MENZIES HISTORY IN THE MAKING!
Update for the Menzies Clan Gathering August 2020.
We are delighted to announce a Virtual Gathering this year, which will premiere on our new Clan Menzies YouTube Channel.
Since cancelling our Gathering in Scotland due to the current pandemic, Council Members have been busy producing a one-off Virtual Gathering!
This exciting free to access programme will take place on Saturday August 8th 2020
and will feature some of our traditional activities, with a twist!
Save the date and keep an eye on our website clanmenzies.org and social media feeds for updates on the schedule of events and
how to confirm your place at our Clan Menzies digital celebration.
Look forward to seeing you virtually!
Menzies Clan Society Gathering Organiser
Do you follow our Facebook page Menzies Clan Society?
If so you will be familiar with our series WEEKEND READING. This is one of our latest posts for all our Dewar whisky lovers!
Thomas Robert Dewar 6 January 1864 – 11 April 1930
Witty, charming, a born salesman and a natural extrovert – Tommy Dewar was the polar opposite of his more serious-minded brother, John. But this most colourful of Scotch whisky characters helped build John Dewar & Sons into the global success it remains to this day.
Gavin D Smith tells his story.
‘A teetotaller is one who suffers from thirst, instead of enjoying it.’
In a buccaneering era for blended Scotch whisky, when colourful characters were not thin on the ground, Thomas Robert Dewar, better known as ‘Tommy’, was one of the most vivid.
Born in Perth in 1864, he was the son of John Dewar, from a crofting family in the hamlet of Dull, near Aberfeldy. John had left home to work in his uncle’s wine and spirits business in the city of Perth, ultimately becoming a partner in 1837.
He set up his own business on Perth High Street in 1846, going on to blend and bottle whiskies. His elder son John became a partner in 1879, a year before his father’s death, while younger sibling Tommy joined the family company – renamed John Dewar & Sons Ltd – around 1881, also becoming a partner.
The two brothers could hardly have been more different in character, with the serious and understated John preferring to steer clear of the limelight and oversee operations from Perthshire, while Tommy was a flamboyant charmer and born salesman, with a ready wit and endless style.
At the age of 21 he was dispatched to London to try to develop business there, arriving with the names of two contacts who were to introduce him to key figures in the capital. Dewar was undeterred when one turned out to be bankrupt and the other recently deceased.
Thanks principally to his personal charm, wit and social skills, Dewar’s blended Scotch was soon on sale in all of London’s most fashionable restaurants and hotels. From around 1893 it was available at the Savoy Hotel, and Tommy Dewar has the record as the guest who stayed the longest – having a serviced apartment there from 1904 until his death in 1930.
Dewar was the toast of metropolitan society, with his much-quoted fund of humorous maxims becoming known as ‘Dewarisms’. These included lines like: ‘A philosopher is a man who can look at an empty glass with a smile’, or: ‘We have a great regard for old age when it is bottled’, and: ‘Of two evils, choose the more interesting.’
In 1893 John Dewar & Sons Ltd received Queen Victoria’s Royal Warrant for the supply of whisky, and Tommy numbered the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, among his friends, along with Thomas Lipton, who did for tea what Dewar did for blended Scotch. The two travelled and sailed yachts together, being dubbed by the press ‘Tea Tom’ and ‘Whisky Tom’. Tommy Dewar owned only the third motor car – a Benz – to be registered in Britain, after those belonging to the Prince of Wales and ‘Tea Tom’.
‘Keep advertising and advertising will keep you.’
Dewar was a master of publicity, and, at the Brewers’ Show in Birmingham during the 1890s, the Dewar’s stand – the only one representing a whisky company – was allocated a remote corner of the hall, so Dewar employed a bagpiper in full Highland dress to play loudly and draw attention to the stand. The fuss made by this shameless stunt duly found its way into the newspapers, giving the whisky brand invaluable exposure.
