387 Argyle Street, Glasgow.
J Monteith’s bar was a household name away back in the early 1800s. Good quality whisky and ale made this one of the best pubs in the city. An old gentleman Mr D MacKail worked all his days in the Argyle Street premises and carried on well into his retirement.
In 1875 Archibald McPherson purchased the business and property but never lived long enough to see his empire of public house thrive. Mr McPherson was a keen angler, on 17th July 1878 he drowned while fishing opposite Dunoon. His wife Margaret took over the business, she was left with six young children to bring up, the eldest was only 11 years of age. However she was helped by her mother and sister to look after the children and lived with her in Douglas Street. When her oldest son Hugh was of age he assisted in the running of the public houses.
There was at that time eight pubs in the McPherson family business including 200 Duke Street and 263 Duke Street, 460 Paisley Road, 389 Gallowgate, 224 Castle Street, 278 Main Street, Bridgeton, 8 Dale Street, Bridgeton and 387 Argyle Street. The old name of J Monteith’s stayed above the doors of the pubs, there was no half’s at the bar, no brandies and soda.
The Argyle Street business was more like a bonding store, every inch of the ground floor was taken up with puncheons, butts, and barrels of all ages, from the most select distilleries. The underground cellars were choke full with wines in the wood and bottles, from the choicest vineyards. La Rosa, 40 year old; Burgundies of 1863 and 1867; stacks of hocks of 1857 and 1868; ports of 1870; sherries of 1862; and scores of others in bottles, some of them 50 years old. A large stock of whisky was also stocked for vatting, prominent among those being “Orkney,” of 1882; “Royal Brackla” and “Long John” of the same date. Old brandies and Vieux Rhum there was an immense quantity lying in the cellars as well as outside bonding stores.
In charge of the bottling store was a Highlander Donald McDonald, the cashier was Mr Alexander McDonald, both were brothers of Mrs McPherson. McPherson’s had a large trade in liquor much heavier than that of Monteith’s. All of their pubs get there stock from these stores including ginger beer. The Argyle Street business stopped serving drinks at the bar and was entirely converted into a wholesale and family business.
To read more on the pubs on the Gallowgate read up & Doon the Gallowgate by John Gorevan. A copy can be bought for a few pounds at the Hielan Jessie on the Gallowgate or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org