70 Renfield Street, Glasgow. G2 1NQ. Tel: 0141 332 1842.
I remember this bar was like a labyrinth, you walked into Wyper’s Bar in Renfield Street and came out in a different pub in West Regent Street called the Drummonds Bar.
There has been a licensed premises here since 1865. Many publicans have come and gone, but such names that stick out were well-known licensees’ Thomas McVey, John Young White, John Campbell.
MR THOMAS McVEY.
Mr Thomas McVey took over this pub in 1882. Thomas was born in Nelson Street, Tradeston, Glasgow. On leaving school he entered a lawyer’s office, but he was destined to sail. As a wee boy he used to watch all the ships on the Clyde sailing to foreign lands and thought one day that will be me. He left the lawyer’s office and went to sea where he remained for four years, during which time he met with those catastrophes peculiar to the “toilers of the sea,” being twice almost shipwrecked off the Cape of Good Hope. Nothing daunted, he still clung to his ambition till the ship he sailed in was sold, and then once more returned to Glasgow, but not to be canonised as a lawyer.
Thomas then went to America, when, after spending over five months in New York, which he did not find agreeable to his palate, he again sought his native city and entered the service of Thomas Brownlie, a spirit merchant in Argyle Street, with whom he remained for nine years, seven of which he acted as manager. He then went into business for himself and purchased 70 Renfield Street, a pub which was very successful. McVey’s Bar was famous all over the city for it’s Welsh rarebits. There was a large smoking room in the premises where the daily newspaper were kept. Shortly after taking over the pub, Mr McVey got married to the daughter of another Glasgow spirit merchant John Gallagher who for many years represented Messrs Thomas Train & Co.
Thomas was a member of the Trades Benevolent Institution and of the Clydesdale Merchants’ Society.
In 1902 Mr Thomas McVey sold the business to John Young Whyte.
JOHN YOUNG WHYTE.
Mr Whyte immediately gutted out the pub and renovated it to such a standard that it was one of the finest pubs in Renfield Street. The length of the new bar was 52 feet and was of oblong shape. The gantry was of beautiful design which lay against the south wall of the pub. The ceiling and walls were painted in pure white, which gave the effect of making the premises exceedingly bright in appearance. New electric lighting was installed for the first time and at night made the place stand out. The new name for Mr John Y Whyte’s pub was the “Cecil.”
All the principal newspapers and other periodicals were kept on the premises for the convenience of the customers. The pub was noted for it’s Welsh rarebit and other refreshments. Previous patrons of McVey’s had no fear in the catering of the new premises. Prior to taking over “The Cecil,” Mr Whyte was for more than twelve years working under Mr John Scouler of “The Horse Shoe Bar,” Drury Street, Glasgow.
John Y Whyte also owned the famous “Snaffle Bit,” Howard Street. Mr Whyte sold “The Cecil” in Renfield Street to John Campbell in 1930.
Mr John Campbell was a native of Ireland, he was born in County Tyrone in 1881. He made Glasgow his adopted home in his early years. After a thorough training behind the counter, he ambitiously set forth to plan his own destiny, and at a comparatively early age he purchased “Wyper’s Bar,” which was then in Sauchiehall Street and years later the transference took place to the Renfield Street site.
For many years Mr Campbell was a Director of the Glasgow and District Licensed Trade Defence Association. His intimate knowledge of the Trade matters was highly appreciated by his colleagues, and he remained an honoured member of the Board of Directors right up until his death in 1944. He also gave valuable service as a member of the Association’s Finance Committee.
Apart from the Trade Mr Campbell had a wide variety of interests and his activities included the position of a Director of the White City and of the Tarbet Hotel. Mr Campbell was a great friend of Scots comedian Will Fyffe, and for twenty years were next door neighbours in West Graham Street. John was also great friends of many stage artists and was popular and well-known figure in sporting circles. His funeral was held in St Aloysius Church, Garnethill, he was buried at St Kentigern’s Cemetery in 1944.
In the NEWS 1967…
52 YEARS IN WYPER’S.
Fifty-Two-Years’ Association with the licensed trade, all of it with the one establishment, is the record of Mr Douglas Scobie, who has just retired as manager of Wyper’s restaurant, Renfield Street, Glasgow.
At a presentation ceremony in his honour in the restaurant last week, he was congratulated by Mr Peter Scot, sales director of Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd., owners of the restaurant, on his remarkable achievement.
On behalf of the director of Tennent Caledonian, Mr Scott presented Mr Scobie with a wallet of notes. Mr Scobie, who started with Wyper’s at the age of 15, managed the premises for more than 30 years, becoming one of the best known personalities in the retail licensed trade in Glasgow. He was a director of Wyper’s until the restaurant was taken over by J and R Tennent (now incorporated in Tennent Caledonian Breweries) in the 1950’s, but he agreed to continue as manager under the new regime.
As Mr Scott said, Mr Scobie saw changes of ownership, changes of representatives, changes of prices by the hundreds, and changes of staff.
Mr Scott remarked that although it was sad to say goodbye to one who has served for more than 50 years and who was held in the highest esteem by everyone in the trade, a pleasant aspect was that Mr Scobie was fit and well. He trusted that Mr and Mrs Scobie would enjoy a long and happy retirement. Mr Scobie, who also received a presentation from the staff at a later ceremony, has been succeeded as manager by Mr George Young.
Wyper’s public bar and off sales. 1963. Thanks to the Mitchell Library.
An interior view of the premises, the official opening of the new restaurant.
Mr Victor M Healy, catering manager at the Four A Snack Bar and Lounge Restaurant, which opened recently by Messrs Wyper’s (Glasgow). Ltd, licensed restaurateurs.
Alterations have been completed in Wyper’s Restaurant. The image above shows the new dining lounge and bar, private cubicles surround the room.
Wyper’s Bar, 55 Sauchiehall Street. Thanks to Mitchell Library.
In 1868 James Cook, wine and spirit merchant, was running a pub in Sauchiehall Street, he also had pubs at 346 St Vincent Street, 152 Woodlands Road, 150 Woodlands Road. It wasn’t until 1884 that wine and spirit merchant John Wyper, acquired a licence, John was the senior partner in the firm of (John Wyper & Son), James Wyper was his son, they also had premises at 514 Gallowgate, and lived at 17 Knowe Terrace, Pollokshields, and stores at 47 East Market Street, John’s house was at Bellfield, Albert Drive, Pollokshields.
At their peak in 1899 John Wyper & Son had no less than 10 public houses in Glasgow including: 55 Sauchiehall Street, 48 Dale Street / 54 Reid Street, 514 Gallowgate / 51 East Market Street, 64 Main Street, Bridgeton, 39 Shuttle Street, 104 Dalmarnock Road / 3 Old Dalmarnock Road, 63 Muslin Street, 588a Gallowgate / 1 Henrietta Street, 121 London Road, also wholesale wine and spirit merchants, at 78 East Market Street, and stores 47 East Market.
In 1893 the manager was George Thomson. Mr Thomson was born in the mining district of Bellshill, he started out as a grocer to which he served his time. In 1880 he joined the staff at 358 Argyle Street, a pub owned by wine merchant Mr John Waugh. George stayed at this bar for 18 months. He then turned to the study of mining engineering and worked for Young’s Paraffin Light and Oil Company where his engineering skills came to good use. After this he entered into the employment of Mr Wyper at 55 Sauchiehall Street.
This pub also connects to Drummond’s Bar , many will remember this bar as “The Dial Inn” on West Regent Street.
Do you have any memories of this popular bar, restaurant? If so please leave a comment.