He exploited the great opportunities offered by print advertisements and also had an eye-catching illuminated sign installed on the old Shot Tower near Waterloo Bridge in London. Using 1,400 coloured light bulbs, six miles of electric cable and a programmed circuit, the ‘advert’ featured a Highlander who poured and drank glass after glass of Dewar’s whisky, while his kilt appeared to sway in the breeze. The advert was 68ft high and was said to be the largest mechanical sign in Europe.
Most innovative of all, however, was what is claimed to be the first motion picture advert, also featuring Highlanders, which was screened on a New York rooftop around 1898 to much astonishment.
With business thriving, the Dewar brothers decided to build their own distillery to guarantee supplies of malt spirit, having initially acquired the small Tullymet distillery near Ballinluig in Perthshire. They operated this until 1910, but in the meantime constructed Aberfeldy distillery between 1896 and 1898, just a few miles from their father’s birthplace. Royal Lochnagar, Glen Ord, Pulteney, Aultmore, Parkmore and Benrinnes distilleries were all added to the company’s portfolio during the next couple of decades. Dewar’s also had shares in Yoker distillery near Glasgow and, along with W P Lowrie, purchased Port Ellen on Islay.
‘We should not say how’s business, but where is business.’
By 1891, agents for Dewar’s were in place as far afield as South Africa and Australia, and the following year Tommy Dewar embarked upon an epic two-year world tour, visiting every continent in the world. By the time he returned home he had appointed 32 agents across 26 countries and opened a New York office. Dewar’s White Label was soon the leading blended Scotch whisky in the USA, a position it still holds to this day.
Tommy Dewar’s travel journals were fashioned into an entertaining book, entitled A Ramble Round the Globe, published in 1894 and, three years later, he was appointed the youngest ever Sheriff of London. Politically, he was a confirmed Tory and was elected as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of St George’s in the East End in 1900, serving for six years before losing his seat to a Liberal.
Knighted in 1902, after the accession of King Edward VII to the throne, he was created a baronet in 1917 and elevated to the peerage as Baron Dewar of Homestall in Sussex two years later. Brother John, whose vitally important role in the success of the family firm should never be underestimated, had become the first ‘Whisky Baron’ in 1917, assuming the title of Baron Forteviot of Dupplin.
The family firm had merged with that of James Buchanan in 1915, though each kept its separate identity. What was titled Buchanan-Dewar Ltd was ultimately absorbed by the Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1925, with John and Tommy taking seats on the DCL board.
Like his fellow blended whisky entrepreneur and rival James Buchanan, Tommy Dewar embraced the life of an English country gentleman, owning and breeding racehorses, as well as greyhounds, poultry, waterfowl and pigeons. During the First World War he lent his pigeons to the armed forces, and they were used to carry messages on various battle fronts.
In racing circles his best horses were Challenger and Cameronian. Both were home-bred by Dewar, with Cameronian winning the 1931 2,000 Guineas Stakes and Epsom Derby, while Challenger became the leading sire in the US after being sold to a new owner following Dewar’s death. This occurred in April 1930, when he was aged 66, only five months after his brother John’s death. Tommy Dewar was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and, as he had never married, the baronetcy became extinct with his passing.
One apocryphal story nicely sums up the character of Tommy Dewar. The Scottish singer and comedian Sir Harry Lauder was a friend and frequent visitor to Dewar’s Homestall Manor estate. Lauder was known to be careful with his money, and liked to get something for nothing. He asked Dewar if he could have some of the pigeons he had bred to take home with him to Scotland. Dewar obliged, and the birds were duly caged and sent north with Lauder by rail.
What Tommy Dewar had neglected to tell Lauder, however, was that he had given him homing pigeons…
Article by Gavin D. Smith for scotchwhisky.com magazine.
Thank you Gordon Brown Esq, Vice President of Menzies Clan Society North America branch for notifying us
of the cancellations of both the 15th Annual Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival in August and the
Stone Mountain Highland Games in October.
