'Mr Tennent's' becomes Freeman of the City and a Maltman
Mr Donald Smith (92) is known as 'Mr Tennent's' having worked at their Wellpark brewery since the age of 13, when he used to clean
out the giant beer barrels by hand. By the time Donald retired almost 50 years later, this 'temporary job' had lasted considerably longer than usual and Donald had risen to the rank of Distribution Director! Not only that, he tells the story that he was conceived at Wellpark and lived there as a boy, his father employed to look after the horses that used to deliver the barrels of Tennent's.
Donald was awarded his Burgess ticket and membership of the Maltmen recently, attending a lunch and surprise presentation of the awards which rendered him 'unusually speechless'!
Angus Meldrum, ex Managing Director of Tennent's, said: "It goes without saying that the presentations are a hugely
merited honour. Donald is “Mr Tennent’s”, conceived in Wellpark Brewery where his father lived and managed the 40 or so Clydesdale horses and drays, served as 48 years with Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd rising to become Distribution Director."
It was also announced on BBC One's 'The One Show on 24 Feb 2020. with a photo of the presentation at La Lanterna being shown! Click here for the link, and see it at 28 mins 40 secs.
The Maltmen Craft - one of the 14 Crafts that make up Trades House - has seen membership by many Tennent's brewing family members continuously since 1556 and by Tennent’s company management right up to the present time. The Trades House and the Maltmen Craft are prominently featured in the new “The Tennent’s Story” visitor centre at Wellpark Brewery.
As with other craft guilds, a major objective of the Incorporation of Maltmen was to protect the livelihood of its members from unskilled competition. The Visitor was empowered to enforce prices, working practices, quality controls, and market hours. He often inspected or 'visited' the kilns and vats of his members. In addition, the Incorporation supervised the training of apprentices, the maintenance of elderly or infirm members, and the support of their widows and children (average life expectancy was only around forty years, although many instances are known of people who lived to the same ages as today). The Incorporation was especially keen to support education in Glasgow. All this was financed from members' entry fees, fines on members who broke trading regulations, the hiring of the guild's mortcloth at funerals, and income from property investments. To this day the Maltmen still try to support needy pensioners and donate regularly to many charities. Their interest in education continues; each year a student in brewing is funded at the Heriot Watt University.
To see an inverview carried out with Donald by The Sun, please click here.
Photos show L to R :- Hamish Swan (ex Chairman & Managing Director Tennent’s and ex Visitor of the Maltmen), Donald Smith (ex Distribution Director), Bob Magee (ex Finance Director), Ken Mills (ex Tenancies & Estates Director) and Angus Meldrum (ex Marketing Director and ex Managing Director)