English Trade Department

Repository: Guinness Archive

Identity Statement

TitleEnglish Trade Department
Archive ReferenceIE GA/GDB/SA01
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/english-trade-department
Creation Dates1928-1938
Extent Medium1 Series + 1 Sub-sub-sub-fonds


Creator(s): Arthur Guinness Son & Company Limited

  • Administrative History ↴

    Arthur Guinness was born in Celbridge, County Kildare in 1725. It seems that Arthur first learnt the art of brewing from his father Richard, whose job as a land steward included brewing beer for workers on the estate of Dr. Arthur Price, later Archbishop of Cashel. In 1759, at the age of thirty four, Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease for the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin, at an annual rent of £45. The Brewery was only four acres in size, disused, and had little brewing equipment. But in only ten years, despite competition from imported English beers, Arthur began to export his beer to England. Arthur began by brewing ale, and in the 1770s started brewing 'porter', a new type of dark English beer. Arthur's porter was so successful that in 1799 he stopped brewing ale. By the time Arthur died in 1803, he had built a successful brewing business, with a promising export trade. Arthur married Olivia Whitmore, and had twenty one children, ten of whom survived into adulthood. When he died, his son Arthur Guinness II took over the Brewery. In all, seven generations of the Guinness family were directly involved in the brewery management. Arthur Guinness II developed the business, expanding the export trade, and brewing a new beer 'Extra Superior Porter'. By the 1830s, St. James's Gate Brewery was the largest brewery in Ireland. In 1855 Arthur II's son, Benjamin Lee Guinness, took over. Under Benjamin, the first trade mark label for GUINNESS® stout was introduced in 1862. When Benjamin died in 1868, his son Edward Cecil took over. Under Edward's leadership the brewery became the largest in the world. In 1886 the business was floated on the London Stock Exchange and Edward became Chairman. By the end of the 19th century the brewery had grown to sixty acres, sales of GUINNESS® Stout were over 1.2 million barrels a year, and GUINNESS® Stout was available across the world. In the 20th century the Guinness family continued to lead the business. Edward Guinness died in 1927, and his son Rupert became Chairman. Rupert's grandson Benjamin became Chairman in 1962, and was the last member of the Guinness family to hold this position, which he resigned in 1986. In 1929, the first advertising campaign for GUINNESS® was launched. More product innovations took place including the launch of GUINNESS® Draught in 1959. GUINNESS® Draught in Can was launched in 1988 thanks to the 'widget' – a groundbreaking invention in beer packaging technology. From the 1940s to 1980s a major overhaul of brewing machinery took place, making the brewery one of the most technologically advanced in the world. In 1936 the first overseas GUINNESS® Brewery was opened. It proved successful and was followed by four more in Nigeria (1962), Malaysia (1965), Cameroon (1970), and Ghana (1971). Licences were also issued to brewers in other countries so that GUINNESS® could be brewed locally. By the end of the 20th century, GUINNESS® was brewed in over 40 countries, and sold in over 150. In 1997 Guinness Plc merged with Grand Metropolitan Plc in a £24 billion merger. A new company was formed called 'Diageo' Plc. Today, 10 million glasses of GUINNESS® are enjoyed daily around the world.
  • Archival History ↴

    The Guinness Archive was established in 1998 and at this time all historical papers relating to the Company were transferred to the Guinness Archive.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Arthur Guinness Son & Company Limited ↴

    These are the surviving papers of the English Trade Department (1928 – 1939), one of the many different departments, which together formed the Guinness Company based at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. These papers relate specifically to the management of supply of GUINNESS, which was sold into the British, Continental (The term ‘Continental’ refers to European countries, excluding Great Britain and Ireland ) and Foreign (The term ‘Foreign’ refers to all countries outside of Europe, including: Australia, United States of America, South America, South Africa etc.) markets. They provide an insight into how the trade in these markets was managed and developed. They also include the papers of the Advertising Department, which was a sub-function of the English Trade Department.
    These papers constitute a small body of documentation, and are only a small proportion of the total amount of documentation that would have been produced. Like many of those within the overall collection, the English Trade Department records, have survived as a result of the efforts made by a small number of people within the Company to gather such historical documentation together until a proper Archive could be established to take custody of them. Consequently, files were often stored in locations that were not conducive to their preservation, and many have suffered damage, particularly from flooding. Despite these factors the surviving documentation provides a fair representation of the work of the English Trade Department.
    During the 1930s, GUINNESS was exported from Dublin by ship to England, where it was then distributed to either the British, Continental or Foreign markets. This represented a sizeable proportion of the Brewery’s total trade. Beer for all overseas markets would at some point pass through England (hence the title ‘English Trade Department’).
    Agents and Bottling firms, such as Schweppes Limited or E.& J. Burke, organised bottling and distribution to Continental and Foreign markets. Beer intended for the British market was distributed via the network of Company Trade Stores across Great Britain, who in turn supplied customers in the British trade. It was the English Trade Department that was responsible for organising the supply and transportation of GUINNESS Extra Stout and GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout to these markets –British, Continental and Foreign – and the Department’s papers document these activities.
    The English Trade Department, as with other Brewery Departments had a hierarchical structure. It was led by the Manager, E.L. Kidd, and was supported by a number of clerical Staff. In addition, Kidd was also responsible for the newly established Advertising Department led by G.F.E. Story (See GDB/SA01.02).
    The English Trade Department worked closely with a number of other Brewery departments and posts in fulfilling its duties, in particular the Brewers, British Trade Store Managers and the Forwarding Department. The Brewers provided advice and instructions in connection with quality control and condition of stout in trade, such as formulation of instructions for handling beer and training for travellers in sampling techniques. The Stores Managers provided information on market conditions and customer relations whilst also reporting back on the management of their beer stocks, and requesting supplies. The Forwarding Department provided assistance in connection with the transportation arrangements. In Continental and Foreign markets it was the agents and bottlers who dealt directly with the trade, and so the English Trade Department had to work closely with agents and bottlers to organise supplies for these markets. They relied on them for information on market conditions and sales estimates.
    The English Trade Department was responsible for monitoring and managing: sales volumes and market conditions; customer relations; quality control in trade; transportation; and ultimately preparations for the introduction of Park Royal brewed GUINNESS into the British market.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The papers within the English Trade Department have been categorised as such because they originated from within the English Trade Department, or its sub-functions the Advertising Department (See GDB/SA01.02), and were created by them.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions On application to the Guinness Archivist
Conditions Governing ReproductionAt the discretion of Guinness Archivist
Creation Dates1928-1938
Extent Medium1 Series + 1 Sub-sub-sub-fonds
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteDeirdre McParland
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40395