The Brewery Company of Gatehouse was a partnership formed in 1769 by James Murray, John Bushby and James Davitts. Murray was an entrepreneur who was the main driving force behind the development of industry in Gatehouse, and in particular the establishment of manufactories for cotton, tanning and brewing. John Bushby was a writer, private banker and sheriff clerk in Dumfries. He was at one time friendly with Robert Burns, but later fell out with him and was satirised in Burns's poem John Bushby's Lamentation. James Davitts was also the manager, and later proprietor, of the tannery.
In 1771 the company advertised for a person to become a partner and manager of the Gatehouse Brewery, who was able to invest a minimum of £200 in the business. The company, like many other local concerns, was caught up in the failure of the Ayr Bank in 1772, and this may have been a contributory factor in the decision to offer the brewery for sale in 1781. It was, however, unsold, and the partners were then bought out by James Davitts, who continued the business on his own account.
Location: Gatehouse of Fleet
Active: 1769 - 1781
The Gatehouse Brewery was completed in 1771, and was described as "a large 3-storey brick and rubble building on an L-plan, with a 2-storey dwelling-house at one end". The buildings survive and are now used for a mix of residential and commercial purposes.
Gatehouse folk - then and now. Last accessed 17th January 2016.
The National Records of Scotland holds a printed advertisement for the sale of the Gatehouse Brewery in 1781 (Ref : GD113/4/156/304).
Books and periodicals
Anon. Wanted at Whitsunday next, a person who is willing to become a partner and manager of a brewery. Caledonian Mercury, 2nd March, 1771.
Donnachie, I. Industrial archaeology of Galloway (South-west Scotland, including Wigtown, Kirkcudbright and adjoining parts of Dumfries). Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1971.
Hume, J. R. The industrial archaeology of Scotland, 1: The Lowlands and Borders. London: B. T. Batsford, 1976.