In 1880 two brothers, A. & R. Scott, started making Scott’s Midlothian Oat Flour in the Kingston Dock area of Glasgow. Little appears to be known about the brothers, the business being run from an early date by partners Robert Lauder, who looked after the technical aspects, and William Allen, who controlled the finances. At this time, many Scottish peasants and agricultural workers relied on oatmeal in the form of porridge and oat cakes for sustenance. It wasn’t until much later that bread made from wheat flour came into use.
Scott’s Midlothian Oat Flour quickly gained renown in Glasgow. The oats came to the mill as groats and the husks were removed. After the oat flour had been thoroughly purified, it travelled down a chute and was emptied onto large tables. Girls then put the oat flour into tins. In the early 1880s around 1,000 1lb tins were being packed per day.
In 1884 the company began producing Scott’s Midlothian Biscuits. By 1893 the company was making 32,000 oat cakes per week, including a regular order once a fortnight for the Prince of Wales. In 1888 the firm was incorporated as A. & R. Scott Ltd. In 1909 the business moved to larger premises at West Mills, Colinton, Edinburgh.
To distinguish Scott’s Oat Flakes from their competitors, the decription Scott’s Porage Oats was introduced in 1914 and remains a trademark to the present day. The word “porage” is a mixture of the old Scottish word “poray” and the French word “potage”. In 1924 the well-known symbol of a highlander in a kilt putting the shot was added to the packaging. In 1947 a former flax mill was acquired at Cupar, Fife to manufacture Scott’s Porage Oats.
In 1955 A. & R. Scott Ltd. was taken over by Cerebos Ltd. who renamed the business Scott-Brand Foods Ltd.
In 1982 Scott-Brand Foods was purchased by Quaker Oats Ltd. Quakers expanded the Cupar premises making it the largest oat mill in Western Europe, with its products being sold not only in the UK, but also in Scandinavia, France and even in the Far East.