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Burton beer museum finds a new home

Added: Thursday, April 13th 2023

Laura at Bass Museum

The National Brewery Heritage Trust has appointed Laura Waters (above) as Collections Officer to help them oversee the protection and preservation of the archives and artefacts which make up the National Brewery Collection, based in Burton upon Trent.

Laura has decades of experience at museums and heritage sites across the UK, including Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Kedleston Hall. Her immediate priorities will be overseeing the relocation of the collection, and working with East Staffordshire Borough Council (ESBC) and other stakeholders as together they shape the future vision for the National Brewery Collection. 

As part of the role, which is being funded by Molson Coors, Laura will support a team of volunteers currently working to catalogue and carefully pack all the archives before they are moved to their temporary new home, on Station Street in Burton. 

The volunteers include amateur archivists and engineers from the local area, many of whom have years of experience in maintaining historic artefacts, vehicles and brewery equipment, alongside employee volunteers from Molson Coors. 

The painstaking process of creating a comprehensive inventory of all the documents and exhibits held within the Collection has uncovered some rare items of historical interest, including volumes of journals documenting experimental brews, a photo archive including hundreds of images of Charrington & Co. pubs and a video archive of Carling TV ads.

Laura Waters said “I’m excited to be joining the National Brewery Heritage Trust at such an important time. As well as the vital work of relocating the Collection and securing its future, I’ll be working with the volunteers to ensure everything continues to be safe and well maintained. I’ll also be ensuring that the archives are accessible to the public, initially online, but then very much in person when they’re safely relocated into their temporary home in Station Street.”

Harry White, Chair of the National Brewery Heritage Trust, said: “Our charity exists to protect and preserve our unique brewing heritage. We are currently working hard on securing the future of the archives and artefacts which together make up the National Brewery Collection. We are delighted to welcome Laura to the team. She brings a level of professionalism and expertise that will be hugely valuable in the months and years ahead as we ensure the collection remains intact, in Burton and accessible to the public.”

The Trust is ensuring that the archives and artefacts are moved in line with relevant national standards.  Once packed, the items will be stored in a temporary centre being created by ESBC in Station Street, before moving to the proposed new Heritage Centre in High Street, Burton. The collection is being moved to enable the current building to be converted into a new Head Office site for Molson Coors, while its current office site is redeveloped as part of ESBC’s plans for Burton town centre.

Phil Whitehead, Managing Director for Western Europe at Molson Coors said: “We are pleased to be able to support the continued great and important work of volunteers.  We look forward to working with Laura and the National Brewery Heritage Trust and ESBC to help create a great new home for the archives and artefacts, one which celebrates our industry and which visitors from across the UK will be able to enjoy.”

Below, an example of  the archives that houses many examples of Bass brewing from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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