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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 our present location at York House. The CAMRA Twickenham Beer Festival at York House is now one of the most popular and eagerly awaited events on the local calendar. 2014 also saw the branch celebrate its fortieth 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.
Latest revision 21st April 2016 — branch-constitution_rev3.pdf (134kb)
The area covered by the Richmond & Hounslow branch is best described as follows:
The whole of the Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames (excluding anything in SW15). The Borough of Hounslow, but no further north than a line drawn down the middle of the A30 (Gt South-West Road) from the Greater London boundary (just south of Heathrow Terminal 4) to its roundabout junction with the A4, then down the middle of the A4 (Gt West Road) to Chiswick Roundabout, then along the TW8/W4 postcode boundary to the middle of Kew Bridge (meaning anywhere in W4 is excluded).
To join CAMRA, access the National web-site at www.camra.org.uk or write to the Membership Secretary at CAMRA, 230 Hatfield Rd., St. Albans, Herts, AL1 4LW. You can also join by phone on 01727 867201 or in person at any official CAMRA Beer Festival.