FURTHER INFORMATION RECENTLY COME TO LIGHT.
A 9th Plate Daguerrotype portrait image of Thomas Neale Junior (1802-1854), taken circa 1840, has recently come to light, having been sold on eBay for the princely sum of £188. The size of the image is 2.5” x 2”.
(The Daguerrotype was the first commercially successful photographic process (1839-1860) in the history of Photography. Named after the inventor Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, each daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate.)
Also, in a separate auction lot, from the same source, a contemporary (but undated) letter written by a Mr Chambers, throws further light onto to the Reigate Brewery’s early days and its connection with the Reigate & Darking Bank.
To recap - After Charlotte Matilda Bunn married Mr Thomas Neale Jnr., of Reigate, the friendship between them and Mr Chambers continued. Mr Thomas Neale was a partner with his father (also Thomas Neale), and his brother William in the Reigate Brewery, Mr Thomas Neale Senior being also a partner in the Reigate Bank. The partnership in the brewery commenced in 1830, Mr Thomas Neale Jnr’s capital being provided partly, by himself, and also by £1,000, his wife’s property, and a loan from Thomas Neale Senior.
Mr Thomas Neale Senior was supposed to have a large capital in the bank but a sudden call for £1000 by one of the contractors for the Brighton Railway then in the course of construction, created a difficulty.
It is with regard to this that Mr Chambers writes:
“My Uncle Frank (brother in law of Mrs Thomas Neale) borrowed the money for the day, but the arrangement was made too late to go to Reigate by coach and there were no telegrams in those days, so a gig was engaged in which I started off, taking a man with me; it was a bitter evening in February, the snow deep and the waters of the Mole out beyond Croydon, but I got down about 11 and started back at 5 the next morning with the requisite securities and was at my office in Mincing Lane in good time. In consequence of this difficulty it was decided that I should examine the bank accounts also…” (Mr Chambers had made up the accounts of the Brewery for some years hitherto) “… and to our great astonishment and regret it was found that instead of Mr Thomas Neale Senior having capital in the Bank, there was a heavily overdrawn account. This required to be immediately dealt with. There was the Public Houses which had not been included in the capital but a Banker could not be borrowing money on Mortgage so I arranged for the purchase of them by Mr Thomas Neale Jnr. who, through his brother in law Mr E. Watts, obtained an advance upon them to put Mr Neale Senior’s account at the bank on the right side. The Brewery, apart from the Public Houses, was purchased by Mr Thomas Neale Jnr. and his brother William.
“Unhappily old Mr Neale again speculated and persons in connection with the London & County Bank having discovered that there was again an overdrawn account, the doors of the bank were closed.
“I could say much on this subject but it is not necessary at present. Suffice it to say that I was in a position to enable Thomas Neale Jnr. to once again say that whatever might be due by his father to the Bank should be ready for the payment of the first dividend, which was done greatly to the establishment of Mr Thomas Neale Jnr’s credit.
“Not having the bank to draw on any longer it was thought desirable to bring a monied partner into the brewery and I had various negotiations open with this object and, in order to show the capital already engaged, an entry was passed in the Brewery books bringing in the value of the Public Houses.”
At about this time, Mr Frank Chambers returned from India and went into business in London. Mr Chambers writes about this:
“I was for some years my Uncle Frank’s right hand, assisting him in every possible way until, contrary to all I had waged against it, he threw himself into the hands of Overend Gurney & Co., when I thought it right to take no further part or to be mixed up in his proceedings. For a time all seemed to go smoothly, but a crash came when I again did all I could to lessen the difficulties and the two creditors for whom I felt most sympathy were Mr de St Croix and Mr Mellersh and for whom I strove to the utmost to be of service, Mr Mellersh’s case was extremely painful, the greater part of his capital had been put into my Uncle’s business with a view to partnership, and there was no prospect of recovery of any of any material part; he was with me I might almost say, night and day, coming to me early in the morning and going home with me in the evening, saying his marriage must be given up and he must try to get a clerk’s berth at £100 or £150 a year. I said what I could to cheer him and keep him up and never gave him the cold shoulder but was always ready to listen to him and always on the watch for something that might turn up in his favour and he often said that he looked for help from me more than through any other channel, while I on my part had formed the highest opinion of his integrity and was purposed to offer the strongest testimony in his favour.”
“While matters were pending (re a Partner for the Reigate Brewery) Mr Mellersh’s position was dwelling on my mind and it led to my visiting Mrs Neale, the health of her husband being then in a very critical state, explaining exactly how matters stood, that while on the one hand if we obtained a larger amount of capital which would be immediately productive, on the other, by the management of of one in whom we had entire confidence the business might in time be even better developed. I recommended a reference to Mr Watts as to the view he might take in the matter; the reply was that Mr Neale was satisfied to leave it all in my hands, accordingly the entry bringing in the Public Houses was written back, Mr Neale only taking a rent from them and a partnership was found accommodated to Mr Mellersh’s reduced capital, to having the benefit of the much larger capital on which Mr Neale took only Interest.”
At this time Mr Chambers made provision for Sisson, son of Thomas Neale Jnr., to become a partner in the Brewery when he came of age, he being then eleven years old and considered delicate.
Mr Chambers never ceased to take an interest in the Reigate Brewery and for many years audited the books.
In consequence of the provision made, as above, by Mr Chambers, Sisson Neale became in due course a partner in the Brewery which has since been turned into a Limited Company and has continued to prosper.