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

GB 1127 T.
Records of Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd, Brewers, Glasgow, Scotland.
Dates of Creation:
13.80 metres.
There are no physical characteristics that affect the use of this material.
Held at:
Scottish Brewing Archive.
Name of Creator:
Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd (brewers: 1966– : Glasgow, Scotland).
Level of Description:
  • Revised by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 20 March 2002
  • 8 June 2005 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003–10–15)
  • Administrative/Biographical History updated by Iain Russell, SBA Archivist, 30 March 2007
Published by:
Scottish Brewing Archive, 20 March 2002.

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Administrative/Biographical History

The brothers John and Robert Tennent opened a public brewery and distillery during the 1770s in the Drygate near Glasgow Cathedral. The business expanded in the 1790s, absorbing the adjacent brewhouse of William McLehose, until the Drygate Brewery (renamed Wellpark Brewery) covered 5 acres. Robert Tennent died in 1826 and John Tennent in 1827, Hugh Tennent (the eldest son of Robert) assumed control of the business. Hugh Tennent retired in 1855 and his fifth son, Charles Stewart Parker Tennent, took control but died in 1864, some months before his father. The brewery was subsequently operated by trustees on behalf of Charles Tennent’s sons, Archibald and Hugh.

In 1884 Hugh Tennent acquired his brother’s share in the business and assumed sole control. He commissioned the construction of a new lager brewery at Wellpark which was begun in 1889 and completed in 1891, the year after his death. The company was entrusted to another trust from 1890 until 1901, when J & R Tennent Ltd was registered as a limited liability company to acquire the business of J & R Tennent. 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 1953.

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In 1960 it acquired Maclachlans Ltd of the Castle Brewery in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, and over 100 tied houses; Turner’s (Ayr) Ltd, bottlers and distributors; and Westcon Ltd, caterers of Ayr. The company, along with its 240 licensed houses, was taken over by Charrington United Breweries Ltd in 1963, and in 1966 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 the Wellpark Brewery and Heriot Brewery, Edinburgh. Wellpark was redeveloped between 1965 and 1968 but Heriot was demolished in the 1990s.

Bass Charrington, Tennent’s parent company, was acquired by Interbrew in 2000. The company became InBev with the merger of AmBev in 2004. Tennent’s continues to brew at Wellpark Brewery and claims to have the largest sales of all beers sold in Scotland.

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

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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, 1830v1920s
  • 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, c.1900–1990s
System of Arrangement:
The material is arranged according to the Scottish Brewing Archive classification scheme used within all SBA collections.
Custodial History:
The collection was previously housed with the rest of the Scottish Brewing Archive at Heriot-Watt University. It moved to the University of Glasgow in 1991. Further deposits have been received since 1991.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:
Tennent Caledonian Breweries.
Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling:
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1127 procedures.
Access Conditions:
Material under 30 years old is closed to access. It is advised that you should contact the archivist before visiting.
Copyright / Reproduction:
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Scottish Brewing Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
This material is original.

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Finding Aids:
File level list available in searchroom. The collection is currently being re–catalogued.
Related Units of Description:
Most of the collections mentioned below are of companies that were acquired by Tennent Caledonian Breweries.
GB 1127 JA: Records of John Aitchison & Co Ltd
GB 1127 AJ: Records of Aitchison Jeffrey Ltd
GB 1127 AIT: Records of James Aitken & Co (Falkirk) Ltd
GB 1127 CUB: Records of Charrington United Breweries Ltd
GB 1127 JF: Records of John Fowler & Co Ltd
GB 1127 JJ: Records of John Jeffrey & Co Ltd
GB 1127 GJM: Records of G & J Maclachlan Ltd
GB 1127 TR: Records of Turner, Ayr & Newton Breweries Ltd
GB 1127 UCB: Records of United Caledonian Breweries Ltd
GB 1127 GY: Records of George Younger & Son Ltd
GB 1127 WC: Records of Westcon Ltd
GB 1127 WST: Records of West of Scotland Taverns Ltd
GB 1127 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection
GB 802302: Records of Charrington United Breweries Ltd (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England – see contact details)
GB 802302 BAC: Records of Charrington & Co Ltd, brewers (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England – see contact details)
GB 802302 no 619: Records of United Breweries Ltd (private collection, enquiries to Business Archives Council, London, England – see contact details)
Publication Note:
Dean, Paul, ‘Tennent’s Malts’, Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 25 (Summer 1995).
McMaster, Charles, ‘Men of Brewing – Hugh T Tennent’, Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 7 (Summer 1986).
Anderson, Archibald F, Letter Received by J & R Tennent, Wellpark Brewery, Glasgow, 5 December 1938, Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No. 17 (Summer 1990).
Manz, Stefan, ‘J & R Tennent’s Lager. The German Connection’, Annual Journal of the Scottish Brewing Archive No. 1 (1998), pp1–12.
Manz, Stefan, ‘Technologietransfer und Spezialistenwanderung. Eine Augsburger Lagerbrauerei in Glasgow, 1881–1959’, Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte 45 (2000), pp225–247.

Fonds-Level Description Compilation Details

Fonds level description compiled by Natalie Milne, Archive Assistant (Hub), 20 November 2001.

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