Additions to Glen Mhor Distillery 14th October 1946

Even before I unfolded this planning application for Glen Mhor, I was intrigued by the timing. The Second World War was still a fresh scar on the population, things were still in a state of flux, as evidenced by our logbook entries at the time. What were Mackinlay & Birnie doing at the distillery so soon after the return of production to the industry?

The request was submitted on 14th October 1946 and approved on 28th October 1946 by David Guildbowl's deputy, A. G. Stewart, as per his authorisation.

In fact, upon inspection of the plans, it is apparent that the focus is on the on-site Workmen's Housing and expanding the accommodation. This may be in anticipation of an increased demand and the return of the workforce after the war. Perhaps seeking to assist displaced workers and their families.

Below are the plans in their entirety. We will examine each section individually as the map provides additional insight into the overall layout of the distillery site.

What this request signifies is the ongoing expansion of the concept of the workers' cottage. 

Located at the front of the distillery site and facing Telford Street. The Manager's House was the original name of the cottage according to the 1926 expansion plans we have reviewed earlier. I believe that the necessity for a Manager's House at Glen Mhor as a status symbol declined after the acquisition of Glen Albyn in 1920, as the latter had a more substantial alternative. 

If the building was indeed the original residence of the manager, it was subsequently repurposed for the use of the distillery workers. However, I suspect that the Manager's accommodation was initially located in the house on the opposite side of the distillery entrance before being converted into the official offices. We know from the 1893 plans of the distillery, that the location of the original manager's office was within the production building of Glen Mhor itself, which was perhaps a reflection of the financial limitations in the original build. It was an odd choice at the time and was later rectified. 

As shown in the above plan, there are just two buildings located at the forefront of the distillery site, the other structures in the northwest corner are noted to be a PO i.e. Post Office, or privately owned? Those situated in the left corner were indeed privately owned accommodations, which led them to evade the demolition of the site during the 1980s.

This 1946 drawing of the site verifies that the distillery warehouse is present and facing the adjacent football ground, indicating that the site is mostly finished. There are no unexpected surprises, but at least it confirms the shape of things after the war. 

This east-facing elevation, visible from the football pitch towards the distillery, presents the proposed design. The proposal is to expand the upper level, across the rear section of the dwelling. 

Arguably, this appears to be a more cost-efficient alternative as there is ample area in this part of the distillery site for the erection of additional cottages. Finances may have been constrained for Mackinlay & Birnie following a period of inactivity and limits on their trade. And upon examining the internal plans, the objective of the suggested expansion becomes evident. 

Now, we can see that the upper floor is effectively being divided into flats, each consisting of two bedrooms. With separate bathrooms and a kitchenette including a larder, this enables independent, albeit slightly cramped, living. An external entrance can be accessed via a dedicated passageway.

This explains the slightly different outline of the original property in our 1980s image, which shows the expansion to the rear of the property.

There is potential for further development and alterations to this property. Nonetheless, we have recorded this modification and its objective. Glen Mhor was preparing for a successful future, and the charitable efforts of John Birnie have been recorded. Providing comfortable accommodation on site for the esteemed workforce and their families should come as a predictable commitment.

These original plans are kindly made available bh the Highland Archives Centre and is watermarked for its protection. As with any images on this website, please ask first before using and always give credit.