Records of Alexander Melvin & Co, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • Sales records, 1868-1894;
  • Photographs, c1900-1980s;
  • Historical notes, 1896-1988.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Boroughloch Brewery, Buccleuch Street,  Edinburgh, Scotland, was established prior to 1805 by James Anderson. By 1840 the brewery was being operated by Anderson & Inglis, James Anderson's widow carrying on the business.

Sometime before 1850 the brewery was acquired by  Alexander Melvin. By the 1860s,  Alexander Melvin & Co, as the brewery became known, were reputed to be the fifth largest brewery business in Scotland with a wide spread domestic trade, and by the 1880s also had a large export trade, sending beer to Australia, India, West Indies, South Africa and the USA. After a bad fire in 1896 the brewery was extensively reconstructed and expanded. Around the turn of the century Alexander Melvin was succeeded by his son of the same name. Although the company seemed a vibrant firm by the standards of the 19th century it did not survive long into the 20th century. The firm ceased to brew in January 1907 and its trade and goodwill was acquired by  William McEwan & Co Ltd, Edinburgh, while Mr Melvin was allowed to keep the loans to customers to give him an income. The reasons for the brewery's demise are unclear. Alexander Melvin jnr built up a new career as a property developer.

SAM, THERE IS MORE INFO WITHIN THE COLLECTION AS TO THE LATER HISTORY OF THE BUILDINGS. I'LL RESEARCH AND UPDATE. ALSO, NEED TO FIND IF THEY WERE MALTSTERS AS WELL AS BREWERS. ALMA.

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

McMaster, Charles. Scotland's Forgotten Breweries. Alexander Melvin & Co, The Boroughloch Brewery, Boroughloch, Edinburgh in Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 11 (Summer 1988)

Arrangement

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

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

AM 7/2/1 and AM 7/5/1 deposited by a family member in 1983.

Other Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Scottish Brewing 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. Custody of the Scottish Brewing Archive was transferred to Glasgow University Archive Services in 2008.

Accruals

None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 SNM: Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland, in particular, William McEwan letter book, SNM 3/3 for references to the brewery closing and the trade being taken over by McEwan's.

Articles and notes about Melvin's and brewing at the Boroughloch can be found in the Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletters, issues 11, 12, 13, 14.

Location of Originals

This material is original

Bibliography

McMaster, Charles. Scotland's Forgotten Breweries. Alexander Melvin & Co, The Boroughloch Brewery, Boroughloch, Edinburgh in Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 11 (Summer 1988)

McMaster, Charles. Reply to Letters to the Editor in Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 12 (Autumn 1988)

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

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Liz Ball, Archive Assistant, 25 October 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description, 8 June 2005. Catalogue revised by Natalie Milne, Archives Assistant (Hub), 19 December 2001; Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 06 March 2002; Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist, 19 December 2008; Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 10 May 2012. Lower levels converted to EAD by Michael Beesley, Archive Assistant, August 2013. Amended by Sam Maddra, Assistant Archivist (cataloguing), 09 January 2014.

Geographical Names