As many articles in our industrial and commercial series have shown, medium sized towns such as Dunfermline, supported all sorts of businesses and activities which have now long been centralised at a national or international level. To brewing, engineering, food processing, clothing and transport we can now add printing and bookselling. In “The Millers of Bridge Street“, Jean Barclay relates the history of a family who played an important part in the life of Dunfermline for two generations.
In the third of his series on aerated water manufactures in Dunfermline, George Beattie presents the history of James Woodrow and Sons, the largest and longest lasting of the these businesses. For 100 years from 1908 this firm produced, bottled and distributed a wide range of soft drinks, and also bottled beer and cider for several drinks companies. In 1993 they bought Mitchells as part of an ambitious expansion campaign. Their history is one of growth, in volume and geographical range, until they too were bought over by a still larger business.
In the next in our series on Dunfermline’s Industrial Past, William Mitchell and Sons Ltd, George Beattie relates the history of another of the soft drinks manufactures. They latterly operated from Garvock Hill, having built the factory which later became the Vine Centre. The firm operated from about 1938 until 1993, when they were taken over by Woodrow.
In “An Excellent Goose for Dunfermline“, our last new article for this year, Jean Barclay brings to our attention an unusual newspaper article written in 1865 and collected in the “Folio of Oddities”. In it, the unknown author speculates on how Dunfermline may have developed, or rather , not developed, had the Damask Linen business not become established. This gives us an unusual assessment of how important hand-loom weaving industry actually was to the growth of the town.
In the first of three articles about Dunfermline soft drinks manufactures, George Beattie tells the story of Gilbert Rae, whose company demonstrated the innovation and experimentation of late Victorian Scotland. Gilbert Rae produced ginger beer, lemonade, kola and many other products and he pioneered the use of electricity, motor transport, scientific testing and much more as he built up a large business.