President of the Scottish Wine and Spirit Merchants’ Benevolent Institution.
Mr Alastair Dow. 1970.
Mr John Alexander Dow continued the active past that his family had played over a long period in the affairs of the Scottish Wine and Spirit Merchants’ Benevolent Institution. As president of the Institution, he held the office which his elder brother, Mr Samuel Dow occupied for over 20 years.
The family’s connection with the Institution can be traced back to the 1870s. For his grand-uncle, Mr James McWilliam, of J & J McWilliam, 38 Queen Street, Glasgow, was President from 1871 to 1873. Indeed, Mr McWilliam was one of the original directors and was the first Vice-President.
As a subsequent period, the late Mr John A Dow, father of Samuel and John (popularly known as Alastair), was also a director of the Institution and was one of its generous benefactors. Samuel Dow in addition to his term as President, gave the Institution splendid service as its Treasurer from 1952-1965.
Alastair Dow had followed his brother not only as President of the Institution, but also as a director of Samuel Dow, Ltd., a concern whose history dates back to 1807.
Since 1896 the wholesale side of the business had been established at 242 Clyde Street. In 1965 the firm was taken over by David Sandeman and Son, Ltd., Glasgow. Alastair Dow joined the board of directors of the new company.
Samuel Dow, Ltd., were still active as wholesale wine and spirit merchants, but a great part of their energies was used in promoting and selling the various brands for which they were agents in Scotland.
Alastair, a native of Glasgow, was educated at Strathallan and at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he qualified as B.A. (Hon.) in 1939.
Having joined the R.N.V.R. some time previously, he was immediately called up and saw service during the war years as a Lieutenant on destroyers in the Channel and the Western Approaches. After the war he joined the family firm, of which his brother was then managing director. In the early 1950s Mr Dow became a director.
During his period in the Trade he had visited nearly all the main wine producing centre’s of Europe and also of South Africa. He was also, of course, interested himself in the activities of the Scottish Wine and Spirit Merchants’ Benevolent Institution, becoming a director in 1962. Then, at the annual general meeting in 1969, following his term as vice-president, he was invested with the presidential chain of office by his immediate predecessor, Mr R M R Yorke.
With e history well over 100 years behind it, the Institution was justly proud of its excellent work for benevolence.
Mr Dow’s interest in trade organisation’s was not confined to the Benevolent Institution, for he was a Past Visitor of the Incorporation of Maltmen and was Vice-President of the Wholesale Wine and Spirit Association of Scotland. He was a married man with two daughters and a son. His main recreations were golf and fishing.
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