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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Old Basin Tavern.

58 Old Basin, Baird's Brae, Hamiltonhill, Glasgow.


Old Basin Tavern

The Old Basin Tavern was owned by Hugh Baird & Company, Great Canal Brewery in the 1880s.

The old tavern was rented out to a gentleman called John Peacock for £17.00 per annum. Mr Peacock also owned the Oakbank Spirit Vaults which was situated at the corner of Garscube Road and Camperdown Street, he also owned a smaller public house on North Woodside Road at the corner of Lyon Street.

In 1902 Mr Peacock rented the Garscube premises out to John Higgie, this gave Mr Peacock an annul income of £75.00 which was a great deal of money as he was only paying £17.00 for the Old Basin Tavern.

In the early years the Great Canal Brewery was adjacent to the Old Basin, the proprietors of the brewery owned the tavern. Many old cronies foregather here in the evenings, men who were employed on the "Hoolets," plying between Edinburgh and Glasgow. These were little boats that carried passengers as well as luggage and although slower than the other boats, more romance clustered round them. One of the men who furnished some of the material embodied here was a rider on one of the swift boats, rigged out too, in red uniform and long boots. At one time the magistrates made the tavern the rendezvous of their annual outings.

A note on Hugh Baird...

Hugh Baird & Sons Ltd, brewers and maltsters in Glasgow, Scotland, derived from Hugh Baird & Co of Great Canal Brewery. Hugh Baird senior founded Great Canal Brewery in Possil Road (his first brewery), in 1823. He retired from the brewing side of the business in the late 1850s in order to concentrate on malting at his Springbank works, situated on the Forth and Clyde Canal, Garscube Road. It was not until 1863 that his eldest son Hugh Baird junior joined the company, followed by Hugh junior’s brother Montague Baird, in 1870.

When Hugh Baird senior finally retired from all aspects of the business in 1878 his two sons became sole partners. Various members of the family continued to rank amongst the company’s Directors well into the 1940s and Montague Baird went on to become the president of the Institute of Brewing from 1906-1907. By 1889 the company owned four works; the Great Canal Brewery and Maltings, Rock Villa Maltings, Petershill Maltings at Springburn, and a Roasting Works on top of Hundred Acre Hill.

In 1894 Hugh Baird & Sons became a limited liability company. In 1907 the company took over the well established firm of maltsters, Corder & Haycraft, based in Greenwich, London. This became the Company’s English base for many years until they moved to a new mechanical plant at Witham in Essex in the 1960s. In 1939 the company consolidated with Charles & Co (Leith), the latter becoming a subsidiary company of the former. And by 1947 Thomas Bernard & Co became a subsidiary company by the same process of consolidation.

In 1946 Hugh Baird & Sons Ltd owned the Springbank County Malting and Newside Malting in Garscube Road, Glasgow, the Vulcan Malting at Vintner Street, Port Dundas, and the Electric Malting and Roasting House in Glasgow. The Roasting House was destroyed by fire in the 1950s, and was rebuilt, and fully modernized, operating up until 1966. In 1964 the company opened the Pencaitland plant in East Lothian. All floor maltings were subsequently closed, the Glasgow workings closing in 1966. The mechanical malting plants of Pencaitland and Witham remain operating to this day.


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