Records of Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd, brewers, Glasgow, Scotland

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • Memorandum and articles of association 1901-1965;
  • Certificates of incorporation 1901;
  • Partnership agreements 1861-1972;
  • Amalgamation/liquidation papers 1960-1967;
  • Directors' minutes 1867-1959;
  • Board papers 1916-1958;
  • Minutes of AGMs 1901-1959;
  • Records relating to members' meetings 1954-1963;
  • Directors' annual reports and accounts to shareholders 1902-1978;
  • Committee meetings 1978-1982;
  • Miscellaneous corporate records 1904-1977;
  • Shareholding records 1877-1920;
  • Letterbooks 1785-1876;
  • Financial records 1776-1983;
  • Patents and trademarks 1881-1960s;
  • Production records 1830-1920s;
  • Sales records 1812-1910;
  • Licensed premises 1895-1960s;
  • Property records 1806-1904;
  • Promotional records 1870s-1996;
  • Public relations 1864-1996;
  • Family papers/historical notes 1550-1983;
  • Photographs c1900-1990s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Tennent family have been associated with brewing in Glasgow since the mid-sixteenth century. In 1740  , Hugh and Robert Tennent founded H & R Tennent at Drygate Bridge (also known as The Drygate, Drygate Foot and or Drygate Wellpark), Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland. The family business was continued by Hugh Tennent 's sons, John and Robert, who traded as J & R Tennent from at least 1769  . The business expanded in the 1790s  , absorbing the adjacent brewhouse of William McLehose , until the Drygate Brewery, renamed Wellpark Brewery, covered 5 acres. Wellpark was named after "Ladywell" well found in the area, and is commemorated today by a monument outside the brewery. On the deaths of Robert Tennent in 1826  and John Tennent in 1827  , Hugh Tennent , the eldest son of Robert, assumed control of the business. Hugh Tennent acquired a reputation as a philanthropist, holding titles such as Town Councillor, Justice of Peace and Poor Law Commissioner. He retired in 1855  and his fifth son, Charles Stewart Parker Tennent , took control. Under his leadership the company became the biggest beer exporters in the world, selling to markets as far apart as Melbourne, San Francisco, Mauritius and Calcutta. Charles died in 1864  , some months before his father, and the business was operated by trustees on behalf of his sons Archibald and Hugh. .

In 1884 Hugh Tennent acquired his brother's share in the business and assumed sole control. He started brewing Tennent's lager for export in 1885  after a tour of Bavaria in 1881/2  , commencing a new purpose-built German Lager Brewery at Wellpark between 1889  and 1891  . On Hugh Tennent 's death in 1890  , the capital was left in shares to his five half brothers and sisters, the Campbells of Craigie in Ayr, to his sister Annie, to his uncle James Archibald Hay and to his physician Dr Wyllie Clark . Dr Clark was one of two trustees who were in control of the company until, in 1901  , J & R Tennent Ltd was registered as a limited liability company to acquire the business. The company was one of the first businesses in the United Kingdom to can beer. It became a public company in 1953  and formed a subsidiary company, West of Scotland Taverns Ltd , to acquire and operate its licensed premises. In 1960  it acquired Maclachlans Ltd , Castle Brewery, Craigmillar, Edinburgh, Scotland, and over 100 tied houses; Turner's (Ayr) Ltd , bottlers and distributors; and Westcon Ltd , caterers of Ayr, Scotland. J & R Tennent , along with 240 licensed houses, was taken over by Charrington United Breweries Ltd , London, England, in 1963  . In 1966  , it formally merged with United Caledonian Breweries Ltd , Charrington United Breweries Ltd 's other Scottish holding, to form Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd . The new company's brewing was concentrated at Wellpark Brewery, Glasgow, and Heriot Brewery, Edinburgh

Wellpark Brewery was redeveloped between 1965 and 1968 while Heriot Brewery was demolished in the 1990s. In 1967, Charringtons merged with Bass to form the Bass Charrington Group , which continued ownership of Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd . Bass Charrington was acquired by the Belgian brewer Interbrew in June 2000  . In 2004  , Interbrew and AmBev merged to create the company InBev. InBev acquired Anheuser-Bush in 2009  , becoming known as AB InBev. In the same year, AB InBev sold Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd to C Group who retain ownership of the company in 2012  . The company continues to brew at Wellpark Brewery and claims to be the market leader in Scotland. In 2010  , the company celebrated the 125th anniversary of Tennent's Lager.

Richmond, Lesley and Turton, Alison (eds). The Brewing Industry. A Guide to Historical Records ( Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1990 ); The Brewer , Vol.71, September 1985, No.851; and information from Family at Wellpark Brewery To Celebrate 100 years of Tennent's Lager Sunday, 12th May 1985, Souvenir Programme.


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

Conditions Governing Access

Material under 30 years old is closed to access. It is advised that you should contact the archivist before visiting.

Acquisition Information

Tennent Caledonian Breweries

Other Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom. The collection is currently being re-catalogued

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 at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. It moved to the University of Glasgow in 1991. Further deposits have been received since 1991. Custody of the Scottish Brewing Archive was transferred to Glasgow University Archive Services in 2008.



Related Material

Most of the collections mentioned below are of companies that were acquired by Tennent Caledonian Breweries.

GB 0248 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection

GB 0248 WST: Records of West of Scotland Taverns Ltd

GB 0248 GJM: Records of G & J Maclachlan Ltd

GB 0248 CUB: Records of Charrington United Breweries Ltd, breweries & licensed premises group

GB 802302: Records of Charrington United Breweries Ltd (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England)

GB 802302 BAC: Records of Charrington & Co Ltd, brewers (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England)

GB 0248 UCB: Records of United Caledonian Breweries Ltd

GB 802302 no 619: Records of United Breweries Ltd (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England)

GB 0248 GY: Records of George Younger & Son Ltd

GB 0248 JJ: Records of John Jeffrey & Co Ltd

GB 0248 JA: Records of John Aitchison & Co Ltd

GB 0248 AIT: Records of James Aitken & Co (Falkirk) Ltd

GB 0248 AJ: Records of Aitchison Jeffrey Ltd

GB 0248 JF: Records of John Fowler & Co Ltd

GB 0248 TR: Records of Turner, Ayr & Newton Breweries Ltd

GB 0248 WC: Records of Westcon Ltd

Additional Information

This material is original

Fonds level description compiled by Natalie Milne, Archive Assistant (Hub), 20 November 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description, 8 June 2005. Catalogue revised by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 20 March 2002; Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist, 19 December 2008; and Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 11 May 2012, and 30 May 2012. Administrative history amended by Cheryl Brown, Archives Assistant, 28 May 2012.

Geographical Names