16th July 1827

Brewer William McEwan is born

William McEwan was born in Clackmannanshire, died in London in 1913 and was buried in Surrey. During his life he both founded the Fountain Brewery and was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central between 1886 and 1900.

Successful brewer

Fountain Brewery found great success as a brewer of beer – particularly McEwan’s – which it sold both locally, as well as in England and overseas. Some exports went as far as Australia. The Globe, in its obituary of 13 May 1919, noted that McEwan “started in business on his own account at the age of 29 with a capital of £3000 and built up the great brewery firm which bears his name. He had been called the ‘Bass of Scotland’, and the turning point of his career was said to have been reached when, like the founder of the Burton firm, he introduced his beer into India”.

His success in brewing and politics enabled him to buy Polesden Lacey, an Edwardian house in Surrey that was bequeathed to the National Trust, and to fund various charitable donations, including paintings that he gave to the National Gallery of Scotland and the £115,000 McEwan Hall to the University of Edinburgh.

“One of the greatest businesses in the world”

Upon his death, the Daily Mirror of 13 May 1913 called his brewery “one of the greatest businesses in the world”. It continued, “he was a strong believer in the efficacy of daily exercise, and always walked along the Embankment to his business in the City, his companion for some years being a beautiful white collie, for which he had great affection. Two years ago he was run over by a carriage and pair in Berkley-street, and was seriously injured. He never fully recovered from the accident.”



Other events that occured in July

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