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The Platt family were important brewers in Hungerford during the 19th and early 20th century.

The Platt family was a large one (see below).

Will Swales kindlt emailed (Oct 2018): "At the census in 1841, John Platt senior was running the family farm in his native Kingsclere in Hampshire, where he shared his house with a remarkable 16 servants and agricultural labourers. His wife Theodosia and their first-born, John Platt junior (aged 2 months), were living at her family’s home of Dudmore Lodge, Aldbourne in Wiltshire. Her maiden name was Church. Her youngest brother Francis Church became a well-known Hungerford solicitor.

He and his wife Margaret occupied Willow Lodge in Hungerford sometime between 1851-61. Francis Church died in 1867, aged 46. His widow Margaret remained at Willow Lodge until 1876 (Reading Mercury 12 Feb 1876 – report of a servant allegedly stealing one of her possessions while helping with the move) after which it was occupied by John Platt junior, and why he appears there in the 1881 census.

Margaret Church’s son, Henry Elgar Church, was for many years the brewer at the Manor Brewery, owned by his uncle, John Platt, and managed by his cousin, John Platt junior. Another of Margaret Church’s sons, Francis Waldron Church, was one of the brewery salesmen, who in 1892 became the keeper of the Three Swans – which is why the Church and Platt families interest me."

The first evidence of John Platt at Manor House was the 1847 Commoners List where he is listed as owner and occupant. The Kelly's Directory of the same year records him as "brewer, maltster, wine, spirit and hop merchant". John Platt was an effective businessman, and by 1861 he is recorded in the census as aged 50 years, with 290 acres, employing 9 men and 3 boys.

In the 1869 Post Office directory, in addition to the entry for John Platt, there is also an entry for John Platt jnr - at The Poplars, High Street (behind brewery off Everland Road).

The 1871 census lists John Platt, snr (60 years) - brewer and farmer (580 acres) as well as John Platt jnr (29 years) - brewer at "Platts Malthouses" - Thomas Tipple (44 years) was the maltster.

By the 1881 census, the business was slightly more modest - John Platt (Manor House), was farming just 127 acres, employing 4 men and 1 boy. In the malthouse were Thomas Taylor and William Seymour, described as servants.

In the 1881 census John Platt junior (40 years) was recorded as "Brewer, employing 20 men" living in Willow Lodge [in Bridge Street, with an adjacent malthouse].

John Platt snr died in October 1890. The Reading Mercury of Sat 25 Oct 1890 recorded "By the death of Mr John Platt senr., which occurred at his residence, the Manor House, on Thursday morning in last week, Hungerford loses one of its oldest most prominent inhabitants. The deceased had attained the great age of four score years, and had lived a life of usefullness. .... The deceased came to Hungerford nearly 50 years ago, when he took the Hungerford Brewery. the business of which he so increased that it became ultimately one of the biggest concerns in the county. Some years ago he ceased to take an active part in the management of the Brewery leaving it in the hands of his son. He then engaged in agricultural pursuits, having several farms, which flourished under his skillful oversight. He had filled all the offices in connection with the town, including the High Constableship, with credit to himself and benefit to the community, and he was greatly instrumental in securing the present Town Hall and commodious Corn Exchange; he was also churchwarden for many years. On his death the last but one of the old order of feoffees has passed away, Mr R. Killick being the only survivor. The funeral took place at St Saviour's Church on Monday....".

The Berkshire Chronicle of Sat 25 Oct 1890 added "Mr Platt came to Hungerford in 1846. .... The deceased was eighty years of age."

1897 The Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser of Sat 15 May 1897 recorded the death on 9 May at Willow Lodge of  the wife of John Platt.

1891 (Kelly) J. Platt jnr, Brewer/wine merchant, High Street.

The Bicester Herals of Fri 4 Nov 1892 recorded the birth of a daughter to the wife of Mr G E Platt at Manor House, Hungerford, and the Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle recorded the birth of another daughter on 17 Sep 1893.

By 1896 John Platt had sold the business to South Berks Brewery Co, but George Platt is described as occupant. The 1896 Commoners List has J. Platt as occupier of Willow Lodge.

John Platt was a member C Troop, Berkshire Yeomanry. He died on 27th September 1905. The Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser - Thursday 28 September 1905 p5 c6 (kindly sent by Andrew French, West Berkshire Yeomanry Museum, 15th January 2024) recorded:

After a long and painful illness. Mr. John Platt passed away at his residence, Willow Lodge, shortly after mid-day yesterday (Wednesday), Mr. Platt had for many years been associated with the town and trade of Hungerford, succeeding to the proprietorship of the Brewery on the retirement of his father, and carrying on the same for a number of years till it was purchased by the South Berks Brewery Company. Deceased was always interested in town matters, and served the office of Constable from 1881 to 1888. He was a feoffee, and up to the last Hocktide Court was a Keeper of the keys of the Town coffer. Mr. Platt was also interested in agriculture, farming his own holding. In his younger days he was Quartermaster Sergeant in the Berks Yeomanry. Always ready to assist any institution for the benefit of the town and neighbourhood, his acts of kindness were unobtrusively rendered, and his death will be a loss to many of the poorer inhabitants of the town.

Interestingly, and slightly puzzlingly, the 1903 Kelly Directory has George Platt at "The Priory, High Street" (sic!).

His son, George Platt lived at The Priory for some years after the business closed - he is there in the 1920 Kelly Directory.

George Platt died in 1928. The Scotsman of Thu 6 Sep 1928 recorded: "George Edmund Platt, of The Priory, Hungerford, Berks., district manager of the South Berks. Brewery Co., now absorbed in Messrs H & G Simonds (Ltd.), of Reading. Net personally £15,124; Gross £20,771."

The Platt Family: An attempt has been made to piece together the Platt family tree from the Parish Registers. It seems that John Platt (b. 1811, later the brewer) married Theodosia, and they had one child – George (b. 29.5.1849).

George Platt married Florence and they had four children – William, Mary (prob died young), George, and Mary.

There are several earlier entries:
Nicholas and Mary Platt had Thomas (b. 12.3.1706) and Mary (b. 17.7.1708)
Thomas and Elizabeth Platt had Thomas (b. 1.3.1740) and Elizabeth (b. 8.5.1743)
Thomas and Mary Platt had Elizabeth (b. 25.2.1770), Jenny (b. 31.1.1773), Charles (b. 3.9.1775) and Rose (b. Sep 1782)
Rose Platt had Carl (b. 28.5.1802)
George and Florence Platt had William (b. 25.1.1889), Mary (b. 14.12.1889), George (b. 10.12.1892), Mary (b. 18.11.1893).

In the 1851 Census there were many of the Platt family in the town:
John Platt (40) b.1811
Theodosia Platt (38) b.1813
Charles Platt (22) b.1829. Brian Platt added (May 2019): Charles was born in Ramsbury in 1829. He appeared on the 1841 census son of Charles and Anna, and his siblings were Naomi, Matilda, Herbert and Sarah. Herbert later moved to Marlborough married and had a son Edward who later become my grandfather, hence my interest. In the 1851 census Charles had moved to Ham and with his mother Anna and brother Herbert. The father Charles had died in 1851 and Anna was now a widow. There is no further trace I can find and as he was shown as a pauper labourer led me to wonder if he had come into the care of the Hungerford and Ramsbury Poor Union.

John Platt (9) b.1842
Elizabeth Platt (7) b.1844
Henry Platt (5) b.1846
Theodosia Platt (3) b.1848

See also:

- Platt Family - brief notes (pdf)

- The Priory

- 121 (now 120a) High Street - was Manor House