We look forward to attending both in 2021. Attached is the official notification for publication for both organisations.
Vil God I Zal! Geal ‘us dearg a suas!
Clan Gathering 2020 – CANCELLED!
After careful consideration, the Clan Council has reluctantly decided that this year’s Clan Gathering will not take place.
Tom Stone, Gathering Organiser said: “Having looked at all the factors involving travel, accommodation and existing restrictions on social distancing, it was unanimously agreed that we should not hold this year’s Gathering. Our primary priority and responsibility is for the health and well-being of Clan members and that coupled with some economic uncertainties, influenced our decision.
Additionally, the Castle Trust currently has no plans to open the Castle to visitors until late Summer.”
We look forward to seeing you at the Gathering in 2021 and will be working on making this an even more special event than usual.
Look out for some social media-based activities around the days of the Gathering this year as we plan to live-stream some activity from Clan members who live near the Castle!
The Menzies Clan Society Magazine 2019/20 Edition out now!
Click our cover to open and read-
Our magazine Editor Tom Stone has published a most beautiful edition of the MCS Magazine with lots of updated information, news and articles and professional images. Most definitely a worthy keepsake for all Clan Society Members.
We hope that all Clan members have received their copy of the 2019/20 Clan Magazine which was sent out at the start of March. If for any reason you have not received your copy, please let us know and we will forward an electronic copy immediately and a hard copy as soon as the Coronavirus permits. You can contact Tom via email.
Archie’s Bust Update!
New pics from the foundry!
Hi everyone – Stephen Harmon just sent some new photos from his foundry and we wanted to make sure you saw them first. Looks like he’s making great progress on Phase Two of the project: casting a twin from the mold. Please share these pics and your enthusiasm for the project with your friends and colleagues interested in art, gardens, history, ancestry, and adventure!
Cheers, Graeme & Ted
HOT OFF THE PRESS!
“Archie hits the Perthshire Daily Record”
by Graeme Menzies, Organizer
Ted and I wanted you to be the first to see this article about your bust project. We hope this piece from the Perthshire Daily Record will help raise awareness of the project and encourage more people to get on board. A few other media in Canada have also expressed interest in our project, and we hope in time others will share the word. Thanks again for your support – please share this article with your personal network!
Graeme and Ted
“Menzies Clan Gathering 2020”
Update on COVID-19:
The Clan Council is meeting in early May to discuss our annual Clan Gathering at Castle Menzies, as we have had many enquiries for the event in August.
Bearing in mind the current Coronavirus situation globally, it is very much hoped that we will continue to have a 2020 Gathering, circumstances permitting. However this will depend on Government recommendations regarding gatherings of this nature and indeed the safety and health of all MCS members attending and of the Castle staff.
We will update members by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on our website clanmenzies.org after the May Council meeting.
Thank you all for your understanding!
Easter Greetings from Castle Menzies!
A Message from:
Chief David R. Steuart Menzies of Menzies
27 March 2020
It is during times like this that friends, family and our communications are most important. It is the spirit which embodies the Clan philosophy and during times of hardship where it comes to the fore. It is now when we must support, with calmness, generosity and kindness whils’t we cannot socialise as normal and must keep our distance. We can all communicate via telephone, social media and video calls. Think not just of those close to you but of those you have lost touch with or someone who might be lonely and reach out to them too. My thoughts are with the Clan in these troubled times; together we will find strength and unity in our shared history.
I wish you all good health and be safe.
Vil God I zal.
ARCHIBALD MENZIES; CASTLE OR BUST!
Please Donate To our Fundraiser!
The Archibald Menzies bust project is off to a great start, and ALL Menzies are invited to participate in this unique artistic-historical-cultural campaign.
$$ for Stage One have been raised. That was the easy part! We now need to raise over $10,000 to get Archie ready to fly to Scotland and take his rightful place in the Walled Garden at Castle Menzies.
