Records of John Aitchison & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Memorandum and articles of association 1938 and 1955;
  • Amalgamations and liquidation papers 1843-1961;
  • Minutes of directors' meetings 1895-1952;
  • Records relating to directors' meetings 1899-1961;
  • Minutes of members' meetings 1895-1960;
  • Records relating to annual general meetings 1961;
  • Directors' annual reports and accounts 1950-1961;
  • Seal book 1895-1926;
  • Shareholding records 1897-1964;
  • Financial records 1828-1964;
  • Appointments and contracts of employment 1843;
  • Salaries and wages records 1936-1960;
  • Pensions and life assurance records 1948-1965;
  • Health and safety records 1948-1959;
  • Licensed premises records 1898-1961;
  • Property records 1903-1961;
  • Promotional material 1901-1961;
  • Historical notes 1984-1988.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Kirkfield Brewery was established in Peebles, Scotland , in 1730 by William Kerr and was acquired by William Aitchison in 1810  . The latter also acquired St Clement's Well Distillery , Tranent, Scotland in 1813 (sold 1833) and premises at 2 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, Leith , and Dalkeith, Scotland , by 1828. In 1830, he built a brewery on the South Back of Canongate (now Holyrood Road) in Edinburgh, Scotland and brewing subsequently ceased at Peebles .

William Aitchison died in 1837 and was succeeded by his son, John Aitchison , founder of the Edinburgh Brewers' Association . After John's death in 1857, the business was run by his eldest son, William John Aitchison . William was subsequently joined by his brother, Thomas S Aitchison , who acquired the firm after William's death in 1878.

In April 1895 , John Aitchison & Co Ltd was registered as a limited liability company to acquire the business of the same name at a purchase price of GBP 60,000. The company acquired Victoria Bottling Co Ltd of South Shields, Tyne & Wear, England , and a number of licensed houses in Tyneside in the 1900s . A large part of the neighbouring Edinburgh and Leith Brewery on St John's Street was purchased from Edinburgh United Breweries Ltd in 1925. McLennan & Urquhart Ltd , Dalkeith Brewery, Dalkeith, together with 6 licensed premises, was acquired in 1955. Brewing ceased on this site in 1958, although bottling continued until 1961. The company, along with 68 licensed houses, was acquired in 1959 by Hammonds United Breweries Ltd , Bradford, England , and merged the following year with John Jeffrey & Co Ltd , brewers of Edinburgh, to form Aitchison Jeffrey Ltd . John Aitchison & Co Ltd went into liquidation and brewing at the Canongate Brewery , 21 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh ceased in 1961.

Source: Richmond, Lesley and Turton, Alison (eds). The Brewing Industry. A Guide to Historical Records ( Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1990 )


The material is arranged according to the Scottish Brewing Archive classification scheme used within all SBA collections.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Tennent Caledonian Breweries

Other Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

The collection was previously stored with the rest of the Scottish Brewing Archive at Heriot-Watt University. It moved to the University of Glasgow in 1991. Custody of the Scottish Brewing Archive was transferred to Glasgow University Archive Services in 2008.


None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 MUQ: Records of McLennan & Urquhart Ltd

GB 0248 AJ: Records of Aitchison Jeffrey Ltd

GB 0248 EUB: Records of Edinburgh United Breweries Ltd

GB 0248 T: Records of Tennent Caledonian Breweries

GB 0248 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection

GB 0234 : Records of John Aitchison & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh (1878-95 : prospectus and balance sheet) (National Archives of Scotland)


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Collection catalogued by Natalie Milne, Archive Assistant (Hub), 30 October 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description, 8 June 2005. Catalogue edited by Wiebke Redlich, Archives Assistant (Hub), 12 February 2002; Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist, 19 December 2008; and Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 30 April 2012.

Geographical Names