MHG1445 - Former brewery - 22-24 Manson's Lane, Thurso


A former brewery on 22-24 Manson's Lane, Thurso, now largely demolished.

Type and Period (1)

  • BREWERY (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

A former brewery on 22-24 Manson's Lane, Thurso, now largely demolished. See MHG39791 for the former brewer's house.

In 1798 Sir John Sinclair laid out Thurso’s new town in a classic grid pattern, to the west and south of the old town; the brewery buildings formed part of Sinclair’s plan and they date to the same period. The inclusion of a brewery in the plan was apparently an initiative to wean the residents of Thurso off stronger drink. However, the brewery was not a commercial success and only a few years after producing beer was (somewhat ironically) converted to a distillery. The John O’ Groat Journal (4 January 1839) records an advert to put up for sale the complex of buildings on 12 March 1839. The advert lists the south-west range (the buildings of concern), as functioning as “a coal shed, - spirit cellar, - byre with granary above, and dwelling house for servants.” The majority of the north-west range and half the north-east range were demolished in the early 1960’s leaving the buildings present today the only remaining brewery buildings. The buildings are constructed of traditional Caithness flagstone rubble and both have crow-stepped gables. The eastern building is a fine 3-storey, 6-bay building and the attached dwelling a 2-storey, 3-bay house.

Photographic survey of buildings in Thurso, Caithness by the Scottish National Buildings Record in October 1961.

The surviving buildings were listed at category B in 1979.

A feasibility study to look into the possibility of restoring the buildings and using them as additional storage space for the expanded North Highland Archive was commissioned of the Highland Historic Buildings Trust by the Highland Council in 1998. It was intended to develop the project further including research into potential funding. In the event the project was not pursued.

Listed Building consent was granted by the Highland Council in 2007 for the demolition of the main building and the former brewer's house following deterioration of their condition.

The buildings were recorded by RCAHMS prior to demolition in 2008. This included measured survey and standing building recording.

Sources/Archives (0)



Grid reference Centred ND 1179 6830 (48m by 42m)
Map sheet ND16NW
Civil Parish THURSO
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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