To donate to this very worthy cause for all Clan Menzies members, please go to gofundme.com
Thank you in advace for your donations!
Due to the COVID-19 Virus pandemic, the following Events have been cancelled:-
On June 6, 2020
*Allegany County Celtic Festival
On April 4, 2020
*MCSNA Annual General Meeting 1pm (New York)
* Tartan Day Parade (New York)
Contact Representatives of Canada and North America for all event inquiries including any interest in new events, fundraising or event hosting /co-hosting.
How wonderful does Castle Menzies look even with all the flooding happening this month! Image credit:©️2020 Eleanor Laurie, posted on Facebook.
A big thank you MCS Member Brian Menzies of Brisbane, Australia for sending us a copy of your most recently published book
‘PAWKY JOHN: The Life and Times of a Colonial Publican’
to be donated to Castle Menzies library..
What a great read!
This meticulously researched, real-life account begins with a perilous journey in a migrant ship and traces
the life and career of John Menzies, a Scottish mill-worker who became a publican in Brisbane, Australia between 1862 and 1881.
There are tales of larceny, murder and hard drinking; nights of celebrations and sporting victories;
the travels of a Prince on a Vice-Royal visit; the scandal and politics of the town council;
and the battle of rules between Australian football and Rugby.
Surprising stories and images reveal the music, food, inventions, costume and mood of the times.
With the writing style retaining the flavour of the era, the author provides a fascinating insight
into life in mid-nineteenth century Queensland.
BOOK LAUNCH SPECIAL
Limited-Time Offer $29.95 purchase through
Every online purchaser will now receive a FREE Pawky John bookmark !
Facebook: Pawky John : The Life and Times of a Colonial Publican – History Book
Happy Birthday Rory and Lisa Menzies for the 15th & 16th January!
The latest edition of the Menzies Clan Society E-Newsletter; No 15 is out this month!
Sent via email to all Menzies Clan Society members, it has great articles to read and a record number of past and present images covering 2019.
Members: If you haven’t received your E-Newsletter, please contact us with an updated email address and we will get one to you asap!
Many thanks to Alastair Menzies for all the work he has put into this new edition.
Congratulations Karen Menzies Biggs
for winning our competition on Menzies Clan Society Facebook page for favourite photo of Castle Menzies as voted by our 1,100 followers!
Beautiful image taken from the Castle Walled Garden path looking across to the Castle.
MENZIES FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM
Shout out for old or vintage Menzies Family Photos.
Do you have beautiful old photographs of your past generations of Menzies & Septs families
and would love to help build up our Menzies Family Photo Album?
If so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: From the personal collection of Rory Menzies.
‘ Joys of Clan & Kin ‘
We understand most Menzies families own a collection of old photographs, passed down from one generation to the next. These precious memories,
considered in the past as one of the joys of clan & kin, have mostly withstood the test of time some framed and displayed proudly in homes,
carried in worn wallets or delicately placed in an old gold brooch or maybe a gentleman’s fob watch.
Taken to war or to distant shores to keep alive a personal vision of highlands and home.
Our very own Family Photo Album is being created by a group of Menzies Clan Society members, dedicated to collecting from all Clan Menzies members,
digital copies of past photographs of both clan & family. The Menzies Family Photo Album will be proudly shared with fellow Clan Members and
kept digitally for all time on ClanMenzies.org
Copyright © 2019 Menzies Clan Society or original authors
‘111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss’
Congratulations MCS member Graeme Menzies along with his writing partner Dave Doroghy, on the excellent reviews of their recently published book
‘111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss’. One very relevant place featured is Archibald Menzies bust in the Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver.
If you are planning to travel to Vancouver you can purchase the boys book on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and dymocks.com.au.”
Congratulations Tristan and Zachary Menzies!
Great to see our Menzies Youth featuring in The Perthshire Advertiser!
