The National Brewery Heritage Trust (NBHT) has made 4,400 historic images of more than 2,000 Charrington & Co pubs from across the country available in the Mary Evans image library.

The Abbey Tavern, in Kentish Town Road, London, from the Charrington & Co collection

These unique images were saved from a skip by one of the NBHT’s directors and can now be viewed on line at maryevans.com.

Prints of these pictures are also available to purchase from the NBHT website with proceeds supporting the ongoing work of the charity.

NBHT chairman, Harry White, said: “This move is in-keeping with one of the key objectives of our charity, which is to protect and preserve and make available to the public the collection of archives and artefacts of brewing held in the National Brewery Centre in Burton-on-Trent.

“Having launched the National Brewery Centre Archives last year, we’re delighted to extend the reach of the collection further by placing these amazing pub pictures in this well-respected image library. Further NBHT image collections will be added to the Mary Evans image library in due course.”

This priceless photographic record of pub architecture was saved 30 years ago by Robert Humphreys MBE, now a director of the National Brewery Heritage Trust, when the entire collection had been dumped in a skip during an office move.

You don’t have to be a brewing history expert to appreciate this collection, which offers views of hundreds of watering holes, reflecting the range and variety of architectural styles in the public houses Charrington owned.

There are cosy, thatched or weatherboard-clad pubs in country villages from Kent to Somerset, echoing the local vernacular; flamboyant gin palaces of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, once seducing drinkers on every prime corner site in London; tucked-away East End boozers; and the Tudorbethan behemoths built along suburban thoroughfares between the wars.

There are even examples of mid-century pubs constructed as part of housing estates or new towns, so if you want a photograph of a Wimpy Bar or Toby Carvery, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s tough, though, to see how many of the pubs in this collection were victims of the wrecking ball or unscrupulous developers.

As Robert Humphreys writes: “History sometimes seems remote, detached, and hard to hold in one’s hand. This collection brings history into our own lives.

“Pubs lie at the heart of their communities, and the people in them are the heart of the pub. Following our emotions and instincts in the pursuit of personal understanding through this collection can bring great rewards.”

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