2. William Butler

The Birmingham General Cemetery (Key Hill)

Section I 622

Rev'd E. H. Manning Wrote in his book :-

Founder of the firm of Mitchells and Butlers Ltd. He was widely known for his many charitable actions and the great interest he always took in Friendly Societies. The esteem in which he was held was shown by the respect of the crowds of people who lined the whole length of the streets while the cortege passed. 13,000 people visited the cemetery the day after to show their respect, and to view the hundreds of floral tributes.

The memorial inscription reads:-

In loving memory of Nelly the beloved child of WILLIAM and M. J. BUTLER who died March 13th 1884 aged 18 months. Also Mary Jane BUTLER who was suddenly called away in the 17th year of her age November 16th 1888. "We cannot Lord thy purpose see but all is well that's done by thee" "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." (Horizontal slab): In loving memory of Mary Jane the dearly beloved wife of WILLIAM BUTLER and mother of the above, of Elmdon, Selly Park late of "Crown Inn", Broad Street who fell asleep November 29th 1899 aged 59 years. "A devoted wife - a loving mother - a faithful friend." In affectionate remembrance of WILLIAM BUTLER husband of Mary Jane BUTLER who died August 24th 1907 aged 64 years. "Beloved by his family and fellow men."


Reading E. H Manning’s biographies I was amused at the thought of William Butler, a major brewer being buried amongst so many leading advocates of the Temperance (anti-drink) movement.

More Information

William Butler came from Hinckley in Leicestershire, and when only 16 he walked to Birmingham. He worked in the Crown, Broad Street, and in 1866, took over the license at the London Works Tavern, Smethwick. Ten years later he moved back to the crown but this time as licensee and brewer. He was prospering and continual building and rebuilding work enlarged his brewery and Inn beyond recognition. When more expansion was needed, it was logical that two leading breweries should join forces creating Mitchells and Butlers at the Cape Hill Brewery. The rest, as they say is history.