A MOMENT IN TIME – Temperance

Brewster Sessions

Rural life was fairly uncomplicated in the final years of Queen Victoria’s long reign and without doubt there was only really one form of popular entertainment for her subjects. Without the cinema or television to entertain them during their precious hours away from work, the great majority took their pleasure from the liberal consumption of alcohol in all of its guises, and where better to consume this liquid treat, why, in the pub, away from the wife and kids ,in the bosom of their pals. Scrupulous control of this popular habit was levied by statute which ensured in turn that that local bodies were to verify that the police properly kept a strict control of its distribution in the locality.  At each year’s end, the police would need to report to the relevant committees to place on record the fruits of their success or otherwise and so it was that in the last week of December of the year 1900, Superintendent Mantle duly submitted only the second annual report to the Melton Mowbray Brewster Sessions.   At that first licensing meeting of the Petty Sessional Division in the new century, Mr Fast took the chair and sat with fellow members, Major Sterling, Mr James Pacey and Mr Andrew Shipman:   The Superintendent told the meeting:

“Gentlemen, I beg to submit for your information my second annual report under the intoxicating liquor laws.   There are 103 persons licensed to sell in this division, viz. 85 licensed victuallers, eight to sell beer on premises, three to sell beer off premises,, one refreshment, six wines, total 103.   The population at the last census was 19,917, which is a license to every 193 persons.   Drunkenness: Persons proceeded against under the above heading, viz.. Drunk and disorderly on the highway 23, drunk in charge of horses two, simple drunkenness 19, refusing to quit licensed premises three, total 47.   Forty-four were convicted and three discharged, being an increase of nine as compared with last year.   Five full licenses, one beer off and one wine off, have been transferred during the year.   One licensed victualler has been summoned and convicted under the Food and Drugs Act.   Nineteen persons have music licenses.   The renewal of the Railway Inn will not be applied for, it being pulled down for alterations at the railway crossing, Burton-end.   Thomas Clifton who keeps the ‘Dog and Gun’ beerhouse, Melton Mowbray (at present a six days’ license) is applying for a seven days’ license, which will be brought before you to-day.   There is [are] no applications for any new licenses.   All the alterations which the magistrates suggested when they visited the Marquis of Granby Inn, Red Lion, Duke of Rutland, Three Crowns, Boat, Royal Oak, and Dog and Gun, have been carried out.   I have no complaint to urge against any of the license holders.”

And that was that for another year!


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