John Young and Co Ltd

John Young & Co Ltd (Scottish Company No. 2154) was established in 1891 to acquire the business of John Young & Co and the associated Ladywell Brewery. The authorised capital was £30,000, although only £15,500 worth of shares were issued and fully paid.

After John Young died in 1910, the majority of the shares were purchased by David Purves Maxwell, a local accountant, in 1916. David was chairman of the company until his death in 1958, when his son John Douglas Maxwell took on the role of general manager. By this time a subsidiary company - Olympic Bars Ltd - had been established to look after its small estate of public houses.

The business was acquired by Whitbread & Co Ltd in 1968, by which time brewing had already ceased, with beer being provided by another Whitbread acquisition: Archibald Campbell, Hope & King Ltd, of Edinburgh. The company was dissolved in 1971.

Among the beers produced by the company were: 4 Guinea Ale, 70/- Heavy Ale, 80/- Export Ale, 90/- Ale, Double Stout, Export, Extra Heavy, Extra-hopped Table Beer, India Pale Ale, Mild Ale, Nourishing Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Olympic Heavy, Pale Ale, PP Brand, Scotch Porter, Stout, Sparkling Pale Ale, Strong Ale, Table Beer, and XXX Imperial Stout.

Trademark of John Young & Co Ltd
Trademark of John Young & Co Ltd
© Forbes Gibb, 2017

Location: Fisherrow

Active: 1891 - 1971

Status: Taken Over

Breweries and other buildings

The Ladywell Brewery stretched north from the High Street, on a long piece of land, to New Street. Most of the site has been cleared for a modern housing development, but the company offices survive on the High Street, converted to private residences.


Map of 1912 showing the layout of the Ladywell Brewery
Map of 1912 showing the layout of the Ladywell Brewery
© National Library of Scotland, 2017


We have a number of images related to John Young & Co Ltd, but would welcome any other information or images linked to the company.

Other Sources of information


The National Records of Scotland holds dissolved company papers (Ref : BT2/1971/676) for the period 1891-1971.

Books and periodicals

Lawrie, J. Honesty brewing: a history of the breweries, maltings and distilleries of Musselburgh and Fisherrow. Kennoway: Spiderwize, 2009.