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The Buttercup Dairy Co. Tranent

This is a very rare find.

A double fronted Butter Cup Diary, in Tranent. Uncovered by G Brown Stone Masons as part of the The CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme) and funded by Historic Environment Scotland.

Sadly the tiles were badly damaged so they contacted us to restore the shop fronts.  As one of Scotland’s leading tiling restoration companies, we stepped up to the challenge.


The history of The Buttercup Dairy Co.

The Buttercup Dairy Co. devised one of the most artistic and coherent retail house styles to be found on Scottish High Streets in the 20th century.

The business was founded by Andrew Ewing (1869-1956), a farmer’s son from Stoneykirk who had been apprenticed to a grocer in Dundee before opening three small shops in the city in the mid-1890s.

At its peak in the late 1920s, the Buttercup had around 250 branches. These shops were mainly located around the East of Scotland with some additional outlets in the North of England. They were staffed entirely by women to keep labour costs to a minimum.

The shop fronts for The Buttercup Dairy Co. were designed by James Duncan, born in 1833 in Aberdeen. He made an enormous contribution to the installation of tiled murals in Scotland and while he did not manufacture his own tiles, he would buy machine-pressed blanks from companies such as T & R Boote. He used these tiles exclusively for the Buttercup Dairy shop fronts.

Duncan would send his designs to T & R Boote who would then manufacture the tiles to his designs, with the mark of James Duncan Ltd or JD Ltd printed on the finished article asserting his copyright to the design.

As always, for projects like these the beautiful tiles were made by @cdjackfield.