James Burrough was born in 1834 and trained as a chemist in the West Country. After his apprenticeship finished, he travelled to North America where it is believed he made the decision to apply his knowledge of chemistry to the drinks trade. On his return to the UK he bought the old gin and liqueur distilling firm of John Taylor & Son of Cale Street, Chelsea in 1863. Burrough’s trademark gin ‘Beefeater’ proved very popular and in 1908 the company now called James Burrough Ltd moved to purpose built premises in Lambeth. The new site had access to a well capable of supplying London water with the right taste for their ‘London Gin’. The company moved to Montford Place in 1958.
By 1963 it was the largest exporter of gin from the UK and accordingly it received the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for several years. The company was taken over by Allied Domecq.
This article is based on information in Old Surviving Firms of South London by Steven Harris, Lewarne Publishing, 1987.