Pollokshields Heritage History

John Scouller (1849-1923)

Commissioned The Moss, 28-30 Dalziel Drive / 69 St Andrews DriveJohn Scouller

John Scouller, one of Glasgow's most prominent Victorian and Edwardian publicans, was born on 8th February 1849 in College Street. Glasgow to flesher Charles Scouller and Jessie Gilmour. At a young age his father's work took the family to Falkirk but they returned to Glasgow in 1860 when his father became agent for the Falkirk Brewery through James Aitken & Co. On leaving school, he worked in his father's office and in 1868 left for London to work in the hop trade. When he returned to Glasgow he became a traveller for James Aitken & Co. and after his father died in 1875 he became an agent for the firm. In 1884 he took over the licence of a pub in Drury Lane from a Mr John Young.

Scouller was fascinated by horses and all his pubs have horse associations. such as the Spur bar at 84 Polmadie Street and the Snaffle Bit in Howard Street. He re-named the pub The Horseshoe Bar and between 1885 and 1887 completely remodelled the premises giving the pub the now familiar two entrances and oval shaped bar.

The Horseshoe Bar was possibly the first pub to introduce an island counter and this innovation is thought to have been Scouller's brainchild. Such is the length of the continuous counter that the Horseshoe Bar was reputedly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest bar in the UK.

The island counter proved very popular and many publicans imitated the arrangement visitors, came to the Horse Shoe Bar from the Glasgow area and as far afield as Aberdeen and Inverness to take measurements and plans for pubs of their own Scouller's fame even spread to the United States. which he visited in 1901. In a bank in Buffalo, New York State. he was recognised and the cashier remarked 'Oh it's all right, we know very well you are all right. We have a Scotchman here ourselves. If we had the drawings of the "Horseshoe" for a week, we would be inclined to take a holiday ourselves'.

John Scouller died at his Dalziel Drive home on 1st May 1923 aged 74.The Horseshoe Bar