1914 Proposed Alterations at Glen Mhor Distillery
Our next instalment of Glen Mhor plans, takes us into 1914 and an application to extend to the existing warehousing. This would, in theory, complete the warehousing as we know it on site, by adding two new identical warehouses to the existing row, that famously backed onto the site of the Caledonia football ground, which you can see in the image below.
In fact, the two 1914 warehouses are in the aforementioned image, starting on the right hand side, and counting towards the left. Early on during this research project, I reached out to the Caley Thistle (as they are known today) forum for their own memories of the old ground and the distillery nearby, which did produce some imaginative examples, such as this one from a member:
'I must confess to having watched quite a few games from the roof of the warehouse of the Glen Mhor distillery in my time and more than once got a ticking off from one of the Caley committee when I decided to go legit and pay my way into Telford Street! Shame on me but I did have a cracking view....'
I believe more images exist thanks to the football ground, but reaching out to the community has underlined that very word; community. Both distilleries and the football ground were at the heart of the Muirtown area and prized by locals. I'm always adding more memories to our Quotes Section, so it is well worth a periodical visit.
The warehouse plans were approved by the Dean Guild of Inverness on 4th May 1914, a time when tensions were running high and the threat of the First World War would soon affect distilleries across the country. Little did they know what awaited the country as a whole, and it seems business was good, as highlighted by Alan Winchester when we were discussing these plans:
'What is interesting about expansion in 1914, the industry had come out of a very quiet 1912, so this shows that Glen Mhor was in good health, showing that Mackinlay's and John Walker were doing well. If these warehouses were built, the maturing stock capacity would be important when the war came along and introduced minimum maturation ages. That's a real bit of history of course when downturn came in 1920s and 1930s, many of the closed sites were used for maturation and malting.'
Alan raises several good points, including the financial stability of the owners and if the warehouses were built in 1914? That's something we can answer for sure as you'll discover in this article. Our map section confirms the warehousing in place by the end of the 1920s, yet the prior map is from 1910, so we cannot pin it down further as of yet. Our definitive photograph section, also highlights a gap around this time. The reason for this I believe, is the advent of the First World War, and in particular, the use of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor as a military base by the US Navy.
The recent discovery of the Glen Mhor article within the Distilleries of Great Britain and Ireland publication, confirms that not only were the warehouses in place by 1924, they also numbered 9 in total, rather than the 8 you can see, which is something I've explained in that specific article. So, we'll need to step backwards and uncover when these two planned warehouses did arrive, but thanks to this discovery, we understand they were in situ by 1924.
We also know from the publication that the new mash tun was installed shortly before the war. This is before the original documented date of 1925 that appears in other publications, if true then it shows 1914 was a busy year of upgrading Glen Mhor.
My thanks to Rose for working her magic on these photographs. We've watermarked the images from the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness to protect the originals, the plans themselves are referenced as R65 Telford Street - Dean of Guild Plans. As with any images on this website, please ask first before using and always give credit. My thanks to the Centre for their continued assistance.