James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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John Robert Conway (JRC) Fitzgerald Day

Dolgelly Brewery I was told that JRC and a friend, Cray, who were known as 'Daisy' and 'Crazy', set up a Brewery in Dolgelly (map) but the advertisements for "The North Wales Brewery Co. Ltd." from 1900 to 1907 mentioned only "J Fitzgerald Day" as managing director. The brewery produced mild and bitter ales but principally the ads promoted its Welsh draught stout, "equal to the finest Dublin stouts". In addition, it offered "grains suitable for feeding cattle and pigs" available "at lowest market prices". Sadly, several newspapers in January 1908 reported how one of JRC's schemes created a severe backlash from the temperance movement.

Beneath the heading "FREE DRINKS SCANDAL IN NORTH WALES - NONCONFORMISTS PROTEST AT DOLGELLEY" the Welsh Gazette and West Wales Advertiser, 16 Jan 1908 reported: "An influential deputation representing the various Free Churches of Dolgelley attended the Petty Sessions of that town on Tuesday of last week to lodge a complaint The Rev. Richard Morris, M.A., B.D., acted as spokesman. He stated that a resolution was unanimously passed at all the local chapels the previous evening strongly condemning the unnecessary spread of drunkenness in the town. On two occasions - a fair day and New Year's Day - tickets had distributed at the instance of the Dolgelley Brewery. These tickets entitled the recipient to a free drink at six specified public houses in the town. Scores of people availed themselves of the opportunity thus offered and, consequently, gallons of intoxicating drinks were consumed. The deputation, therefore, required a repression of this abuse. ... The gentleman who was mainly responsible for this mistaken kindness was a comparative stranger to the locality. He hailed, the speaker was given to understand, from the Emerald Isle, the land of beauty and of sorrow, where such practices may be tolerated. However, they in this part of Wales considered the practice a. direct outrage on public opinion, affecting as it did public morality and militating against the work the ministers and laity as temperance advocates endeavoured to accomplish." JFC's solicitor argued that the practice was common in towns and that the tickets had not been distributed as had been instructed. "Although the practice would be henceforth discontinued, still it was certainly not his clients intention to do anything glaringly outrageous, and he sincerely regretted if inadvertently he had offended public opinion. Having thanked the Bench for their courtesy and Mr. Davies for the assurance that the giving of free drinks would not thus be repeated in the town, the deputation retired."

I am told that, over the period of its operation, the brewery made a loss of £5000, a huge sum in those days.