Edinburgh Brewery (Old)

Business: Thomas and James Bernard

Location: Edinburgh

Type: Brewery

The premises that became known as the old Edinburgh Brewery can be traced back to at least the 1790s, when they were owned by Patrick Murison. The next owner, William Murison, presented plans for improvements to the brewery in 1805 which show a building virtually identical to that portrayed in Barnard's Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland. Barnard states that the complex dated back to the 15th century, and that it was arranged around an oblong court with parts of it being built into the rock which forms the base of the Calton Hill.

A second part of the property lay across the road, and beer was pumped there to flattening squares via a copper pipe laid under the road; this site also contained the brewery's cooperage. The complex was operational until 1893, when it was acquired, and cleared, by the North British Railway Company to provide room for the expansion of Waverley Station.

The site was used by a number of brewers after William Murison: Alexander Law, Samuel Halket, Samuel and David Halket, David Halket, J. and G. Brown, George Bell Brown, Brown and Raeburn, Peter Wilson, Thomas Bernard, Thomas and James Bernard, and Daniel Bernard.

Map of 1877 showing the layout of the Edinburgh Brewery and associated cooperage
© National Library of Scotland, 2017

Active: 1790s - 1893

Address: North Back of Canongate

Status: Demolished

Current Use: Part of the extended Waverley Station site


Edinburgh Brewery (Old)
This view shows the complex of buildings at the turn of the 18th century.


The buildings were demolished in the 1900s but a small part of the original site lies behind a boundary wall on what is now Calton Road.

Other Sources of information

Books and periodicals

Barnard, A. The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. III .London: Sir J. Causton & Sons, 1890.