‘Forgotton grave will languish no more’
Clipping from 20/09/2019 by Melanie Bonn
Archibald Menzies Memorial, August 2019 Event Update:
Held at the Kensal Green Cemetery in London.
From MCS Member Nick Menzies of California; an update on the Memorial for Archibald Menzies
at Kensal Green Cemetery, London held on August 6th 2019.
‘Fine ceremony this afternoon at Kensal Green Cemetery, North London, rededicating the grave of Archibald Menzies. I had the pleasure of bringing a commemorative plaque from the Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens where I work to the rededication. The plaque from the Huntington was inscribed on a beautiful piece of Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) from northern California.
Archibald was a botanist traveling with Captain Vancouver. Many plants on the US West Coast (and other places) are named after him: Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir); Arbutus menziesii (Madrone); Nemophila menziesii (baby blue eyes) and many more.
Thanks to Fran Gillespie for spending the last two years or more fundraising and organizing to bring a new headstone from Scotland and organizing this rededication.’
Update on Commemoration for Duleep Singh at Castle Menzies August 6th..
It was a terrific colourful event on the 6th August 2019. Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band from Malaysia visited Castle Menzies as a Cairn memorial,
located on the Castle grounds, was unveiled for the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire who resided in exile at Castle Menzies for 8 years, until 1863.
At 11am the band played whilst the Sikh flag was raised to commemorate Duleep Singh
(6 September 1838 – 22 October 1893). Also known as His Highness Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh, G.C.S.I.,
or Sir Dalip Singh and later in life nicknamed the “Black Prince of Perthshire”
Tirath Singh (right) with Sukdev Singh founder of the band (centre) & Tripert Singh Kalsa on the left!
The Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band were in Scotland for the Pipe Band World Championships in Glasgow
and took out the top prize, no mean feat as it was only the second time they had entered!
The Stone Mountain Highland Games 2019
Outgoing MCSNA President, Rory Menzies, presented a proclamation to Kate Mathews who accepted on behalf of her father David Mathews. The proclamation recognized David’s 36 years of dedicated service to the Menzies Clan Society.
MCSNA CLAN MEMBERS including Rory, Gordon and Scott.
Gordon Menzies Brown, VP MCSNA, and outgoing MCSNA President Rory Menzies present proclamations recognizing
distinguished service to the Clan Society to Hugh Zylstra, Jerry Minnis, and Robin Bentzen at the annual general meeting
today held at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.
Thank you for service!
AGM Notice of Meeting for MCSNA Inc Members
To the Members of the Menzies Clan Society of North America, Inc.
Please Take Notice that the annual meeting of the members of the Menzies Clan Society of North America, Inc. (MCSNA),
will be held at Stone Mountain Highland Games, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083 on
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
All members are urged to attend the meeting in person or by proxy. If you do not expect to attend the meeting, you are requested to date,
fill in, sign and return the proxy.
MCSNA Secretary> Please forward proxies to Secretary on or before OCTOBER 15, 2019
“ Genetic Project to tell story of Clan Menzies”
Perthshire Advertiser article, 19 July 2019.
A Special Event at Castle Menzies for His Highness Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh (1838-1893)
Tuesday 6th August
The Malaysian Sikh Pipe Band will be visiting Castle Menzies on August 6th as a Cairn memorial,
located on the Castle grounds, is unveiled for the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire who resided in exile
at Castle Menzies for 8 years, until 1863.
At approx 11am the band will play whilst the Sikh flag is raised to commemorate Duleep Singh
(6 September 1838 – 22 October 1893), also known as His Highness Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh, G.C.S.I.,
or Sir Dalip Singh and later in life nicknamed the “Black Prince of Perthshire”.
All are welcome!
MCSNA at the San Diego Scottish Games
June 22 – 23 2019
Menzies Clan Society of North America will be represented at the San Diego Scottish Games June 22 and 23; we’ll have a booth with information on the Menzies Clan Society and how to join, Castle news and more.
