Where the Hobby Horse Roams A History of Andrew Buchan's Brewery at Rhymney, Gwent1 N.B. Redman (Company Archivist, Whitbread PLC) For 140 years there was a brewery at Rhymney, a little town at the end of one of the Valleys that run northwards from Cardiff, and for nearly all of that time it bore the name of its founder Andrew Buchan. Forty years ago, in 1951, Whitbread began its association with what at the time was the largest brewery business in South Wales. Twenty five years ago, in 1966, Whitbread acquired the business, then known as Rhymney Breweries Ltd. To mark these anniversaries this article takes a look at the story of Andrew Buchan's brewery. Rhymney Brewery has its origins in the great days of the South Wales iron industry. It was in 1800 that a small company, either as a branch of, or competitor to, the iron works at Dowlais and Tredegar, first cast iron at Rhymney Bridge, 1093 feet above sea level. By 1806 the business was called the Union Iron Co., and some time later Richard Crawshay bought it to assist his son-in-law, Benjamin (later Sir Benjamin) Hall, who gave his name to Big Ben. The concern became the Bute Ironworks, possibly in 1827, and in 1837 the Rhymney Iron Company. It did not take the new Company long to realise that work in the heat of the furnaces gave men an abnormal thirst. On February 7th 1838 the Chairman, William Copeland, a Member of Parliament and a Lord Mayor of London "recommended the propriety of building a brewhouse for the supply of beer to all persons employed in the works", and it was resolved "that the recommendation of the Chairman be approved of and carried into effect forthwith". No time was lost. A month later, on March 7th 1838, a cheque was drawn for ten guineas payable "to Mr Kemp for drawings of a Brewery" to be built on the Monmouthshire bank of the Rhymney river. By January 1839 tenders had been accepted from Messrs Pontifex for the supply of coppers and other necessities. At this time the Company already owned a farm and a shop, the latter at Twyn Camo in Upper Rhymney, supplying many of the needs of the workforce.