19th May 1769. Lovely Day for a Guinness!

In 1982 Guinness dropped its Toucan advert as it was no longer deemed to be useful for the product.


Today in May 1769 Guinness exported porter-ale for the first time: six and half barrels shipped to England.

Porter was being sold in 1778 as a single stout and double stout in the 1840.s and was ‘officially’ invented in the Bell Brewhouse, Shoreditch, London in 1722 by Ralph Harwood. Its dark colour came from the roasted barley.

It replaced a beer called ‘Three Threads’, or ‘Entire Butt’, which involved the barman blending a pint from three taps-usually pale (small), brown and old (strong) ale.

It was at this time that Arthur Guinness began making porter at St James’ Gate, Dublin, where he made a darker more robust version ‘Extra Stout’(strong).


Guinness thrived on the back of its adverts: ‘Guinness for Strength‘; ‘My Goodness My Guinness‘; ‘Lovely Day for a Guinness’ and ‘Guinness is Good for You’, the wall posters of which enlivened many a street scene in the 1930.s and 1940.s.

It was designer John Gilroy when working for Benson’s Advertising Agency, who developed the zoo series, with the 1935 toucan becoming more representative of the company than the harp.

The posters made use of many animals notably a kangaroo, ostrich, sea-lion all in whimsical stances.

Gilroy worked with crime novelist Dorothy L  Sayers who combined writing about Lord Wimsey, with her day job. Involved with the Guinness account at Benson’s in the 1930.s she used the experience in her novel ‘Murder must Advertise’, set in ‘Pym’s Agency‘.(1)

The Guinness brand, (now owned by Diageo), continued to develop its advertising notably on TV and ‘The Surfer’ showing a Polynesian surfer was released on 17th March 1999, as part of an integrated campaign to promote the stout in the UK. 

In 2002 it was voted the best advertisement of all time by Channel 4 and the Sunday Times.





A later Guinness ennobled as Lord Iveagh, one of the ‘Beerage’, died in 1933 was then reckoned to be one of the country’s richest men.

The Guinness Park Royal HQ in London since 1932, was closed in 2005 relocating to Dublin.

In 2008 an enamel sign; ’Guinness is Good for You’ was sold for £60.

(1) On Saturday April 13th 1985 P.28 the Times reported an article about Gilroy the artist who worked for S.H.Benson until the 1960’s.

Ref: occmed.oxfordjournals.org/gilroy.

Ref: historyhouse.co.uk/guinness-toucan

Ref: QI Article, Daily Telegraph. 18.5.2013. Molly Oldfield and John Mitchinson.

Ref: alamy.com/girder and clock.

Ref: collectorsweekly.com/cart and children.

Ref: ersey.com/toucan and bottle.

Ref: jacquieverettdesign.wordpress/trio of pics.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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