The TetleyThe Tetley

The Tetley name represents one of Leeds' oldest brewing dynasties, synonymous with the city for over 200 years. Our site has important social and industrial significance, with the brewery and employees greatly contributing to Leeds' rich history.

Tetley's brewery was founded by Joshua Tetley in 1822, when he bought a brewery on the site for £400.  In 1839, he made his son, Francis William a partner, creating Joshua Tetley and Son. Construction of a new brewery began in 1852 and by 1860 Tetley was the largest brewery in the North of England. By 1875, annual beer production had reached 171,500 barrels.

In 1931 the art deco Tetley headquarters building was erected. In April 1960 Tetley's took over  Leeds' Melbourne Brewery and in 1961 it merged with Ind Coope of Burton upon Trent and Ansells of Birmingham, forming Allied Breweries. Allied Breweries was the world's largest brewing conglomerate, with the Leeds site employing 1000 people. In the 1980s Tetley's became the world's largest producer of cask ale, and was taken over by Carlsberg in 1998.

The Leeds brewery was closed in 2011 and demolished in 2012, with production contracted out to other UK Carlsberg breweries. Tetley's retains its Leeds connections through the No.3 Pale Ale, brewed again in Leeds and recreated from the 1868 recipe – using the same unique double strain of yeast, with distinctive taste.

You can try this for yourself during your visit to our Bar and Kitchen. Find out more about the brewery's social history with a short film on our second floor, including the story of Harry Houdini's only known escapist defeat from a tank of ale.

The Tetley Collection

The Tetley has inherited a fascinating archive of material from the Brewery's industrial past. This archive contains hundreds of items relating to the history of the brewery that stood on the site for nearly 200 years. It includes artworks and artefacts, such as paintings, architectural plans, photographs, silverware and furniture, but also fascinating ephemera like marketing materials, tools, commemorative beers and business documents. Many official documents and photographs are also kept at West Yorkshire Archive Services.

A small selection of old pub signs and bottles from the collection is on display in the Bar & Kitchen.

We are always interested to know more about the history of the site and connect with ex-employees who worked in the building or brewery. Please contact us at programme@thetetley.org if you have a story to tell, or would like to know more about the collection.

The Tetley Boardroom, 2018. Photo Helena Dolby. Courtesy The Tetley

The Tetley Building, 2018. Photo Reece Leung.

The Tetley Building, 2018. Photo Reece Leung.

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