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A History of Henry Boon Clark

Henry Boon Clark, a brewing soldier of fortune, was born at Hide Hall, Sandon near Royston in Hertfordshire in the third quarter of 1843. He was the eighth and last child of a farmer George Clark. Interestingly that farm had a maltings.

In 1869 aged 25 he was a brewer at 9 Dover Rd and 3 London Rd Northfleet, Gravesend (premises later run as William Pope and D.A. Edgar  from 1880-1885 then W. Pope & Co, becoming Barkway & Hitchcock from 1897 until a name change in 1902 to Northfleet Breweries Co, taken over in 1918 as an addition to their Gravesend premises at 48 Arthur St by the Dartford Brewery but closed down in 1921.

In 1871 at age 27 Henry is living at across the Thames at Horndon-on-the Hill as a brewer. The only brewery anywhere near would have been Blyth & Squier’s Stanford-le-Hope Brewery.

Henry Boon Clark got married to Emily Jane at Wandsworth in 1873 and their daughter Eva Boon Clark was born at Gravesend in 1874.

In 1881 he is the 36 year-old brewer at Whittlesford Mills not far from Duxford in Cambridgeshire. With him in the house are also his wife Emily Jane born at Barley in Hertfordshire about 1845 and 7 year-old daughter, plus a governess, a servant cook and a housemaid.

In 1891 Henry Boon Clark and Emily with their 17 year-old daughter are in a villa at Broadwater, Worthing, West Sussex where the Census shows him as an ex- brewer and Eva is shown as an artist/sculptor.

In 1892 there’s the record of a life interest in Woolvers Dean farm was bequeathed to Emily Jane Clark (wife of Henry Boon Clark of Kimpton, Herts, brewer's manager) by Mrs Clara Walbey of Bexleyheath, Kent. In 1901 he is still living with wife Emily Jane in the brewery house at Kimpton near Hitchin but that was the year when the former Lion Brewery then called the Hertfordshire Brewery was sold to Brass & Abbott. Incidentally, the Hertford Brewery aka McMullens was to supply the yeast used by the reborn Clark’s cask ale brewery.

Henry and family are first recorded at Wakefield living at 6 Oxford Road, St Johns in the 1902 Burgess Roll, but later at 21 Oxford Road. (a sample house in Oxford Road)

1904 and 1905 were not good years for brewers. Beer production, already down by 7% on the turn of the century peak, would dip by another 2½% during 1905. Consumption per head would drop even more alarmingly, down nearly 15% on 1899, a change coming over the beer trade. Instead of spending his money on beer, the working man was spending it on football and other things such as hippodromes.


Although signs on the brewery say “Established 1906” the advert shown claims to be from January1905. There is the record of an Eva Clarke being married at Wakefield in the 2nd quarter of 1906, but in the 1911 Census no husband is shown living with her at the family home in Oxford Road.

The last record of Henry at  Oxford Road is about the end of the war, but the landmark traditional tower brewery was opened in 1918 behind a pub then called the Green Dragon, although the modern brewing plant dating from 1983 now operates from single storey premises.  From the Twenties the business was known as H B Clark & Co (Successors) Ltd but has remained in family hands ever since.


The Garthwaite family had a history of brewing traceable back to the 1850s, and its present sole owner and managing director is David Russell Garthwaite.

The Green Dragon was to become the brewery’s first tied house, and is now known as Henry Boon’s.