone Road, which had been  purchased by Leney & Co. in 1908. In the late 1960s Fremlins  was itself taken over by the brewing giant Whitbread.
The Phoenix Brewery c.1840. The Phoenix Brewery c.1890. The Phoenix Brewery c.1895. The view down Castle Street.  The brewery offices stand on the corner of Dolphin Passage and beer barrels can be seen stacked in the brewery yard. Leney's Price List from the early 1900s. 1907 Ordnance Survey Map. The Phoenix Brewery can be clearly seen on the map. Leney's Dover Pale Ale bottle label.  Early 20th Century. The Phoenix trade mark features prominently. Back to Businesses Index