A High Speed Car Tour of the Tennent’s Brewery, 1986


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.

More Articles for You

A Walk Through the Pre-Industrial Landscape of Heathrow’s Hinterland

Marcus Liddell explores the semi-rural environs of London’s largest airport

The Incident of the Blindfolded Hypnotist and the Ilford Car Crash

Dan Carney tells the little-known tale of a very unusual car crash in 1977

The Sperm Whale and the Volvo 245

WORDS & PICTURES: Peter Riley – this is an extract from his book, Strandings (Profile Books, 2022) When I was …

Ghosts of the Motorway

A haunting new video for a modern motorway ballad evokes memories of journeys past

Abandonment, Trespass and Flood: Unofficial Britain’s Strange & Unsettling Reads of 2021

Gareth E. Rees with his annual list of books about landscape, memory and culture

In Memoriam Ian Rawes: A Tribute to The London Sound Surveyor

Ben Thompson remembers the work of a major figure in UK field recording