The Ram Brewery in London is a historic site, although the current environment is pretty grim, as the centre-piece of a piece of unfortunate late 20th century transport planning – the notorious and disliked Wandsworth one-way system. A Ram pub on the site is recorded around 1550 with the first records of brewing of beer in 1576. This site is today the public house, the Brewery Tap. The site was owned and operated by various families until it was purchased by Charles Allen Young and Anthony Fothergill Bainbridge in 1831, since when it has been connected with the Young family’s brewing business until they sold it in 2006. What is also hidden is the River Wandle, from which the brewery took its water and which was the reason for its location there. The Wandle is a tributary of the River Thames, about 9 miles (14 km) long, passing through local areas such as Croydon, Sutton and Merton.
The brewery was bought by developer Minerva, which retained a former Young’s employee John Hatch as site manager; he runs a small brewing operation which maintains the Ram site’s as the country’s longest-running brewery. An initial scheme for redevelopment of this neglected area was unsuccessful in achieving planning approval due to the height proposed for some of the residential towers. A revised scheme was approved in 2013 and includes 661 new homes, a 36 storey residential tower plus substantial areas of space for new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and a micro brewery and museum in the heritage buildings, much of this located around a re-landscaped River Wandle. The project also provides a financial contribution towards eliminating the old one-way traffic system.
The site was sold earlier this month to Greenland Holdings Group, a Chinese property developer. Hopefully, they will now progress the development to give some heart to the regeneration of this historic part of SW London which was ruined by planners and transport engineers in the 1970′s and 80′s.