Monday, 2 January 2012

The Aitken family again

More gossip from Alex Young. Sort of about the Aitken family.

I'd not expected this:

"This I must tell you, Mrs Aitken was French, they had a house in St Malo in France. When the Germans invaded France that was one of the first places they occupied Mrs Aitken just got out by the skin of her teeth she got over to Britain in a coal boat with just the clothes she stood up in."
That's the first mention of Aitken's wife. How had they met? I can't imagine Falkirk was full of the French back in 1900. Sounds like she had quite an adventure, dodging the Germans.

This nest section explains the later management of the company.

"Dan Robertson came as the head brewer William Findlay came as Private Secretary to Mr Aitken John Young came as the Foreman Cooper, I'm not sure It's so long ago whether they came from Patersons* or Murray's**

When Aitken died Findlay and Robertson became manageing Directors. At the Board Meetings an Edinburgh lawyer by the name of Beveridge represented Mrs Aitken William Findlay brought into the business his two sons James and Roy, Roy was a partner in a Broker and Accounting firm, Roy was a good Tennis player but a right Playboy, they put him in the advertising side but he did'nt last long. His wild life eventually caught up with him, his wife left him and killed himself drinking. In the meantime the father died and James took over as manageing Directer and was in that position until the take over"

According to "The Breweries of East Stirlingshire" (by Forbes Gibb, 2007, page 31), James Heugh Aitken died in 1933. He'd been running the company since his father's death in 1898. Not a bad run then, 35 years in charge.

Aitken himself (that's him looking dapper to the right) had no son to take over the business, just one daughter. If she'd been a boy, the family might have stayed in control. Bit sexist, these brewery owners. I can't remember any daughters being brought into the business, while it was standard with sons. Up until at least the 19th century, at least one son would be trained as a brewer.

I bet Roy Finlay didn't drink himself to death with beer.

*I assume this is T. Y. Paterson & Co., brewers in Edinburgh, who Aitken's bought and
closed in 1936. According to "The Breweries of East Stirlingshire" (by Forbes Gibb, 2007, page 22) William Finlay (managing director) and Daniel Robertson had both previously worked for T. Y. Paterson.

** Presumably William Murray & Co., another Edinburgh brewer.

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