Barclay Perkins Brewery, formerly the Anchor Brewery, was witness to an extraordinary diplomatic incident in September 1850. The brewery had by then garnered an international reputation and received high-ranking visitors from near and far. The incident here focused on visit by the Austrian General Haynau. He had a reputation for extreme cruelty, particularly against women. News of his forthcoming visit to the brewery led to a mass demonstration (and disturbance) led by draymen who, upon witnessing the General’s signature in the brewery’s visitor’s book, attacked him with sticks, brooms and whips with cries of “Down with the Austrian Woman Flogger”. After some frantic and protracted struggles, Haynau escaped to a nearby public house before the police arrived and escorted him to safety across the river. Newspapers had a field day, either deriding or celebrating the actions of the ‘mob’. One, The Daily News said:
We rejoice that he (Haynau) escaped without serious injury, but we also sincerely rejoice that such a manifestation of British feeling, so honest, so popular and so spontaneous, as well as energetic, goes forth to the world of Europe to mark in what estimation the deeds of Austria in Hungary are regarded by the intelligent of our industrial classes.