Mr Baron John Davenport 1868 - 1939
Mr Baron John Davenport was the chairman of Davenport’s Brewery. The brewery, which was founded by his father in 1885, was situated on Bath Row in the centre of Birmingham. Baron was an astute businessman and took a prominent role in the direction of the company. He was described in a newspaper article dated March 1930 as being ‘public spirited and kind hearted’ and ‘an ideal employer’. Baron provided excellent working conditions for staff at the Brewery.
Baron Davenport showed signs of social concern when, we are told, he was disturbed by the sight of children waiting outside public houses while their parents drank inside. Following this he had the idea of ‘Beer at Home’ whereby beer was delivered to customers’ houses, at first by horse and cart, and later by motorised vehicles. Baron hoped that this would encourage people to drink at home rather than in public houses. In 1935 over 175,000 customers were taking regular weekly or fortnightly deliveries from the Brewery. It became famous for this service and indeed the slogan ‘Beer at Home Means Davenports’.
He established the Charity on 16 July 1930 with £100,000 - £80,000 in shares in Davenport’s Brewery and £20,000 in cash. The Brewery was taken over by Greenalls in 1986, with the Charity being a major shareholder. Over the years investment specialists have managed this endowment increasing the fund’s value to over £30m. At the moment the Charity’s annual income is in the region of £1m.
In 2005 the Charity celebrated its 75th Anniversary. To mark this occasion special grants from the Charity, amounting to £75,000, were presented by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham is Patron of the Charity and there are seven Trustees, including the Chief Financial Officer of the City of Birmingham, who is an ex-officio Trustee. The Trustees come from a range of backgrounds and experience.
Names of Trustees
Mr W M Colacicchi
Mrs S M Ayres
Mrs L M Bryan
Mr A N Jones
Mr P M Horton
Ms V A Milligan
Mr M Easton