Monkey See , Monkey Brew

Sunday, 17 March 2019


A Brief post about the journey and experiences of an Ex Pat Scot ,Thomas Paterson , who travelled to the far side of the world in the early 1900`s brewing in South Africa ; Mariendahl Brewery , Newlands ; Australia ( Sydney ) and in New Zealand before returning to South Africa for good in 1915.
Thomas Paterson Ca 1891
Thomas Paterson was born in Newton Stewart , Scotland in 1871 , to Mr & Mrs William Paterson , and in 1888 , he was apprenticed to a large Edinburgh brewery as a Pupil Brewer where he was trained in all aspects of Brewing and Malting by the manager a Mr P Ousted .
Thomas Paterson`s Testimonial Letter 1891

The next information I have about Thomas , is from a family source ; that he was a brewer at the famous brewery of Eldridge - Pope in Dorchester in 1902 .
 William senior was Head Brewer & Manager of Eldridge Pope Ltd , and his funeral
( Died 29/05/1904 ) must have been impressive , as aside from Two of his sons ( William & Andrew ) and his youngest daughter , Three of the Pope family ( Messrs Alfred , Edwin and A Rolph Pope ) attended , as did two under brewers , Messrs Richards & Jones , and the Mayor of Dorchester ;
 Dr E W Kerr   .

The next place where Thomas pops up is at the Mariendahl Brewery of Jacob Letterstedt in Newlands , Cape Town , South Africa where he was a brewer in 1904
 ( The brewery was leased by Anders Ohlsson from 1888 )
A Sketch of a South African Maltings

Jacob  Lettersted  BREWERY Ca 1904 
In 1905/6 , Thomas returned home to the UK , where he married Margaret Eva in 1906 in Barnsley, Yorkshire and by 1907 he was again travelling round the globe to brew good beer !! as from 1907 - 1915 , he was brewing in New Zealand and , in Sydney ; where his daughter , Ailsa was born in 1911; Thomas and his family moved to South Africa for good in 1915 where he was employed as a brewer at Ohlson`s Cape Breweries

Traffic Scene , Ohlsson`s Cape Breweries Ltd ( Probably the Lager Brewery )

Yard View , Lager Brewery ; Shewing Train , Drays and other transport 

Yard View , With men rolling barrels of what could be `Tickey / 3 d Beer 

Yard View , possibly Letterstedt`s Brewery , Newlands ,
Still brewing fine beer today as Newlands Brewery . 

In the mid to late 1920`s ;in common with many others worldwide, Thomas was made redundant from Ohlson`s
( as a result of the Gt Depression )  where he had risen to become the Head Brewer .
Lagering Cellars , Newlands Brewery Ca 1915 - 1929

Yard View ,Ohlsson`s Lager Brewery ? , Showing Lucam ( Far Left of photo)
and Building Work  Ca 1915 - 1929

Electric Plant Rm , Ohlsson`s Brewery Ca 1915 - 1929

As a result of the depression , Thomas went to try his luck on the Diamond fields of Kimberley in 1930 , and by 1934 is again working as a brewer in Zomba, Nyassaland ( Now Malawi )at the brewery owned by a certain Mr Smithyman , in 1935 however , a fresh investor in the brewery apparently wished for the title of ` Head Brewer ` and Thomas`s services were surplus to requirements however , the new investor declared that the brewery wasn`t suitable for his delicate health and promptly offered Thomas his old job back , and having seen some correspondence between Thomas and his wife suring this period it does appear that his time in Nyassaland was not that happy ; and the decision to return back top S.A 1935 must have been welcome news to his wife and daughter .
Thomas Paterson , Brewer
 Born : Newton Stewart , Scotland 1871 , Died : Rondenbosch , Cape Town , South Africa 1940

The above pictures were generously provided by Thomas`s grandson in South Africa , and I`d be happy to hear from any readers in South Africa who are interested in Old Beers and Brewing ; and any who might have any old brewing records / memories , labels etc of brewing in S.A

Mariendahl Ginger Beer Recipie  Ca 1904

For 25 Litres  @ O.Grav1.040  Racking Grav  1.010.5 , 1.007.5 Final Grav   4.75 - 5 % ABV

Hops : Low Alpha Acid / NOBLE Aroma Variety to 6 - 8 IBU  (Max)
Malt Extract : 50 % ( To 1.015.25 Gravity Contributions )
Black Treacle : 50 % ( 1.024.75 Gravity Contributuions)
28.5 G Ginger  ( ROOT / WHOLE )  Medium Chopped
Boil the Liquor then add the Malt Extract , Black Treacle , Chopped Root Ginger and the Hops once at the Boil , then at Let Off - 10 minutes , liquor back to 1.039 and at let off , STRAIN thoroughly and cool to 21 c and pitch with  .75 g per barrel litre of a LIVE ALE YEAST .
Allow to ferment at 21 c + - 25 c for x days until at 1.013 then cool to 16 c and put into a container at 1.010.5.
Stand 1 week at 12 - 13 c before Q.C and enjoyment !!

Cheers All ,

Edd The Brew

UPDATE :  I am indebted to Mr Tim Godfrey of South Africa for his assistance in identifying these beautifull buildings , If I`ve inadvertently mis-captioned one , please leave a comment below and I`ll alter the caption accordingly .


  1. Hi Edd
    Wow something I didnt know about the history of the Mariendahl and Ohlssons breweries which are on the same site and part of the modern SAB Newlands brewery a medium sized 4m hl pa SAB brewery. The pictures are amazing, I have only seen is the one with the barrels being rolled out. This is in fact another of Ohlssons breweries now demolished at he nearby SACS school. The Mariendahl brewery and maltings are preserved as national monuments.
    The tall conifer in the main pic still stands in the warehouse area

  2. How Do ,
    No worries , I got these copies of the originals from Thomas`s grandson who`s still living in South Africa , my favourites are the Picture of Letterstedt`s brewery , the Sample cellar @ Ohlsson`s ! .
    I`d love to see any equivalent photograph`s of Chandler`s Union Breweries and any others that might be around ; as well as any Old South African Beer labels , point of sale / Advertising etc , as I`m quite keen to do a few more posts on the history of commercial brewing in South Africa ; hopefully with some historic recipies !!

    Cheers ,

    Edd The Brew


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