Tain Museum Image Library

Glenmorangie distillery.
Tain Museum Image Library
Glenmorangie distillery.

This picture shows a group of workers in front of Glenmorangie distillery - L to R - Davie Cowie - Jock MacAngus - Willie John Bett - Archie Finlay - Don ? MacAngus - Alex Sangster - Jimmy MacAttie - Standing - Jimmy Forsyth - George Ross - Willie Bird - Harry Wood - Sitting - Relief Exciseman ( Thomson ? ) - C W Tresise -G L Smart - Billy Munro - Sitting in front - Billy Banks -Willie Ross.
Picture added on 27 April 2004
Prior to 1970 distilleries had a resident Excise Officer who maintained a tight control over operations- see relief Exciseman above. For us young Excise Officers who supplied holiday relief and assistance this was a glorious life and Tain a generous host, but permanent postings to such desirable stations went to senior officers! - during my time, 1952, we stayed at the Balnagown Arms. In Tain there was also a general Excise Station - the Officer in 1952 was John Fletcher, a Cornishman who was also Provost of Tain. In those days the Excise was well represented in the Highlands and entered into its community life.

Added by Ken Drage on 15 May 2010
C W Tresise was the resident Excise Officer. He would have lived in a house provided by the Distillery, one of the two chalet houses on the main road. This picture would have been taken soon after the end of the 1939/45 war - I believe the distillery was 'silent' during most of the war He had retired prior to my period in Tain in 1952 as a relief Excise Officer.

Added by Ken Drage on 06 May 2017
The photo detail isn’t too clear but on coming back to this picture I am fairly certain the two Excise officers are holding the tools of their trade; the relief officer holds a dip stick, to measure the ‘wet’ inches at the bung hole of the cask; the resident officer, a ‘head rod’, sometimes called an ‘ullage rule’ - the rod had two functions, (1) to measure a cask’s ‘head; diameter, (2) as a slide rule to calculate, from the measurements of the cask, the maximum and actual cask content, the ‘ullage’. In distilleries an Excise Officer was not required to use the head rod to calculate a cask's maximum content – this use was mainly when any liquids were imported in casks or barrels through ports. At distilleries the casks were weighed full, the proof strength of the spirit established by a hydrometer reading and, from an official set of tables, the cask’s content read. As casks are hand made specific cask content varies and each one needs to be measured. Officers spent much of their time dipping and calculating the actual content of casks being delivered from the distillery.

The ‘head rod’ owes its origin to the mathematics of Isaac Newton. It was introduced into the Excise during late C17th and was still in use during the C20th. It wasn’t until the end of the C20th that the computer age dramatically changed the face of Excise controls, including the control of distilleries – resident officers have now been dispensed with and officially approved tables used that are suitable for inclusion in computer programs. Like ‘slide rules’, the ‘head rod’ is now obsolete, but not the dip stick - unless, as was sometimes unkindly said of lazy officers, you dip with your finger!

Also, I missed seeing the photo dated 1937. If correct my dating of after the war is incorrect for Tresise could have remained in office to control deliveries made from the bond and only the opening two sentences of my comment is relevant = Ken Drage

Added by Ken Drage on 08 May 2017
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