KNOWING Memories’ love of old bottles, Geoff Clay in Bishop Auckland has sent in a picture of a West Auckland Brewery bottle that he found in a ploughed field.

“The brewery was at the rear of the Manor House on Front Street and was owned by Sydney Monk when my dad, Dougie Clay, worked there in 1944 when he was 14,” he says.

“He can remember the men sampling the beer that was left in the returned barrels,” says Geoff. “Also he remembers a few German prisoners of war coming down from the camp at Harperley to work in the brewery.”

The West Auckland Brewery was founded in 1840 by JH Taplin. It ran into financial problems in 1877 and was taken over by a group of maltsters and brewers which included JW Cameron of West Hartlepool.

It maintained its own identity and brewed a range of milds, stouts and Indian Pale Ales. It even owned about 80 pubs in the south Durham area.

It was fully taken over by Camerons in 1959 and West Auckland ceased brewing in 1962. We believe that all trace of its brewery has now been cleared – but we’d love to hear any more information. Some of the early West Auckland bottles look to have had very fancy designs embossed onto them.