Harold Westhead

150 Simcoe Street, Next to Labatt Brewery Parking Entrance


Harold Westhead worked at Labatt Brewery for over 30 years. This story comes from the London Public Library’s Oral History Heritage project


I got a temporary, well just part-time job in 1934, eventually I got steady and I worked until I joined the army in ‘42. I was on the in the bottling department, packing bottles, now it’s all automatic.

Eventually I went onto the brew side, and onto the kettles, and I was over there for a number of years. But it was a lot of hard work in those days. You tell those young fellas today down there how we used to work and they think you’re crazy.

After a mash was run off into the kettles, you had to go inside it. And most of the mash was pumped out and you had to clean what was left, lift all the plates and hose it all off for the next brew. Used to have three mash tubs that way, now they lift the plates about once a year. One kettle used to have three, and we used to have to go right down in the kettle and clean the bowl of the kettle. It’s all done with automation now today. The beer was pumped up into a hop container and then we’d had to go in there and clean that all up, lift the plates and all that. Everything’s done by pressing buttons today.