The Guinness Archive was created in 1998 when they employed their first professional Archivist to curate the history of the company and its employees. The foundation document of the Guinness Archive is the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness on the St. James’ Gate Brewery in 1759.
The Archive, a treasure chest of Guinness history, is the source for information on all aspects of the history of Guinness, focusing especially on the work and life of St James’ Gate Brewery. The Guinness Brewery was the largest private employer in Dublin, employing almost 5,000 just prior to the outbreak of World War One.
The Guinness collection of personnel files of past employees is of particular interest to genealogists. Records are held relating to more than 20,000 past employees from the early 1880s onwards, the date when the Guinness Company first introduced their pension scheme to all employees. The files hold details such as an employee’s date of birth, details of education/ employment prior to entering the brewery, position(s) held in the Brewery, wages earned, payment of pension, and where applicable, payment of pension to the employee’s widow on his death.
The files offer a rich insight into employment conditions in the Guinness Brewery, and also the community nature of employment in the Brewery. Very often, several generations of the same family worked in the Brewery, as is highlighted in one of their more recent advertising campaigns. Access to the original personnel files is available to direct family members.
Arthur Guinness established Guinness in 1759 but it was not until 170 years later, in 1929 that their first official advertising campaign was launched. John Gilroy was the artist behind some of Guinness' most iconic marketing images such as the ones used in the "Guinness for Strength" campaign and "My Goodness My Guinness" campaigns. Much of the marketing repository of the collections have been digitised and are free to view on the Guinnes Archives online website. As well as viewing images, there is also a wealth of information about the company, its history and interesting factsheets relating to logistics and philanthropy.
If you are in Dublin, the Guinness Archive is open by appointment on Monday to Friday from 9.30am-5.00pm.
Phone: + 353 1 471 4557