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 Journey Through The Ancient Commons of the Bristol Ring Road

Andy Thatcher explores the A4174 to seek out the relics of hard-won ancient rights

Unofficial Britain’s Weird and Wonderful Reads 2022

WORDS: Gareth E. Rees I’ve had an insanely busy year. It began with me finalising my debut short story collection, …

Climate Change, Ecological Breakdown & Neoliberal Anxiety in the English Edgelands

LOCATION: Southern England WORDS: Gareth E. Rees, author of Unofficial Britain “Global warming had gone past the tipping point, the …

Newcastle’s Haunted Alley: The Mysterious Origins of The White Lady of the Quayside.

Joe Barton and Jack Gardner search for the true life origins of a dockside spectre

Edgeland Visions: Heraldic Relics from an Imaginary Time

In advance of his exhibition in Margate, Matt James Healy shares his abstract visions of a world on the edge

Beer Cans, Wildflowers and a Dead Dog’s Ashes – A Dream Life Beneath the Pylon of Hackney Marsh

With the remains of his dead dog in a cardboard tube, Gareth E. Rees returns to the pylon that sparked his edgeland obsession