St Mary's Brewery

Business: Simson and McPherson Ltd

Location: Edinburgh

Type: Brewery

The St Mary's Brewery was built by James Simson in 1864 when he expanded his business in Melrose to incorporate a new site in Edinburgh. When James died in 1874, the breweries passed into the hands of his sons James and Alexander Tudhope Simson, who traded as James Simson & Sons. The St Mary's Brewery was managed by James, and was considered to be better suited for the brewing of ales.

In 1896 James Simson & Sons merged with James Ewan McPherson & Co to form Simson & McPherson Ltd. Four years later, in 1900, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne business of Robert Deuchar Ltd bought almost all the company's shares. However, the previous year Deuchar's had also bought the newly built Duddingston Brewery in Craigmillar, and the elderly St Mary's Brewery became surplus to requirements. Brewing ceased in 1901, but the buildings continued in use as a maltings until 1967.

Map of 1877 showing the layout of the St Mary's Brewery
Map of 1877 showing the layout of the St Mary's Brewery
© National Library of Scotland, 2016

Active: 1864 - 1901

Address: South Back of Canongate

Status: Demolished

Current Use: Residential property


St Mary's Brewery
This view shows the brewery prior to demolition in the 1960s


The site, on the right-hand side, now forms part of a development by the University of Edinburgh.