Percy Hugh Waistell 1875-1944

Percy Hugh Waistell
Percy Hugh Waistell

The story of Reffells Bexley Brewery revolves to a very large extent around one man; Percy Hugh Waistell. In August 1904 he was appointed as Head Brewer following a period of uncertainty for the brewery. His leadership and the company then became inseparable. Under him, the brewery began a long road to recovery, ultimately becoming a very important part of the Bexley community.

Percy was born on 8 April 1875 in Northallerton Yorkshire to Charles Waistell (1835-1911) and Margaret Ida Toyne (1845-1925). He was the third of four brothers and had two sisters, one of whom died as a child. He married Hilda Florence Aldersmith (1877-1968) at Horsham in 1905. They had two children, John Kipling Waistell (1909-1994) and Kenneth Hugh Waistell (1917-2008). The middle name of Kipling was a nod to Percy’s grandmother, Isabella Kipling.

After moving to Bexley in 1904, he lived there for the rest of his life. Percy was an avid cricketer and in 1922 he was captain of the1st XI Bexley Cricket Club.

Despite having being away from the company for a period of six years early on, Percy Waistell was associated with the company right up until he died on 3 April 1944. He was buried at St Mary Bexley, being transported there on one of the Reffells Bexley Brewery Limited lorries.

Hilda Florence was a widow for 24 years, dying on 12 January 1968 and is also buried at St Mary Bexley.

Their son John Kipling Waistell had been a director of the brewery since 1938 and upon his father’s death become the last Managing Director of the company.