Camerons Brewery History


Please find below a brief history of brewing at the famous Lion Brewery site

Please click on the the time period you would like to visit

  • 1841Open or Close

    John William Cameron born in Kirkby Stephen

  • 1852Open or Close

    William Waldon buys the site of the Lion brewery from Ralph Walker for £300

  • 1854Open or Close

    William Waldon dies – his wife Jane takes over the running of the brewery

  • 1865Open or Close

    John William Cameron (brewer & maltster) engaged to help run the brewery after serving his apprenticeship at Barnard Castle brewery

  • 1872Open or Close

    J W Cameron leased the brewery together with 16 inns and beerhouses.

  • 1876Open or Close

    Land surrounding the brewery was bought.

  • 1885 – 1890 Open or Close

    More land was bought and plans were drawn up for new brewery.

  • 1892Open or Close

    Present Lion Brewery built.

  • 1893Open or Close

    J W Cameron buys the brewery outright from the Waldon family for £34,442.
    Watson Cameron (John’s brother) becomes Managing Director.

  • 1894Open or Close

    Lion Brewery incorporated into a limited company – estate includes 50 licensed premises. Nixey, Coleclough & Baxter (Brunswick Brewery, Hartlepool) bought.

  • 1896Open or Close

    Colonel J W Cameron dies.

  • 1897Open or Close

    T F Chapman & Son (Lambton brewery Sunderland) bought with 100 licensed premises
    Lion brewery extended.

  • 1899Open or Close

    Camerons commence manufacture of mineral waters
    Capt. Watson Cameron continues expansion
    400 licensed premises owned.

  • 1905Open or Close

    Cameron’s hospital officially opened, built by the Cameron family in memory of Col. J W Cameron.

  • 1910Open or Close

    Heslop’s brewery (Grange Brewery Stockton) bought with 28 licensed houses.

  • 1920Open or Close

    Capt Watson Camerons dies
    A J Morgan and H J Hewlett become joint managing directors
    Morgan in charge of organization and offices, Hewlett in charge of brewing
    Robert Newton Ltd (Newcastle) bought with 35 licenses
    Plews and Sons Ltd (Darlington) bought with 100 licenses.

  • 1922Open or Close

    John Watson Cameron (Watson’s son) joins the company.

  • 1935Open or Close

    J W Cameron becomes chairman and managing director.

  • 1944Open or Close

    Goldfinch Wine Stores was formed

  • 1950Open or Close

    John Watson’s wife Mrs Lillian Cameron appointed to Board, responsible for the furnishings and decoration of Cameron’s licensed houses.

  • 1953Open or Close

    Stranton bottling factory was opened.

  • 1955Open or Close

    Strongarm, Cameron’s best loved ale was introduced in March. First served in the Waverley Hotel, Mainsforth Terrace. Brewed because the industrial workers in West Hartlepool demanded a stronger ale. Retailed at 1/7 a pint.
    John J Hunt Ltd (Ebor Brewery York) and Scarborough & Whitby Breweries Ltd bought with 200 licensed premises.

  • 1956 Open or Close

    John Martin Cameron (J W Cameron’s son) joins the company
    18 licensed premises bought from Ind Coope & Allsop Ltd.

  • 1959Open or Close

    West Auckland Brewery Co Ltd bought with 78 licensed houses.

  • 1960Open or Close

    J W Cameron invested in February by the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace with the OBE
    The last two dray horses are presented as gifts to two local farmers.

  • 1961Open or Close

    Russells and Wrangham Ltd (Malton) was bought.

  • 1963Open or Close

    Martin Cameron becomes Joint Assistant Managing Director.

  • 1970Open or Close

    New brew house was built.

  • 1972Open or Close

    Icegold Lager introduced
    J W Cameron celebrates 50 years service to the company
    Martin Cameron takes over the running of the company.

  • 1975Open or Close

    Company was the object of a successful takeover and became totally owned by the shipping group Ellermans.
    Ellermans also bought Tollmache and Cobbold Brewery (Ipswich).

  • 1983Open or Close

    The Company purchased by the Barclay Brothers.

  • 1989 Open or Close

    Company taken over by the Brent Walker Group.

  • 1992Open or Close

    Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries acquired the company together with 51 licensed premises.

  • 2002Open or Close

    Cameron’s Brewery Ltd was formed following its purchase by Castle Eden Brewery owned by private local businessman David Soley.

  • 2004 Open or Close

    Cameron’s Visitor Centre opened.

  • 2007Open or Close

    Camerons sold its Free Trade and Wholesale Business to Coors Brewers Ltd – Core focus on significant growth opportunities for contract brewing and pub ownership.

  • January 2008Open or Close

    Signed 11 year contract brewing agreement with S&N (UK) Ltd to add volume to existing commitments. Capital expenditure of £4.2m was approved and spent to support the brewing contract as well as provide additional capacity for further contract brewing work.

  • May 2008 Open or Close

    Awarded contract to brew Cobra and continued brewing Cobra to support Coors subsequent to their purchase of the brand.

  • August 2010 Open or Close

    Signed 5 year agreement to support Carlsberg Tetley Closure of Leeds Brewery.

  • December 2010 Open or Close

    Camerons Brewery Ltd achieved both the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and ISO 9001 accreditations.

  • April 2012 Open or Close

    David Soley celebrates 10 years as the owner of Camerons Brewery Ltd.