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Carling Breweries

Carling Breweries
Plaque no. 39
Date of plaque unveiling
7 October 1995
John Lutman
At the bottom of Ann Street, near the banks of the Thames River, London, Ontario

Carling Breweries was demolished in 1940. A replica of the plaque is now mounted in the Ivey Family London Room, Central Library, London Public Library, 251 Dundas Street, London, Ontario.

Take a tour of Carling Breweries on HistoryPin

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Carling Breweries was established in London in 1843 by Thomas Carling, a native of Yorkshire, England, who had settled in London Township in 1819.

He married Margaret Routledge in 1820, and they moved to London in 1843 with their sons William, Isaac, and John. Thomas established a small brewery on Waterloo Street, an ideal location directly c. 1875 opposite the British military garrison, which quartered thirsty soldiers.

In 1850, Thomas passed control of the brewery to his son William, and John was made a partner. John Carling later served in Prime Minister Macdonald’s cabinet, was knighted, and appointed to the Senate.

The business expanded rapidly, with a new brewery in Montreal and agencies across the country. Products were shipped throughout Canada and the United States.

Between 1873 and 1875, a new brewery was built on Ann Street near the Thames River, the site having been chosen for its proximity to a large spring-water pond. In 1879, a spectacular fire destroyed the building and seriously wounded William Carling, who had attempted to save some files from the burning building. Weakened by exhaustion and exposure, he died of pneumonia two weeks later.

The Carlings rebuilt the brewery which was 300 feet long and five and a half stories high, with a seven-story malting tower, and surrounded by a complex of outbuildings and warehouses.

After John Carling’s death in 1911, his son T. Harry Carling assumed the company presidency. Wartime restrictions and prohibition reduced the brewery’s output and it closed temporarily in 1920.

In 1924, the business became a joint stock company, Carling Breweries Limited. In 1930 it was purchased by E.P. Taylor and closed in 1936 when amalgamated with the Kuntz Brewery of Waterloo.