Samuel Whitbread (brewer)
Samuel Whitbread was an English brewer and Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

. In 1742, he established a brewery
A brewery is a dedicated building for the making of beer, though beer can be made at home, and has been for much of beer's history. A company which makes beer is called either a brewery or a brewing company....

 that in 1799 became Whitbread & Co Ltd.
Whitbread PLC is a global hotel, coffee shop and restaurant company headquartered in Dunstable, United Kingdom. Its largest division is Premier Inn, which is the largest hotel brand in the UK with around 580 hotels and over 40,000 rooms. Its Costa Coffee chain has around 1,600 stores across 25...


Samuel Whitbread was born at Cardington
Cardington, Bedfordshire
Cardington is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Bedford in Bedfordshire, EnglandPart of the ancient hundred of Wixamtree, the settlement is best known in connection with the Cardington airship works founded by Short Brothers during World War I, which later became an RAF training station...

 in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire is a ceremonial county of historic origin in England that forms part of the East of England region.It borders Cambridgeshire to the north-east, Northamptonshire to the north, Buckinghamshire to the west and Hertfordshire to the south-east....

, the seventh of eight children. He left for London aged 14 and became an apprentice to a London brewer, John Witman. Eventually becoming owner of one of the largest breweries in the world.
He married (1) Harriet Hayton by whom he had one son and two daughters. His son was the politician, Samuel Whitbread.
He married (2) Lady Mary Cornwallis (1736-70) by whom he had one daughter, Mary Whitbread (1770-1858) who married Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British Royal Navy officer. He was born at the family home of Fallodon, Northumberland on 10 October 1767, the third son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey , and younger brother of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and General Sir Henry George Grey...

, 3rd son of Charles Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, KB PC was one of the most important British generals of the 18th century. He was the fourth son of Sir Henry Grey, 1st Baronet, of Howick in Northumberland. He served in the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence and French Revolutionary War...

, 1st Earl Grey of Howick.
Whitbread became very rich and bought Lord Torrington
Viscount Torrington
Viscount Torrington is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1721 for the statesman Sir George Byng, 1st Baronet, along with the subsidiary title Baron Byng, of Southill in the County of Bedford, also in the Peerage of Great Britain. He had already been created a Baronet, of...

's Southill Estate
Southill, Bedfordshire
Southill is a village and civil parish in Bedfordshire, England, about from Biggleswade.The principal residence, Southill Park, was formerly the home of the Viscounts Torrington, but was bought at the end of the 18th century by Samuel Whitbread....

, Elstow Manor
Elstow is a village and civil parish in the English county of Bedfordshire. John Bunyan, was born here - at Bunyan's End, which lay approximately halfway between the hamlet of Harrowden and Elstow's High Street.-History:...

, and other substantial property. When he died on 11 June 1796, the Gentleman's Magazine claimed that he was "worth over a million pounds".


Whitbread went into partnership with Thomas Shewell in 1742, investing £2,600 in two of Shewell's small breweries, the Goat Brewhouse (where porter
Porter (beer)
Porter is a dark-coloured style of beer. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name was first used in the 18th century from its popularity with the street and river porters of London. It is generally brewed with dark malts...

 was produced) and a brewery in Brick Lane
Brick Lane
Brick Lane is a street in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London. It runs from Swanfield Street in the northern part of Bethnal Green, crosses Bethnal Green Road, passes through Spitalfields and is linked to Whitechapel High Street to the south by the short stretch of...

 (used to produce pale and amber beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

s). Demand for the strong, black porter meant the business had to move to larger premises in Chiswell Street in 1750.

By 1760, it had become the second largest brewery in London (producing almost 64,000 barrels annually). Five years later Whitbread bought out Shewell for £30,000. By the end of the century, Whitbread's business was London's biggest producer of beer, producing 202,000 barrels in 1796. The brewery was also one of the first to employ a steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 (purchasing a sun and planet gear engine
Boulton and Watt steam engine (Powerhouse Museum)
The Boulton and Watt steam engine preserved in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia, built in 1785, is one of the first rotative steam engines ever built, and is the oldest surviving...

 from James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

's company in 1785).

Member of Parliament

Whitbread was elected Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Bedford
Bedford (UK Parliament constituency)
Bedford is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The seat was established in its current form in 1997, restoring a centuries old name. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post system of election...

 in 1768, and held the seat until 1790, and then represented Steyning
Steyning (UK Parliament constituency)
Steyning was a parliamentary borough in Sussex, England, which elected two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons sporadically from 1298 and continuously from 1467 until 1832...

 from 1792 to 1796. He was an early supporter for the abolition of slavery and took part in some of the anti-slavery debates of 1788 in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...


In May 1787 the brewery was visited by King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 and Queen Charlotte
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III...

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