Tolly Cobbold’s Cliff Brewery

Listed Buildings in Ipswich: No 9 Tolly Cobbold’s Cliff Brewery

Built between 1894 and 1896 the Cliff Brewery as it stands today replaced, for the most part, the original brewery first established on the site by Thomas Cobbold in 1746. Cobbold’s brewing business had begun down the coast at Harwich but it would be at Ipswich where he and the Cobbold family would go on to establish a brewing dynasty.

Attributed to London brewery architects William Bradford & Sons the building remained largely unchanged after 1896 apart from the modernization and increase in size of the brewing equipment following a merger with Tollemache, another family run brewing giant, in 1957. By 1983 Tolly Cobbold had a tied estate of 343 pubs. If you went out for a beer in town you would inevitable end up in one of their establishments, but you’d have been advised to stay clear of the Husky Lager which, according to John Cobbold – “tasted like dog’s piss“.

John and his brother Patrick were hugely popular members of the Cobbold family and under their respective Chairmanship’s Ipswich Town Football Club enjoyed huge success on the pitch.

Although it closed in 1989 the Cliff Brewery is still a major landmark in Ipswich – best viewed from the River Orwell on the approach to the Wet Dock – and while various attempts to revive its fortunes have come and gone the listing of the site at Grade II status means that at least the building survives even if it is in a somewhat derelict state.


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