The biggest business in Dawlish was the Ferris Steam
Brewery and lemonade works covering both sides of the road (connected by
overhead pipes) from 1817-1928.
The building on the south side contained the brewing section. In 1825,
owing to ill health, John Till sold the brewery to local farmer Richard
Brock of Botchill at an auction at the York Hotel (now the URC) on the
Strand conducted by John Force of Exeter. The price was £1,650. His
brother-in-law, Richard Ferris took it over and it became Ferris
Richard Ferris II took over the brewery in 1838 and, to increase his
sales of beer, started to purchase pubs in Dawlish to 'tie' them to his
brewery. Apart from the Prince Albert, the first was in 1849 with the
Royal Western (near the station), then The Brunswick Arms in 1855
followed shortly by The Country House (Smugglers Inn, Holcombe) in 1863,
then a good handful in 1872, The Station Hotel in 1874 and The
Teignmouth Inn in 1875.
In 1865, he had bought a lot of property in High St, including many
cottages, an orchard and a wheelwright’s shop. These housed some of his
workmen – maltsters including Sid Sanders, dray men and carters and
Just a few years after, Richard Ferris died in 1878 and his son, Richard
Brock Ferris, took over.
In 1902, Brock was a1so a whiskey bonder and blender with his bonded
warehouse in Teignmouth. He won prizes in France for his drinks for he
not only brewed beer but also made lemonade, “the best in Devon. The
recipe jealously guarded by the Ferris family and died with them”
although it is said that he only drank mineral water from Torquay. He
produced Oatmeal Stout which was considered better' than Guinness from
Dublin. He continued to buy pubs and owned 28, when the brewery was sold
to heavitree, who immediately closed down the business and trans¬ferred
all brewing business to their site in Exeter. Brock died in 1932 with an
estate of £75,000.