In 2019 Roger Mears Architects were appointed to work with Sambrook’s Brewery on their relocation at the Ram Quarter in Wandsworth. The Ram Quarter is an exciting new residential and retail quarter, combining contemporary living with iconic heritage at the historic Young’s Brewery site where beer has been brewed since at least 1533. Opened in 1831 the site has contributed much to the borough’s social and historic fabric. When closed in 2006, the brewery was a mix of ancient and ultra-modern plant, where horses and drays were still used for local deliveries of beer within a mile or two of the brewery. The brewery officially closed on 25th September 2006 but a nano-brewery has been kept on-site, ensuring the Ram lives on as Britain’s oldest continuous working brewery.
The present brewery buildings are listed at Grade II*, the oldest surviving parts of the site date from the late C18th (the Brewer’s House), the early C19th and Henry Stock’s new brewery of 1882/3. The chimney was built 1908. Listed at Grade II* primarily for its remarkable survival of C19 machinery including a pair of intact 1835 and 1869 Wentworth & Sons beam engines, but also as the main working range of an unusually complete urban brewery with C18 brewer’s house, late-C19 stables and early-C20 public house each representing architectural and industrial developments of the long-established successful brewery on this site.
Ram Quarter visual (from Sustainable Delivery Plan of Ram Quarter by HSD)
The Greenland Group developed a vision of the Ram Quarter industrial brewing heritage through discussions with Wandsworth Council and other key stakeholders. Planning consents had been previously obtained for the comprehensive redevelopment of the site, alterations and change of use of the retained former brewery buildings, demolition of non-listed buildings and the construction of new residential buildings as well as new public areas, river walkways, car, and cycle parking. Fitting into the arts programme to enhance its cultural offer, this project provided a viable solution to the vacant site addressing the sensitive setting through the creation of a working brewery linked to a taproom and a heritage centre/shop.
Proposed ground floor plan
Previous permissions included a micro-brewery within the former Cooper’s shop and works to the former Boiler house to accommodate staircases and flues ready for the subsequent fit-out stages. Following from this stage we worked on the fit-out of these spaces with the aid of a planning consultant, a structural engineer, an M&E consultant, a fire strategy consultant and an interior designer. Most of the internal changes required further applications and negotiations with the Conservation officer to agree to a sensitive approach on materials and impact of services.
A number of alterations were made to the mezzanine and cast iron columns to get this irregular shaped area ready for the new installation. Ventilation grilles, flues, hygienic cladding material and additional services were agreed and installed.
The site, comprising the former Boiler room at ground floor with mezzanine was found ready to take a new layout and finishes. We worked on the proposed taproom main elements, the circulation areas, the toilets and the location of some of the brewery equipment (the tanks) that were too big to be accommodated in the Brewery. Redundant structure and tanking membrane was removed were possible. The location and type of extractors and ventilation system were agreed prior to installation. The interior design and fittings were curated by Lerose Studio.
The Heritage centre
The Heritage Centre is a museum and exhibition space designed to present the history of the Ram Brewery. It is designed to work in conjunction with the Micro Brewery and the Taproom so that visitors tours start from here to provide a full picture of the history of brewing on the site until the present day. The Centre comprises all three floors of the Boiler House Store with its historic coppers. A number of salvaged items are displayed in bespoke settings and light features are designed to guide the visitor through a journey upwards while the historical narrative is developed. This brings the visitor from a broader understanding of the site, right through to the finished product itself. The interior design and fittings were curated by Lerose Studio.