George Scales (1834‒1904) was a brewer, wine and spirit merchant in Cambridge from 1866 to 1904, also a town councillor and influential civic figure.

George Scales was born in Northwold, Norfolk, in 1834. By the early 1850s he was living in Ely before moving to Cambridge in 1857. There, in 1866, he established the Cambridge Brewery in King Street, which he ran until his death in 1904. From that date, three of his children (Albert Samborn Scales, Alfred Scales and Mrs Hannah Matilda Miller), as the ‘Executors of George Scales’, ran it until 1926, when the business was sold to Barclay, Perkins & Co. of Southwark, and brewing ceased.

In the 1870s, he stood successfully as a town councillor for Market Ward, a position he held for twenty years, serving on various committees, and as an alderman for five years. He was also a freemason. In 1898, he took over the Alma Brewery in Russell Street, owned by his son George Scales junior. He died 20 January 1904, aged 89. (For further biographical information, see download ‘Scales Death Notice’.)

George Scales Death Notice

George Scales Funeral Notice

Cambridge Arms and Brewery
Cambridge Arms and Brewery

George Scales’s brewery was located at 4 King Street, in a building behind the ‘Cambridge Arms’ (variously known as the ‘Town Arms’, ‘City Arms’ and ‘Cambridge Ale Stores’), which he owned. Other public houses in his ownership included the ‘Carpenters Arms’ (King Street), ‘Willow Tree’ (Willow Walk), ‘Suffolk Hotel’ (Grafton Street), ‘Duke of Wellington’ (Fitzroy Street), ‘Ship’ (Princess Street), ‘Bakers’ Arms’ (East Road), ‘Bell’ (Newmarket Road), ‘Cricketers’ (Melbourn Place), ‘Fort St George’ (Midsummer Common), ‘Prince of Wales’ (Gwydir Street), ‘Six Bells’ (Covent Garden), ‘Zebra’ (Maids’ Causeway), and ‘Scales Hotel’ (Chesterton Road ‒ later ‘Portland Arms’).

Scales grave
Scales monument



Parish: Holy Trinity

See family grave page for more information




Spalding’s Cambridge street directories
Cambridge Express
R. J. Flood,Cambridge Breweries (Cambridge, 1987)

By Ian Bent

George Scales