If there’s one place that I love to mooch around in Weymouth, it is an area named Brewer’s Quay for rather obvious reasons, if properly named, it’s Hope Square.
This area has a lot of history, not least that it was where the breweries in the past chucked out that distinctive cooked hops aroma from their tall chimneys..It is said that brewing had taken place in this area in one form or another ever since 1252.
The large Devenish Brewery buildings once housed the workers who saw to the fermentation process, many living in the small houses and cottages that surround the area.
Once its life as a brewery was finished in 1985, it became an indoor shopping area, and the Time-walk, one of Weymouth’s top attractions for tourists, and the local museum. you could even have a tour of the old brewing areas, see an old steam engine working, gaze at the gleaming vats that once held the liquid gold.
Then some bright spark decided that it was ripe for development in time for the 2012 Sailing Olympics…all the businesses were turfed out, Time Walk and Museum shut…and that was that!
During the Olympics, when visitors flocked to this area on their way up to the Nothe, this big edifice stood empty and very much deserted!
But the pubs and restaurants around the square filled the area with tables and chairs, music and song, dancing and jiving, the area came alive again…
The old brewery has been opened again now, filled with antique shops, bric a brac centres and crafts, it’s lovely for a mooch on a cold Sunday’s afternoon, and a spot of lunch in one of the numerous surrounding eateries. (Since closed again!)
We’re still waiting for the museum to be relocated back there…how on earth can a town like Weymouth, with so much history be without a museum? It’s complete madness!
Across the way stood Groves Brewery, this too no longer serves its original purpose, now it houses people in their luxury apartments.
Take a meander to the other side of the square, just behind the Devenish buildings is the old stable blocks where the great dray horses were kept. They would plod along the streets, carts packed with the giant wooden kegs that were ready to be dropped down the hatches that opened up in the ground to the cellars below the pubs.
Always a fearsome sight to a small child, the heat and strange smells that rose from these black holes in the pavements that whispered of evil spirits and dark places where children could be locked away…
Now instead of hooves on cobbles and sweet smelling straw in mangers, they contain holiday lets and sweet dreams of lazy sunny days to be enjoyed.
How I long to raise my face skyward and smell that strange but sweet and sickly smell again…