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CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale, was formed in 1971 by a small group of disaffected drinkers who had become aware that the quality of most beer was in almost terminal decline. The problem had arisen because the larger breweries were continually promoting and increasing the production of bland, pasteurised keg beers at the expense of traditional Real Ales, served by handpump. In pub after pub, Real Ale had ceased to be available and traditional handpumps were ripped out, replaced by uniform rows of dispense systems for tasteless, pressurised keg beer. Thirty-three years later, CAMRA, with its 70000 members, is often described as the most successful consumer pressure group in the world. Real Ale is again available in most pubs and there is a thriving market for the vast range of beers produced by breweries of all sizes.
The Richmond and Hounslow (originally Richmond and Twickenham) Branch of CAMRA was formed in 1974, when the West London Branch, which was becoming too large and successful to manage effectively, split into three. The new branch was soon thriving due to a tremendous enthusiasm for Real Ale in this area. Then, as now, two famous local brewers, Fuller's and Young's owned many of the pubs in the area. The branch campaigned tirelessly to ensure that as many pubs as possible continued to serve Real Ale and, even in the darkest days of the late-seventies when pub after pub had become keg only, it was always possible to find local Real Ale on handpumps in the Richmond, Hounslow and Twickenham neighbourhoods.
Throughout the 1980's, the tide slowly started to turn as more and more Real Ale re-appeared in pubs throughout this and other areas. All over England, small breweries started up from scratch and many of the larger brewers resumed the production of the Real Ales they had considered killing off only a decade before.
In the 1990's the focus of the local campaign changed in order to reflect and promote the wider availability of Real Ales that could now be found. To help achieve this, the annual Twickenham Beer Festival was started at the Feltham Assembly Rooms in 1992. The Beer Festival was an instant success and has nearly always been a sell-out. By 1998, we were too big for Feltham so we moved to York House in Twickenham. However, with Covid-19 lockdown and rising costs for the hall we restarted the festival in 2022 at a new location close-by in the Winchester Hall (part of the Turks Head pub), St Margarets. The CAMRA Twickenham Beer Festival has been one of the most popular and eagerly awaited events on the local calendar and hope this continues at its new location. 2004 also saw the branch celebrate its thirtieth birthday and a party was held at The Express Tavern in Brentford, where the branch was formed in 1974. Supporters, old and new, joined us at this milestone event.
The Greater London regional director Geoff Strawbridge announced changes to London's branch structure, which will make the Campaign even more effective when lobbying to save pubs. The area covered by the Richmond & Hounslow branch has therefore been expanded to now include the entire Borough of Hounslow. Acquiring additional pubs/clubs and members from the West London and West Middlesex branches. These changes became effective from October 1st 2017.
Latest revision December 2017 — branch-constitution_rev4.pdf (64kb)
To join CAMRA, access the National website at www.camra.org.uk/join or write to the Membership Secretary at CAMRA, 230 Hatfield Rd., St. Albans, Herts, AL1 4LW. You can also join by phone on 01727 798440 (during office hours 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday-Friday) or in person at any official CAMRA Beer Festival. CAMRA offers members aged 18 to 25 discounted rates.