Old Brewery, Thurso


The Old Brewery was a traditional Caithness flagstone rubble building in the town centre of Thurso, a remnant of the much larger courtyard complex of buildings that operated as a brewery in the early 19th century. It was a category B listed building and had been disused and deteriorating for a number of years. The inclusion of a brewery in Sir John Sinclair’s masterplan for the new town of Thurso, to be laid out on the classical grid iron principle was apparently an initiative to wean the residents of Thurso off stronger drink. Sadly the brewery was not a commercial success and was converted into a distillery shortly thereafter.


In 1998, the Highland Council commissioned the Trust to carry out a feasibility study to investigate the viability of re-using the Old Brewery building for the expanded North Highland Archive, which had outgrown its location in a room above the library in Wick. The Trust put together a funding package for the works. Despite these and other efforts dating back to 1982 which were made to try to find practical ways of keeping the building, none of these came to fruition and evidence having been submitted that the building had been deteriorating to such an extent that it was in a perilous state and the stone of such poor quality that its retention was impossible, listed building consent was granted in 2007 for its demolition. 

Design Team

Law and Dunbar-Nasmith Architects
Torrance Partnership Surveyors
Peter Stephen and Partners Structural Engineers
Buro Happold Services Engineers


The Highland Council provided funding for this project.

Image: T Kenneth Mackenzie

Funding was secured from the following organisations: