3rd Generation Takeover

John McKenna died in the district of Altrincham (where Bowdon is located) in 1890, aged 64, and his elder brother, Bernard, died at his home in Lea Grange on 27 August 1893, aged 69. The Manchester Times carried an obituary of Bernard; two months later his son John Harold McKenna, then living with his wife Amelia and daughter Norah (7) at Prospect House, Church Lane, Blackley, took over the licence of the George & Dragon on 19 October 1893. His other son, also called Bernard, was also involved in the family business.

According to Gall, the two brothers, Bernard & John Harold, then formed the company B & J McKenna Ltd ‘in 1895 with capital of £80,000…’ and had also acquired The Osborne House on Rochdale Road, and in 1898 purchased at auction the Derby Inn on the corner of Rochdale Road and Factory Lane, Blackley25. There were other acquisitions: Manchester historian Alan Gall has listed 14 former McKenna public houses, (see Appendix 3), in addition to the George & Dragon,‘the head centre of the transactions of this well-known firm of spirit merchants and brewers’.26 With their substantial brewing and bottling base at their Harpurhey Brewery, by the end of the century the third generation McKenna brothers were on top of a sizeable business empire, mainly within a very manageable area of East Manchester. But it was soon to come to an end.

It is into the next century that the remarkable story of the McKennas, brewers and pub owners, is concluded: see the 20th century history, Chapter 2.


25Alan Gall, ‘Manchester Breweries of Times Gone By, vol 2’, p16

26Momus, article on Swan Street, June 2, 1881