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Name: DOWDING, Henry Ashton

Birth Date: 3 July 1865 Marlborough

Death Date: 25 July 1941 Woking, Surrey

First Date: 1922

Profession: Partner with the Hurst brothers in founding Kenya Breweries - connected with the Edme Malt Extract Company

Area: Ruaraka

Married: 1. In London 12 Mar 1909 Anna Josephine Eugenie Lefebvre b. 1876 France, d. 1911; 2. Kathleen Power Symonds b. 6 Feb 1887 Lichfield, d. 9 Sep 1962 Woking

Children: ?Leslie William (got probate)

Book Reference: Brewery, Manual

General Information:

Charles Hurst communicated his thoughts to his brother and to a friend named H.A. Dowding, who was connected with the Edme Malt Extract Company. The three men examined possible sites on the outskirts of Nairobi and chose Ruaraka because here was a permanent stream to supply water for their brewery ..... they discovered that they were only one of three groups of people who were looking at Ruaraka with the idea of starting a brewery. There was no time to lose. Charles Hurst went down to the Coast, boarded a ship, travelled to England and paid cash for brewery equipment (at least equipment such as the three partners could afford). He had the plant loaded in a vessel that promised a fast passage to Mombasa and so returned to Kenya. The die was cast. Charles and George Hurst and H.A. Dowding had subscribed £2,500 each towards the venture. While Charles was away the other partners lived in a tent, dug a well near to the river's edge, cleared the land and built the brewery. The building of cut stone and corrugated iron was ugly but functional. The plant arrived and was installed. A company known as Kenya Breweries Limited was formally registered on 8 December and production began on 14th December 1922. Charles Hurst was the first brewer. Going by the manual he followed the instructions implicitly, boiled the resultant solution in a small copper vessel over a kuni [wood] fire, bottled the brew and carried ten cases, the first order, to Mr Waterman, the manager of the Stanley Hotel. Those who remember Mr Waterman can imagine the kindliness with which he would have accepted the crates, have extracted the cork from the first bottle of local beer, tasted the brew and raised his eyes to that high roof of the Stanley lounge. Charles Hurst was no brewer so Mr Hector Money was appointed acting secretary of Kenya Breweries Ltd. The first official meeting took place at the factory on 6 March 1923. Charles Hurst was in the Chair, George Hurst and H.A. Dowding were present. The three men elected themselves directors with Charles as Managing Director. A brewer was engaged - Mr Spurrier and arrived at the beginning of 1923 and it was at this time that Mr J.C. Aronson joined the company as a director. He took the place of George Hurst, who sadly enough, had been killed by an elephant in a hunting accident. In memory of the sad occasion it was decided to call the products of Kenya Breweries "Tusker".
1939 England and Wales Register living in Woking with wife, as Chairman of Edme Ltd, Malt Extract Manufacturers

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