Tuesday, 3 April 2012


In the late 19th century and early 20th century many breweries left their cramped homes in Edinburgh's old town and moved to the outskirts of the city. Some chose the southwest, in Gorgie around the Slateford Road. Others went for the southeast, around Duddingston and Craigmillar.

The concentration of breweries in the tiny suburb of Duddingston was quite remarkable. Seven breweries within a few hundred yards of each other. Clustered around the railway which must have been one of important factors in choosing Duddingston. That and the wells providing good brewing water.

Take a look at this map from 1918:

I'm pretty sure I know all seven of the breweries. Just not able to identify them all on a map. These are the details of the breweries:

Duddingston breweries
Brewer Brewery opened closed
Machlachlan (Tennent 1960) Castle Brewery 1901 1966
Pattisons Ltd. (Robert Deuchar 1899) Duddingston Brewery 1896 1961
William Murray Craigmillar Brewery 1887 1950
W & J Raeburn (Robert Younger 1913) New Brewery 1901 1939
Drybrough Craigmillar Brewery 1892 1987
T.Y. Patterson & Co. Ltd. (James Aitken 1936) Pentland Brewery 1901 1936
John Somerville & Co. (William Murray 1922) North British Brewery 1897 1962
"A Century of British Brewers", Barber, 2005.
The Scottish Brewing Archive website

If anyone can identify which brewery is which, I'd be most grateful. To help, here's an aerial photograph that shows most of them:

There will be more to come on Duddingston as I unearth more about its breweries.


half_man_half_pint said...

The brewery at the bottom left of your map is the North British Brewery.
Murray's took over Somerville in 1922. It moved all production to this brewery in 1950. There is a nice pic of it here (+ Drybrough and Deuchar) -

Murray's NB Brewery is in the foreground.

Ron Pattinson said...

Half man half pint, great photo that with the three breweries in it. Thanks. And for identifying the North British Brewery.

Dan Hackney said...

You've probably already seen it, but you can see the remains of the Drybrough brewery on Google Maps. And tantalisingly the Y B and R of the name on the side from here:


Ron Pattinson said...

Dan, yes I'd noticed that some of Drybrough's was left. Hadn't spotted those letters on the wall, though. They look rather sad.

Ike said...

On your map the top brewery is T.Y. Patersons Pentland Bry. The Bottom left is Sommerville's North British Bry, as HMHP said and the Brewery at the bottom right is Raeburn's New Brewery. The photo is good. I'd not seen that one before.
I just love Craigmillar/Duddingston. There was nothing else quite like it. A village made up of breweries. What more could you ask for?

Ron Pattinson said...

Ike, thanks very much for that. Good to have them all identified.

Did Duddingston have the greatest concentration of breweries anywhere in the UK? Isuspect it might have.

Ike said...

Burton had a similar concentration, between the High Street and the station, and far more breweries but it was a much bigger town. Craigmillar/Duddingston stands out on it's own because it was just pure brewery. I am pretty sure there was nothing like it in Britain. Breweryopolis. Lovely.