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Edinburgh, Slateford Road, Caledonian Brewery

Brewery (19th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Slateford Road, Caledonian Brewery

Classification Brewery (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Caledonian Road; Usher Vaux

Canmore ID 52576

Site Number NT27SW 105

NGR NT 23167 72078

NGR Description Centred NT 23167 72078

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/52576

Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SW 105 centred 23167 72078

Caledonian Brewery [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, March 2010.

Activities

Note (12 June 2023)

NT27SW 105

Centred at NT 23167 72078

Canmore ID: 52576

Barber (1996, 60-1) notes that by the early 20th century, there were at least 29 breweries in Edinburgh. One of these, the Caledonian Brewery or the ‘Caley’ as it was known locally, survived until July 2022 when it ceased brewing. It was the last large commercial brewery in Edinburgh and its closure ended over 250 years of large-scale brewing in the city.

The Caledonian Brewery was founded as the Lorimer Clark Caledonian Brewery in 1869 by George Lorimer. It was acquired by Vaux and Associated Breweries in 1946 who ceased brewing at the site in 1987. By 1990, it was operating as the Caledonian Brewery Co. Ltd. The brewery was acquired by Scottish and Newcastle in 2004, when it became known as the Caledonian Brewery Company. Scottish and Newcastle was taken over by Heineken in 2008 who operated the site until its closure. The Caledonian Brewery’s most famous brands were Deuchers IPA and 80/- (rebranded as Edinburgh Castle).

The brewery is stone and brick-built with cast iron columns and wooden floors internally. Fire damage at the site has meant that some of the buildings have been repurposed or rebuilt. The photographic survey carried out in January 2023 by HES was in response to the news that the now closed brewery was having its equipment sold. The Brewery consisted of a Brewhouse (building originally dating from 1869) – malted grain storage, grist mill, Mash House, Copper House, boiler house and chimney, Hop Store, a Fermentation area known as the Fermentation Squares (originally 17 open tanks where the wort was dosed with yeast), a Racking and conditioning area (for cask ales - rebuilt in late 1990s), a Kegging area linked to the Fermentation block (2005), an Engineers shop (originally the cooperage with internal remodelling), attendant offices, laboratories and storage. There had been a fire in the late 1990s when the brewery buildings had undergone some rebuilding (e.g. the Racking area) and replacement of equipment (such as the coppers in the Brewhouse mostly replaced in 1998). Indeed, fire damage is still visible in the grist case area of the Brewhouse.

The brewery was originally served by the Caledonian Railway which delivered coal for the coppers' fireboxes until the 1990s.

Information from Heritage Recording, HES (MMD), 12 June 2023.

Photographic Survey

Survey carried out due to closure of this brewery the Summer of 2022.

HES Heritage Recording and Archaeology Service, January 2023.

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