The Brewery Arts Centre opened its doors in 1972, when the premises was converted from the old Vaux Brewery, hence the name.
Whitwell, Mark and Co (“The House of Whitwell”) established a wine business on this site in 1757, with cellars said to hold over 40,000 gallons of wine and in 1853, the company built a new ale brewery in the garden of the Georgian town house that still fronts the Brewery on Highgate.
By 1900 Whitwell Marks’ Kendal was one of the town’s largest employers and best known industries.
In 1946 the firm was taken over by Vaux Breweries of Sunderland and in 1971, when they relocated the offices, the town house became a Youth Hostel and the industrial buildings began the conversion into the Brewery Arts Centre as we know it.
Since 1972 the Brewery Arts Centre has hosted thousands of exciting and vibrant artistic events with many famous names gracing the stages of the Malt Room and Theatre performance spaces. The Brewery has also evolved to become one of the most important education centres for the arts in the North West with an extensive programme of arts based learning for youth and adult learners.
The Brewery gardens are the last remaining of many which would once have flourished behind the town houses lining Highgate. The steps to the upper garden, leading to the terraced garden have recently been restored to their original grandeur.
‘Recollections’, a book celebrating the history of Brewery Arts Centre, is available from the Box Office.
A graphic ‘timeline’ display was opened in the Intro Bar area of the Brewery in Spring 2012, a visual representation of some of the highlights and milestones in the 40 years from 1972 to the present day.