Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Annual reports and notices to shareholders, 1930–1957;
  • Family papers, 1741–1870;
  • Financial records, 1856–1965;
  • Historical notes, 1939–1989;
  • Letterbooks, 1856–1912;
  • Licensed premises records, 1954–1958;
  • Memorandum and articles of association, 1889–1956;
  • Minute books, 1889–1951;
  • Minutes of members' meetings, 1889–1955;
  • Patents and trademarks, 1894;
  • Photographs, 1907–1960s;
  • Production records, 1897–1979;
  • Promotional material, 1870s–1964;
  • Property records, 1899–1958;
  • Public relations, 1910–1991;
  • Records relating to directors' meetings, 1924;
  • Records relating to members' meetings, 1890–1955;
  • Sales records, 1881–1925;
  • Seal book, 1947–1963;
  • Shareholding records, 1889–1955;
  • Seal book, 1947–1963;
  • Staff records, 1873–1939.

Administrative / Biographical History

William McEwan , the son of John McEwan , shipowner of Alloa, Scotland , was born in 1827  . He served his apprenticeship with John Jeffrey , an Edinburgh brewer, and in 1856  he established his own business, the Fountain Brewery , in Fountainbridge in Edinburgh . He quickly established a large Scottish market and in the 1860s  built up a successful colonial export trade. His sister married James Younger , an Alloa brewer, and one of their sons, William, joined his uncle's business. When William McEwan entered politics in 1886  , William Younger became the firm's manager. William McEwan & Co Ltd was registered in July 1889  as a limited liability company to acquire the business at a purchase price of GBP 408,000. The company acquired the trade and goodwill of Alexander Melvin & Co of the Boroughloch Brewery , Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh , in 1907  . It merged with William Younger & Co Ltd , Abbey Brewery, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh , to form Scottish Brewers Ltd in 1931  , and that company merged with Newcastle Breweries Ltd in 1960  to form Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd . The Fountain Brewery was closed by S & N at the end of 2004  .


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

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Scottish & Newcastle plc, National Archives of Scotland and former employees.

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 University Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and 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 AM: Records of Alexander Melvin & Co; GB 0248 SB: Records of Scottish Brewers Ltd; GB 0248 SNB: Records of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries; GB 0248 WY: Records of William Younger & Co Ltd; GB 0248 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection; GB 800001: Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd (private collection, enquiries to National Register of Archives for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).

Location of Originals

This material is original


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

Publication Note: Dean, Paul, 'The Silver Peacock Trade Mark', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 24, (Winter 1994/95); Donnachie, Ian, 'Men of Brewing. William McEwan.', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 5, (Summer 1985); Innes, Walter, 'Bottling Beer at William McEwan & Co before 1939', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 24, (Winter 1994/95); McMaster, Charles, 'A Short History of Slateford Maltings', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 14, (Spring 1989); Ritchie, Berry, Good Company. The Story of Scottish & Newcastle , (London: James & James, 1999); 'The Stink [Report from William McEwan Letter Book about Problem of Summer-Brewed Beers, 1905]', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 25, (Summer 1995); Topen, Alma, 'William McEwan. The Early Years.', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 23, (Summer 1994); Topen, Alma, 'William McEwan. The Photographs.', Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 24, (Winter 1994/95).

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and 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.

Collection catalogued by Natalie Milne, Archives Assistant (Hub), 20 November 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 21 March 2012. Catalogue edited by Wiebke Redlich, Archives Assistant (Hub), 20 March 2002, and Iain Russell, Scottish Brewing Archive Archivist, April 2006.

Geographical Names