Our Backstory

Crookley Park House was built at the end of the 19th Century in the “Arts & Crafts” style for the Gale family. The Brewery pre-dates the house having been built in the mid-19th Century. The house is largely as it was then; the major changes being the replacement of a large conservatory, where vines were grown, by the largest part of the shop next to the car park, and the construction of the extension where the café is situated which was a smaller conservatory. The house and the car park were constructed on what were fields, the trees, some of which were specially imported are original, a tennis court was located on the lower lawn and a pond was a feature of the ground now covered by the warehouse building.

In the 1930’s the house was sold to a family of local builders, the Privetts, who retained ownership until the 1950’s. During the war the house was used by evacuees from London, who were looked after by nuns, and as a billet for Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force. As part of their occupation of the site, a series of Nissen huts were built in the grounds. Plans were also drawn up for the use of the house as a command centre in connection with the D-Day landings, and some preparatory work for the laying of cables was carried out, but in the end, it was not required.

The next chapter in the history of the house really starts in 1921 when Sidney Cassey met Sixten Heymann. Sidney Cassey worked for Liberty, Sixten Heymann became his silent partner. Together they started Sixten & Cassey, a textile wholesaler based in the west end of London. The Company thrived and in the early 1950’s, as a result of Sidney’s son Charles visiting this area during the war, he set up a printing works just up the road from here on the London Road on what is now an industrial site, using a government grant to aid businesses after the war.

Charles bought Crookley Park in 1955 and lived here for many years with his wife Ann. Gradually the Company moved all its operations down here, the Nissen huts coming in useful as well as parts of the house which became offices and showrooms. Printing ceased in 1974 and in the mid 1980’s a modern warehouse replaced the older buildings in the grounds.

The shop started over 47 years ago in the small rooms on the ground floor and has expanded steadily over the years, occupying the entire ground floor, with a café and the terrace area.

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