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TITLE
John Birnie
EXTERNAL ID
AB_INVTOWNHOUSE07_03
PLACENAME
Inverness
DATE OF IMAGE
1916
PERIOD
1910s
CREATOR
George Fiddes Watt
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
378
KEYWORDS
Inverness Town House
portraits
provosts
whisky
distilleries
Glen Albyn Distillery
Glen Mhor Distillery
Mackinlays and Birnie
Freemasonry
Balnafetteck
John Birnie

This portrait of John Birnie hangs in Inverness Town House, in the Main Hall. It was painted in 1916 by George Fiddes Watt.

John Birnie was born in Banffshire in 1856. From 1872 to 1877 he worked with the Royal Bank of Scotland. He then began a life-long career in distilling.

Birnie spent eight years at Benrinnes Distillery on Speyside before coming to Inverness in 1885 to take charge of the Glen Albyn Malt Whisky Distillery at Muirtown.

In 1893, in partnership with Charles Mackinlay and Co., the Leith blending firm, Birnie built the Glen Mhor Malt Whisky Distillery, also at Muirtown. The firm became Mackinlays and Birnie Ltd. in 1906 and Birnie was managing director of the company until his death. It bought the Glen Albyn Distillery in 1920.

The Distiller's Company acquired Mackinlay and Birnie Ltd. in 1972. Both distilleries closed in 1983 and the buildings were later demolished for retail development.

For sixteen years Birnie was a member of the Town Council. He served as treasurer for six years and as a magistrate for three. He was elected Provost in 1910, a post he held for six years. As Provost he took a leading role in organising aid for soldiers on active duty in World War I and in providing comfort for the bereaved.

Outside the council Birnie was a member of the Harbour Trust and of the Education Authority and a director of the Royal Northern Infirmary. He was involved with Freemasonry, serving as Worthy Master of the St John's Kilwinning Lodge and as Provincial Grand Master of Inverness-shire.

Birnie was a keen golfer, doing much to promote the game, and an enthusiastic curler. He also kept a well-stocked farm at Balnafettack.

John Birnie died on 23 February 1946.

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John Birnie

1910s

Inverness Town House; portraits; provosts; whisky; distilleries; Glen Albyn Distillery; Glen Mhor Distillery; Mackinlays and Birnie; Freemasonry; Balnafetteck

Am Baile

Inverness Town House 2007

This portrait of John Birnie hangs in Inverness Town House, in the Main Hall. It was painted in 1916 by George Fiddes Watt.<br /> <br /> John Birnie was born in Banffshire in 1856. From 1872 to 1877 he worked with the Royal Bank of Scotland. He then began a life-long career in distilling.<br /> <br /> Birnie spent eight years at Benrinnes Distillery on Speyside before coming to Inverness in 1885 to take charge of the Glen Albyn Malt Whisky Distillery at Muirtown.<br /> <br /> In 1893, in partnership with Charles Mackinlay and Co., the Leith blending firm, Birnie built the Glen Mhor Malt Whisky Distillery, also at Muirtown. The firm became Mackinlays and Birnie Ltd. in 1906 and Birnie was managing director of the company until his death. It bought the Glen Albyn Distillery in 1920.<br /> <br /> The Distiller's Company acquired Mackinlay and Birnie Ltd. in 1972. Both distilleries closed in 1983 and the buildings were later demolished for retail development.<br /> <br /> For sixteen years Birnie was a member of the Town Council. He served as treasurer for six years and as a magistrate for three. He was elected Provost in 1910, a post he held for six years. As Provost he took a leading role in organising aid for soldiers on active duty in World War I and in providing comfort for the bereaved.<br /> <br /> Outside the council Birnie was a member of the Harbour Trust and of the Education Authority and a director of the Royal Northern Infirmary. He was involved with Freemasonry, serving as Worthy Master of the St John's Kilwinning Lodge and as Provincial Grand Master of Inverness-shire.<br /> <br /> Birnie was a keen golfer, doing much to promote the game, and an enthusiastic curler. He also kept a well-stocked farm at Balnafettack.<br /> <br /> John Birnie died on 23 February 1946.