Come check it out, if you’re in the area.
Save the date!
‘JACOBITE CLANS’ Exhibition
29 June -19 October 2019
If you are attending The Menzies Clan Gathering at Menzies Castle in August, you may be interested in checking out this exhibition.
At the Perth Museum & Art Gallery
From 29 June -19 October 2019
Entry is free.
For summer 2019, Perth Museum and Art Gallery present a major exhibition exploring the Jacobites in Perthshire.
This exhibition coincides with the 330th anniversary of the Battle of Killiecrankie. It will focus on the great clans and
families of Perthshire, revealing hidden stories.
The exhibition brings together nationally significant museum objects, alongside items from private collections never
before seen in public. Jacobite Clans will chart the history of a feuding nation through the lives of those at the centre of the Jacobite Wars.
Coinciding with the museum exhibition will be a display on the upper floor of the AK Bell Library in Perth. The display will feature
a large illustrated family tree based on the Nairne family which will highlight the close-knit family connections between Perthshire Jacobites.
This tree will inspire visitors to explore their Jacobite heritage or their Perthshire connections. Using resources from Perth and
Kinross Archive including a Jacobite database of names, Old Parish Records and clan histories we will help visitors to research their family tree.
Message from Fran Gillespie
Re Attending Archibald Menzies Memorial at Kensal Green Cemetery, 2pm, 6th June 2019
There are 65,000 graves in that cemetery so the plan is essential — there isn’t always someone on duty at the gate to direct people.
I’ll shortly be sending out an invitation, plan and how-to-get-there information to as many people as I can, and it will also be added here,
on the website.
CONGRATULATIONS! to author Lynne Jonell on the publication of ‘TIME SIGHT’
Her children’s time-travel novel is about Castle Menzies. The books are finally printed
and their on-sale date in the US is May 14 and in the UK on June 1st this year.
In Lynnes own words from a recent email..
“I would like to send two books (signed First Editions) for the Castle Menzies library
and hopefully copies of the book will be offered for sale in the Castle gift shop.
I just want to say thank you again for your kind permissions, support, and
information throughout this lengthy journey! It’s been a delight to connect with you
all over this project, and I hope that someday I’ll have the privilege of meeting you all.
Until then, fare thee well!
Thank you Lynne on behalf of all Menzies Clan members for your generous donation
to the library and we look forward to making Time Sight available for purchase in
our Castle Menzies gift shop soon.
What a great souvenir or gift for the younger members of any visitors family!
Archibald Menzies, 1745 – 1842
LONDON AUGUST 6th at 2pm – A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
The Restoration of the last resting place of Perthshire Botanist Archibald Menzies is completed and a ceremony
to celebrate the life of this great man and to re-dedicate his restored grave will be held beside his grave site in Kensal Green Cemetery, London UK 2pm on 6th August 2019..
for more details got to
Unveiling Our New Website
The Menzies Clan Society Council would like to welcome you to our new Clan Menzies website !
We hope that all our members like the new style, which we are planning to develop further over the next few months with more members information in a private area, a short film from Hollywood and extra Photo Galleries.
For me, it has been a pleasure to be part of the team who have worked on the website project, but most of the hard work has been done by three others.
I would like to thank Clan Society member Sue Barnes, now Creative Director, of Melbourne Australia for all her excellent work,
and many long hours sorting and editing content & images, creating slideshows, new information and designing the overall creative style and site map. Tim and Fiona, from Purple Pelican Designs have also worked extremely hard on the IT side, from template design to providing us with a wonderful new private Members Area. All three have worked together to create a very attractive new Website.
Enjoy it and we look forward to your feedback!
Alastair Menzies, Website Director
Secretary of MCS
Menzies Clan Society
Menzies Clan Society E-Newsletter
If you would like to subscribe to the MCS Newsletter or update your subscription email address, please contact> our Secretary by email and add ‘Newsletter Subscription’ as your subject .