As for Charringtons, the brewery behind the cockney rhyming slang, John Charrington started the business in 1766 and they sold out to United Breweries in 1964, round about the time when real ale reared its head, if you’ll forgive the intentional pun. Brown ale and mead are long gone from the fashionable drinking stakes and Toby Ale now only exists as a slang expression. Dray horses, so named because they delivered the beer barrels on a flat cart known as a dray, made their last East End delivery in 1954 and are now only seen in celebrations such as The Lord Mayor’s Show. Similar to the heavy horses that pulled canal boats or ploughs on farms, they became the victims of progress. Many of them ironically lived longer than those who used them but they are nothing more than history with many of their iron shoes pinned on the walls of traditional pubs.
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