Drummond Street, South Side, Edinburgh
Frequented by Robert Louis Stevenson.
1899 facade. Still looking the same
1. Please click on the thumbnail
image above to read about the proposals for Rutherford's
announced in September 2007.
2. Rutherford's closed for
refurbishment around the beginning of November 2007. I don't
know how long it is likely to be closed for.
Eric Gold (known to many as Eric McKenzie), formerly of
Dumbiedykes and now living in East London, wrote:
"Many thanks for putting up Rutherford's
photos on the website. I feel a thirst coming on (ha ha ha).
I remember Bob, the owner, now sadly deceased.
He used to
say if anyone commented on the decor,
'You are here to drink and if you think
we need a coat of paint get some and paint, and if you do a good job
I will let you have a pint free (ha ha ha)'.
He was a really funny man."
Gold: East London, February 4, 2007
New Jersey, USA
Thank you to Margaret
Savannah, who now lives in the USA, for telling me about her recent
visit to Edinburgh.
"I was born and raised in Crichton
Street, in the South Side, Edinburgh. We lived there from
about 1951-59. The building was torn down not that long
afterwards and we moved to , then moved to West Adam Street.
We then moved to Windmill St for about
two years. It was literally around the block.
Then we moved to West Adam Street.
We lived there for several years before coming to the USA in 1967."
Visit to Edinburgh
"I was able to return to Edinburgh from
the USA for a holiday with my two youngest children, three years
ago. I wanted my kids to experience something of Edinburgh
that resembled the way it was when I was a young woman."
"I took the kids to Drummond St, and
there was Rutherford's Pub, looking the same inside and out as it
did in my youth.
We went in and at first we received some
funny stares, but as we made ourselves at home and started talking
to a couple of the locals we were invited to sit in the corner table
that had a sign above it stating it was for locals only.
We knew that an honour had been bestowed
on us and spent a really wonderful afternoon talking to 3 wonderful
gentlemen who happened to remember my family."
"My family name was
Hawkes. I wonder if anyone out there remembers this huge
"Perhaps someone may remember the sad
story of my young sister who was killed when a brick wall fell on
her in the back-green of West Nicholson Street in the early '70s.
The wall was so old that it was
crumbling and the kids in the neighborhood would hold onto an old
rope, used for laundry, to swing on. The wall crumbled under
the weight and unfortunately my sister was killed"
Margaret Savannah, New Jersey, USA: December 17, 2007
Thank you to Neil Scott, Edinburgh, who wrote:
"I was in Drummond Street last night and
was staggered to see what has become of Rutherford’s Bar.
"When I was a student in the
late-1950’s/early-1960’s, Rutherford’s was one of my local haunts,
especially after playing badminton in Edinburgh University’s
Pollock Gym just down the road in the Pleasance.
Indeed, while I was studying for my PhD
at Edinburgh, money was so tight that I started working in
Rutherford’s rather than drinking – that way I earned money instead
of spending it!"
"Bob Turnbull, the licensee, had a
strict rule of 'no drinking on the job' and it was instant dismissal
if you were caught drinking while on duty.
However, there was a serving hatch from
the public bar through into the lounge bar, and we (the barmen) used
to secretly place a pint on the ledge in the hatch, just out of
sight of the public bar.
We then used to make frequent trips
through to the lounge to collect empty glasses (even when we knew
there were none!) and to have a swig at this communal pint! Mind
you, it got re-filled more than once during a busy night."
Rutherford's Bar Staff
"Here is a photo of the bar staff in
Rutherford's, taken around 1960. "
Neil Scott ARPS (Fellow EPS Member), Edinburgh:
October 25, 2008
** Please click on the photo
- to enlarge it
- to read about how the photo was taken and who is in it.
- to read responses to this photo
Peter Stubbs: October 25, 2008
Neil Scott explained the procedure at Rutherford's if any of the
bar staff were offered drinks while on duty.
Drinks for the Bar Staff
"The system in my day was that if a
customer wanted to 'treat' you, he would offer you a drink. (It was
definitely a “man’s pub” in those days – many unaccompanied women who came in
were of doubtful reputation and were usually ushered out very
quickly. Bob was quite strict about that!)
We had to say that we were not allowed
to drink on duty, but we could put the money aside, and have a drink
on our break.
Nearly always, this option was declined
by the customer, so we got neither drink, nor tip!"
Neill Scott ARPS (fellow EPS Member), Edinburgh:
October 26, 2008
New Jersey, USA
Thank you to Margaret
Savannah, who replied:
Hospitality at Rutherford's
"When I visited Rutherford's, I was
really happy to be able to let my kids see a side of Scotland they,
as visitors from another country, may not have experienced
When we entered Rutherford's that day it
was as if time had gone back 40 years. My son even took pictures of
the bathrooms. The customers that were there, treated us so well and
welcomed me in particular.
I was overwhelmed by their hospitality. I'm
so sad to know that the bar I knew as a youngster no longer exists
as I knew it."
Margaret Savannah, New Jersey, USA: October 26, 2008
Thank you to Paul Essenhigh, who
asked about Rutherford's Lunge Bar today. Paul
"I just noticed Rutherford Bar on
the EdinPhoto web site, and was wondering if the pub is still
there now or has it been redeveloped? I heard a year or
two ago it was to be redeveloped but not sure if this went ahead or
I saw the bar in '16 Years of Alcohol'
shortly after returning home from Edinburgh and was hoping to drop
in for a pint or two in September when I return to Edinburgh."
Paul Essenhigh, Australia: January 22, 2009
"Rutherford's has now been redeveloped.
Here is how it looked, both outside and inside, in August 2008,
following the redevelopment:
You'll see that the frontage
facing onto Drummond Street still looks very much the same. It
has been given a new coat of varnish.
But inside, the old bar has been taken
away and the room has become an extension of Ciao Roma Restaurant,
just round the corner from Drummond Street at South Bridge.
The Drummond Street doors are now locked and there is only one
entrance to the restaurant - at 64 South Bridge.
Here is a little more information about
recent changes at Rutherford's."
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 22, 2009
Gabriel Fernandez Represas
Thank you to Gabriel Fernandez Represas for sending more
recollections for this page - about ten years after I received
recollections 6 above!
My First Novel
"I lived in Edinburgh in 2005 and I
frequented Rutherford's bar very often. I am now working on my
first novel and the main character goes to have Tennents pints to
Behind the Bar
"I remember that an old man was serving
to customers, but I can't remember his name. ( Was it Bob or Rory? )***
He was very nice and he was smiling all the time. Perhaps you
remember his name. I would be very grateful if somebody could tell
me his name.
Before leaving Edinburgh I went to see
him and say good bye' and I asked him for something as a memento -
something like a Tennents beer mat. He went to the
basement and he took a Bass Ale tray which he gave me. I kept
it like a treasure.
It may have been Bob, the owner. He is mentioned
at the end of Recollections 1 above.
Edinburgh: 7 February 2019
"This old man said to me that Stevenson
used to go to drink white wine, and before going to drink he used to
go to the morgue which was located nearby. Does anybody know
anything about the morgue in the 1800s?
Gabriel Fernandez Represas, February 4, 2019
Reply to Gabriel?
If you'd like to reply to any
of Gabriel's comments or questions above,
please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on Gabriel's
email address to you.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: 7