Records of George Ritchie & Son, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Corporate records 1889;
  • Shareholding records 1890;
  • Financial records 1890;
  • Production records 1890;
  • Licensed premises records 1880-1890;
  • Property records 1838-1897;
  • Promotional records 1888-1890;
  • Public relations 1934;
  • Family papers 1861-1895.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Ritchie & Son , Edinburgh, Scotland , was created when George Ritchie , merchant and brewer from Leith, Scotland (1802-1879), purchased the Bell's Brewery after the death of its previous owner Robert Keir in c1835  . The brewery had originally been established by John Bell and his son Hugh in the middle of the 18th century  .

The brewery was a successful business employing 15 employees in 1851, 25 in 1861 and 40 in 1871. The company traded throughout the British Isles in Belfast, Cardiff, Carlisle, County Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Manchester, Newcastle and Sunderland. It also had an interest in the Cross Keys Hotel, Peebles, Scotland, and in several public houses and hotels in the north-east of England.

The family involvement with Bell's Brewery ended in 1889, when George Ritchie jnr accepted a substantial offer from a company to be known as Edinburgh United Breweries Ltd , which also took over three other breweries at the time.

Source: Flint, Edward S . George Ritchie & Son (Bell's Brewery) . University of Stirling Certificate in Scottish Family History Studies. 4 Family and Business. (Unpublished) Edinburgh, 1997.


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

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The collection was passed to the Scottish Brewing Archive at Heriot-Watt University by Messrs Dundas & Wilson C. S., solicitors in Edinburgh via the National Register of Archives (Scotland).

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 EUB: Records of Edinburgh United Breweries Ltd

GB 0248 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Fonds level description compiled by Natalie Milne, Archive Assistant (Hub), 6 November 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description, 8 June 2005. Catalogue revised and administrative history by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 15 January 2002. Catalogue revised by Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist, 05 December 2008; and Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 11 May 2012.

Geographical Names