Alexander Dumbreck was born in 1837
and was a spirit dealer at the Customs House Hotel,
Linlithgow (which stood at the West Port on the junction of the High Street and
the Bo'ness Road) until his death on the 8th November 1887
from pernicious anaemia
at the age of 49.
He married Helen MacKie about 1860 and they had 6 children. His widow Helen, (MacKie) carried on the business with the help of her
brother-in-law James Dumbreck.
Mrs. Helen Dumbreck outside the Customs House
Hotel holding her grand-daughter Mary.
Photo dated about 1900
Custom House Hotel got its name from the toll
house that stood on the site for the purpose of collecting excise duties on
goods coming into the town. At the turn of the century (1900), the hotel
was owned and managed by Mrs. Helen Dumbreck along with the help from her brother-in-law James
Dumbreck (her late husbands brother). Mr. and Mrs. Dumbreck, were known
locally as "Auld Hell" and "Haughty Nell". The
photograph shows Mrs. Dumbreck, proudly standing outside her establishment.
The date would be about 1900 - the year that the West Lothian Courier carried the following
"Mrs. Helen Dumbreck was informed to
ensure that no-one left the Customs House Hotel on a Sunday evening in a state
of intoxication. She must also provide more bedrooms for travellers in
order to qualify for a Sunday licence. She was also accused of supplying
two men from Bridgend who were not bona fida travellers"
In years gone by, licensing laws prohibited
the sale of alcohol to all but those who could prove that they were in transit.
Children of Alexander and Helen:
James Dumbreck born 31st October 1865 - no further
Jane Dumbreck born 28th November 1867 - no further
Thomas Dumbreck born 2nd February 1870 - no further
Alexander Dumbreck born 1871 - no further info.
William Dumbreck born 18th March 1873
- see page for details
Thomas Dumbreck born 1876 - no further info.
(William Dumbreck born 18th March 1873 continues the