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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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The Brewery—Cheating the Gauger—Employees—Description of the Works, etc. —Old Brewery Well—Find of Old Coins—Ancient Dovecots— Pump Wells—Water Courses—Rope and Sail Making—The Stevensons— The Clarks.
IF Prestonpans has been long famous for its salt, its oysters, its pottery wares, and its soap, it has been long and no less famous for its ale and its beer.T here were no less than sixteen breweries in full going order at one time in the village. But they have all been swamped, and one great flourishing concern remains, known as—

At the present time there are forty men and boys connected with the brewery. There are ten travellers employed daily pushing the trade throughout the country, and a staff of six clerks continually in the office. There are also two agencies connected with the business, one established at Glasgow, the other at Leith. In order to show what gives employment to all these hands, it may be added there are no less than 6,000 quarters of malt used annually, turning out from 24,000 to 25,000 barrels of thirty-six gallons each, representing a money value of from; £60, 000 to £65, 000.
The following extract we have from " Bernard's Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, " which speaks for itself: —
" The old brewery of Prestonpans, which is said to have been built about the year 1720, came into the hands of the Fowler family prior to the year 1756. Reference is made to it in an old work, which states that ' the brewery has been long at work, and has enjoyed large fame for the good quality of its ales. '

" The first name mentioned in the deeds of the brewery is Robert Fowler, of whom it is recorded that he purchased some property, to be used for brewing, in the year 1774. Robert Fowler was succeeded by John Fowler, his son, who was born July 9th 1756, and died at the advanced age of eighty-three years. This John Fowler, who was a laird, was a very notable personage, and he is frequently mentioned in parish documents, in 1809, as a brewer. As years rolled on, and the business increased, the laird found it necessary to enlarge the brewhouse. when the roof was raised, the vessels re-adjusted, and some new ones added. He also built, in 1828, a new brewery, in a most substantial manner, which is fully described in the following pages. Laird Fowler was succeeded by Robert Hislop, his nephew, who had previously managed the business with great energy. Mr Hislop retired from the business in 1865, when it was turned into a private limited company, under the management of Mr R. White, who died in 1887. He was succeeded by his son, the present managing partner, since whose advent the output of the brewery has been more than doubled.
"The ales of Prestonpans have become a household word in Scotland, and their reputation dates back more than a century. J. Parker Lawson, in his work, speaks of Prestonpans ale as a celebrated beverage, and the brewery extensive. But we must now hasten to make our readers acquainted with this venerable brewery and its fine business.
" On the east side of the ancient town of Prestonpans stands Laird Fowler's brewery, and. in close proximity, its numerous subsidiary mailings. The walls, and one or two outlying buildings of the original brewery, are still standing, and contain, among other things, a peculiarly shaped ten-barrel brewing copper, and a quaint-looking old pump, which formed a portion of the ancient plant. Equally interesting is the laird's dwelling-house, a roomy low-pitched building, which has been altered into a counting-house and offices, joined on to which is a new structure, containing a board room, managing partner's office, a sample room, and lavatories.
" The new brewery, built by Laird Fowler, is opposite the old one, covers upwards of an acre of ground, and is situated close to the margin of the sea. The premises consist of a number of massive stone buildings, grouped around a courtyard, the most important of which comprise the brewhouse, fermenting rooms, and above-ground cellars. So close are these buildings to the sea, that in rough weather the waves dash up
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