Records of John Fowler & Co Ltd, brewers, Prestonpans, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Corporate records, 1930–1969;
  • Shareholding records, 1964–1968;
  • Financial records, 1890–1962;
  • Production records, 1931;
  • Sales records, 1931–1937;
  • Staff records, 1931–c1945;
  • Property records, 1960;
  • Promotional material, 1931–1960;
  • Photographs, c1985;
  • Promotional material, 1931–1960;
  • Artefacts, undated;
  • Historical notes, 1986.

Administrative / Biographical History

The business was established in about  1720  in a former whisky distillery in  Prestonpans, Scotland. By  1744  the brewery was in the hands of  Robert Fowler who was succeeded by his son,  John Fowler . The site was extensively reconstructed in  1828 .  John Fowler died in  1839  and the management passed to his nephew,  Robert Hislop, who remained the sole proprietor until the White family acquired the business in  1865 .  John Fowler & Co Ltd was registered as a limited liability company in  1865  to acquire the firm of the same name. The company, along with 36 licensed houses and 2 hotels, was acquired in  April 1960  by  Northern Breweries of Great Britain Ltd,  York, England, who simultaneously acquired two other Scottish breweries, namely,  William Murray & Co Ltd,  Edinburgh, Scotland, and  George Younger & Son Ltd,  Alloa, Scotland. These three breweries were then grouped into a newly formed company called  Caledonian Breweries Ltd, which in  May 1960  became  United Caledonian Breweries Ltd, when the companies of  John Jeffrey & Co Ltd,  Edinburgh, and  James Aitken & Co Ltd,  Falkirk, Scotland, were added to the group.  United Caledonian Breweries Ltd operated as a management company for the Scottish interests of  Northern Breweries of Great Britain Ltd (later  United Breweries Ltd),  York, England, and  London, England, which merged in  1962  with  Charrington & Co Ltd,  London, England, through a holding company,  Charrington United Breweries Ltd,  London, England. Brewing ceased at  Prestonpans in  March 1962 , however, the Maltings were used for a little longer until the entire brewery closed in  1964 .  John Fowler & Co Ltd was finally dissolved in  1989 . The brewery buildings and goods yard have since been converted into residential and commercial units that include houses called  Fowler's Court , while the Maltings have become  Prestonlinks Shopping Centre.


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

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Morfax Ltd and Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd.

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 GY: Records of John Aitchison & Co Ltd; GB 0248 CBL: Records of Caledonian Breweries Ltd; GB 0248 CUB: Records of Charrington United Breweries Ltd; GB 0248 WMC: Records of John Jeffrey & Co Ltd; GB 0248 WMC: Records of William Murray & Co Ltd; GB 0248 GY: Records of George Younger & Son Ltd; GB 0248 UCB: Records of United Caledonian Breweries Ltd; GB 0248 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection; GB 802302 no 619: Records of United Breweries Ltd (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England); 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).

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); McMaster, Charles and Rutherford, Tom, The Tennent Caledonian Breweries, (1985).

McMaster, Charles and Rutherford, Tom, The Tennent Caledonian Breweries, (1985).

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.

Collection catalogued by Natalie Milne, Archives Assistant (Hub), 29 October 2001. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 14 March 2012. Catalogue edited by Wiebke Redlich, Archives Assistant (Hub), 18 April 2002.

Geographical Names