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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 15:16 GMT
Irn Bru family donate paintings
Painting by James S Stewart
The paintings depict the town centre in the 1890s
Victorian paintings depicting Falkirk town centre and the founder of the company that invented Irn Bru have been donated to a town museum.

The two oil paintings show the high street in Falkirk, where Barr Soft Drinks was founded in 1875, and the family home of Robert Barr.

Robin Barr, the current chairman of Barr Soft Drinks and Robert's great grandson, donated the works.

They will be hung in the Callendar House mansion for public viewing.

The pictures were painted for the Barr family by Falkirk-based artist James S. Stewart, in about 1895.

The artist detailed Falkirk High Street, close to the site of the first Barr factory in the town's Cockburn Street.

I hope that the people of Falkirk will enjoy them [the paintings] as much as my family have over the years
Robin Barr

It was there that the company launched its Iron Brew drink, now famous as Irn Bru, in 1901.

The works also feature Robert Barr, his daughter Jane, and the family's white terrier, as well as a Barr delivery wagon.

The family home of Arnotdale is also shown in the pictures.

It currently stands in the town's Dollar Park.

Presenting the paintings, Robin Barr said that during the late 1800s his great grandfather Robert had commissioned Stewart to paint a family picture for them each year.

"The link between my family and Falkirk goes right back to the start of the Barr family business and I am delighted that Falkirk Museum has accepted our gift of these two paintings," he said.

"I hope that the people of Falkirk will enjoy them as much as my family have over the years."

National drink

Falkirk councillor Adrian Mahoney said the company was historically significant to Falkirk.

"Many people here are rightly proud that a firm with strong roots in the Falkirk area is now an international brand, producing Scotland's 'other national drink'," he said.

Barr Soft Drinks' association with Falkirk began in the 1830s when the original cork-cutting business was established there by Robert Barr.

In 1875 a soft drinks business was added on the Cockburn Street site.

In 1901 Robert Barr Falkirk and A.G.Barr & Co Glasgow, then two separate businesses, jointly launched their own original recipe 'Iron Brew' soft drink.

In 1971 the Falkirk business outgrew its site and Barrs moved into a new larger factory and distribution centre at Camelon.

Then 10 years ago the factory operations closed when all of Barr's production in Scotland was centralised at Cumbernauld.



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