After 200 years of manufacturing beer for the city, Morrell’s Brewery in Oxford closed in 1998.

Following the recent removal of the Lion Brewery gates, after they were damaged by a lorry, we look back at how the brewery finished trading.

The Morrells Brewery main gate in 1994

The Morrell's Brewery main gate in 1994

In July 1998, the Oxford Mail reported that Morrell's workers arrived at the St Thomas' Street brewery knowing that time was about to be called on 200 years of brewing.

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For some, Oxford without a brewery was just about as unimaginable as Carfax without its tower. But any real hope of survival had already gone.

Weeks of rumour about the future of the historic brewery and its 132 pubs had been followed by the unedifying sight of one of the city's most famous families tearing itself apart in public.

Dray horses at Morrells in 1989

Dray horses at Morrell's in 1989

Any doubts about the bitterness of the feud were removed when brewery boss Charles Eld found himself being escorted from the building last month.

By the time the 'grand old lady' of the Morrells family, Margie Eld, quit as a director after 54 years, many had already concluded that the brewery was in its death throes.

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Her words as she left the Lion brewery were not designed to bring any cheer. "I am convinced that the new management intends to sell all the assets of the business as quickly as possible and to make all employees redundant," she said at the time.

For many years the main source of power was a water wheel driven by a stream passing under St Thomas' Street.

Morrells head brewer Louis Gunter with MD Tony Worth in 1981

Morrell's head brewer Louis Gunter with MD Tony Worth in 1981

Over-production in the beer industry had seen a wave of brewery closures all over the country that year.

Morrell's was thought to be under particular pressure from its aggressive competitor just down the road, Morland, riding high on the back of its Old Speckled Hen brand.

Lord Mayor Dr Frank Garside and Col Bill Morrell in the sampling room in 1998

Lord Mayor Dr Frank Garside and Col Bill Morrell in the sampling room in 1998

The Abingdon-based brewery has also closed but the micro-brewery Loose Cannon's beers, made in the town are now popular.

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After Morrell's closed, The Lion Brewery was developed into 79 luxury apartments in 2002 and historic features were retained.

Students visit Morrells Brewery in 1976

Students visit Morrells Brewery in 1976

It is hoped that the brewery gates will be returned this summer.