HM King Rama VII visits Boon Rawd Brewery in 1933

King Rama VII visits Boon Rawd Brewery King Rama VII visits Boon Rawd Brewery
On 11 July 1933, His Majesty King Rama VII visited the new brewery site at Samsen. The photo shows, from left, HRH the Prince of Kampangpetch, King Rama VII, Queen Rambai Barni, Prince Chirasakti Suprabhat (the King's adopted son), and Praya Bhirom Bhakdi (looking at camera), the brewery's founder. The King came by car that day, but there was just dirt road back then, not yet paved. The king's residence at Sukhothai Palace is a short distance from the brewery, not more than 2 kilometres, but it proved to be a very bumpy ride. On this first visit, the king witnessed the laying of the foundation, so it was pretty much bare land with a lot of dirt, cleared space for the buildings, cranes and workers. He was excited nevertheless and looked forward to the next visit. He was by then a constitutional monarch having granted democracy on 10 December 1932. With keen interests the king also bought shares in the company as well. In Praya Bhirom Bhakdi's diary, it was recorded that the King thought that the venture would help give more jobs to Siamese as well as reducing the outflow of currency, as all beers were imported then, from Singapore, Japan, Netherlands and Germany.
King Rama VII visits Boon Rawd Brewery by boat

On 28 December 1933, King Rama VII visited the brewery site again, this time by the boat "Saam Sor" or Three Arrows, as he mentioned that the road was a bit rough the last time he came. On this visit, the brewery's main building has been completed, and the machineries partly installed. His Majesty visited every inch of the brewery, wanting to know everything about the brewing process. He walked up to the very top floor, and stood on the roof in fact, and thought highly of the scenic scene. The brewery, at 6 stories-high, was probably the highest point around that area at the time.

Afterwards, on his leaving as seen on the left, with Praya Bhirom Bhakdi kneeling behind another man, the king told him how fun the visit was, and he will keep coming back to see the development.

Alas, it was never to be. By 1934, the politics in Siam was far from settled, even after the king had granted democracy, and gave up his power to be under the new constitution. The king had already seen 2 prime minister with a period of less than 2 years. Corruption was ripe as the king had recorded in his diary. He was also not well, and went abroad for medical check up. He finally abdicated the throne on 2 March 1935 and left Siam for a quieter life in England. The ex-king died on 30 May 1941, aged on 47. He was cremated without pomp and ceremony seen by past Thai kings, and his ashes only returned home when Queen Rambai Barni was invited to return to Thailand in 1949.
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6 April 2015