Tolly Cobbold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tolly Cobbold
Industry Brewing
Predecessor Tollemache Breweries, Cobbold Breweries
Founded Ipswich, Suffolk, England

Tolly Cobbold is a former brewery, with strong roots in Suffolk, England.


The Cliff Brewery, Ipswich
Cliff Brewery, Ipswich

The name Tolly Cobbold is an amalgamation of the two family-run brewers: the Tollemache Brewery owned by the Tollemache family and the Cobbold Brewery owned by the Cobbold family.

The original Cobbold brewery was founded in Harwich, Essex in 1723 and in 1746 the Cobbold Cliff Brewery was founded, at Cliff Lane, Ipswich.[1] The current building of 1896 is a tower brewery by William Bradford.[2]

The Tollemache Brewery was founded in the 1880s by sons of John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache.[3] The family acquired Ipswich Brewery from Cullingham & Co. in 1880, the Essex Brewery at Walthamstow in 1920, a controlling share of the Star Brewery, Cambridge in 1930 and full control in 1947. Tollemache and Cobbold merged in 1957 to form Tolly Cobbold.[4]

Tolly Cobbold was taken over by Ellerman Lines in 1977[1] and was later sold to Brent Walker in 1989 when production of Tolly Cobbold Beers was transferred to Camerons Brewery.[5]

The brewery was then acquired by Ridley's brewery in 2002.[6] Three years later, Ridley's Brewery was taken over by Suffolk-based Greene King in 2005.

Tolly Original, the only Tolly Cobbold beer that Ridley's continued to brew in Chelmsford, is likely to become extinct since Greene King are unlikely to continue brewing it. Greene King was the main sponsor of Ipswich Town F.C., which was established by the Cobbold family.[when?][citation needed]

Tolly Follies[edit]

One of the Tolly Follies, the Suffolk Punch in Ipswich, Suffolk

In the 1930s the Tollemache brewery underwent a large expansion, taking over the Cambridge Star Brewery and building a number of mock-baronial pubs, mostly in Ipswich, the ornate style, and the scale of the expansion, led to their being known as "Tolly Follies". They were based on the design of the Tollemache stately home, Helmingham Hall. Most survive, though some, notably The Golden Hind in Cambridge, which was the only Tolly Folly outside of Ipswich, underwent major alteration in the 1980s, the Waveney Arms on Bramford Road in Ipswich closed in 1994 and stood empty for a number of years, before being demolished for housing.[citation needed]

The Golden Hind in Ipswich, another example of a Tolly Folly

Cobbold family[edit]

The Cobbolds have an important status in Ipswich as the family were landowners in the town and surrounding area.John Chevalier Cobbold (1797-1882) was descended from "Big"John Cobbold (1746-1835), a 3rd generation brewer[7] Christchurch Park was donated to "The people of Ipswich" by the family, along with many other donations of land such as Ipswich Racecourse. The family also provided several Members of Parliament for Ipswich over the years; in addition they have provided five chairmen of Ipswich Town Football Club,[8] Lady Blanche Cobbold was president of the club for many years. ITFC have named part of a stand in their stadium[9] and a prestigious member's club[10] after the Cobbold family.

Tolly Cobbold beers[edit]

Beers in the range included Tolly Original, Cobnut, Tolly Bitter, Tolly Mild, Old Strong, Old Strong Porter (bottle only). Tollyshooter (named in honour of the visit of Sir John Harvey-Jones to the brewery shortly after the 1990 management takeover) Cantab, Cardinal Ale, Cobbold's Conquest, Cobbold's IPA (a straw-coloured bitter), Beano Stout, Countdown, Election Ale (1997), Final Brew and Last Orders – a final brew in 2002.

For a short time in the 1960s, Tolly Cobbold produced an infamous lager known as Husky Brew, which John Cobbold himself compared to a dog's urine.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Tolly Cobbold, Ipswich". Rate Beer. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Tolly Cobbold Brewery, Ipswich". Images of England. 23 October 1989. 
  3. ^ Pritchard, Evelyn (2007). Ham House and its owners through five centuries 1610-2006. London: Richmond Local History Society. p. 71. ISBN 9781955071727. 
  4. ^ "Tolly Cobbold Timeline". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Tollemache and Cobbold Brewery". The Directory of UK Real Ale Brewers. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Tolly timeline". Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  7. ^ .Anthony D Lytton Cobbold's family tree."Cobbwebs Archive". The Cobbold Family History Trust. Anthony Cobbold. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Cobbolds". Inspire Suffolk. Inspire Suffolk. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Ipswich Town Portman Road". Football Ground Guide. Duncan Adams. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cobbold Club". Ipswich Town Football Club. Ipswich Town Football Club. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ipswich Tolly Cobbold brewery". The Suffolk Real Ale Guide. Suffolk CAMRA. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

Clive Hodges: Cobbold & Kin: Life Stories from an East Anglian Family (Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2014) ISBN 9781843839545

External links[edit]