WORDS: Gareth E. Rees
From the 1960s until the 1980s, my late grandfather, George Wright, was a sales manager for Tennent Caledonian. Born and bred in Maryhill, with a penchant for cigars and whisky, he was – as one of his workmates says – “a legend in his own lifetime”.
In my book, Unofficial Britain, I write about the strangeness of the Tennent’s brewery’s location, nestled on the banks of the Molendinar Burn, at the foot of the city’s Victorian Necropolis, allegedly laid out as a giant masonic symbol, and a focal point of the ancient communication lines described in Harry Bell’s, Glasgow’s Secret Geometry: the City’s Oldest Mystery.
I also mention a retirement video, made for my grandfather in 1986, and largely shot in, and around, the grounds of the brewery. It’s a sprawling fifteen minute-long mashup of droll interviews with his colleagues, strewn among comedy skits, clips from popular TV ads, and footage of Scottish sports icons.
Here’s a clip from that film, in which Papa is shown barrelling around the brewery in his car, offering you a glimpse of the interior as it was in the mid-80s. It also includes him pretending (I think) to street drink. But who knows? What happened in the 80s, stays in the 80s, I suppose.