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Deal Notes of 1900


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 15 June, 1900. Price 1d.


A public meeting was held in the “Foresters' Hall,” Lower Walmer, on Friday last, when special attention was given to the Children's Bill, now before parliament.

In the absence of the Rev. Canon Venn, who was unexpectedly summoned away, the chair was occupied by Mr. A. J. McIntosh.

The Rev. W. C. Atwell moved: “That this meeting hardly rejoices that the Bill to stop the sale of intoxicants to children under sixteen years of age, has passed the second reading stage, and earnestly trusts it may become law during the present Session of Parliament.” Also, “That the Chairman be authorised to sign on behalf of the meeting a petition to Parliament in favour of the Bill.”

Mr. J. M. Skinner, in seconding the resolution, gave a most interesting and instructive address on the Bill from its infancy.

The Chairman put the resolution to the meeting, which was carried with acclamation.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 28 July, 1900. 1d.


To the Editor of the Mercury.

Dear Sir,

The Licensing Sessions are approaching, and, in view of the drunkenness and other evils arising out of liquor excesses, it should be brought home to the Justices that much of this evil is caused because they will persist in granting licenses in such numbers as are universally admitted to be largely in excess of all reasonably requirements.

Lord Watson, in the House of Lords' case Boulter v. Kent Justices, said the Justices were "a body interposed between the licensee and the public, for the protection of the public," and a Justice who may have walked down the street and found thirty public-houses in it, said Lord Watson, "I do not see why he should not come to the conviction, and act on the conviction, that twenty public-houses were enough, and that thirty two were too many.

Why do not the Justices act upon these lines thus laid down by the Judges in the highest Court in the Empire? Sir William Houldsworth, Bart, M.P. for Manchester, N.W., one of her Majesty's Royal Commissioners on the Licensing Laws, gives an answer:-

"He thought they would find that in an immense number of instances the Justices looked upon the licensing laws as if they had been framed for the protection of the publicans, whereas they were framed for the protection of the public.... It was evident that the trade in various ways had got an influence over the benches of Justices who administered the laws.... Although he would do justice to the publication, he did not care a fig for their financial machinery. The moral and social condition of the people ought to be the first and foremost consideration." (Speech, Nov. 21st, 1899).

In some districts, the Justices have put the welfare of the people first. In Liverpool, during the last ten years, amongst other reforms, 181 public-houses have been closed, whilst at Darwen, 34 off-licenses were refused renewal at one Session. The Justices should this year commence a reduction in the number of licenses towards the maximum of what is "reasonable," as given in Lord Peel's report:- 1 on-license to 750 persons in towns, and 400 in country districts (p. 267). The existing number of drink shops would then be reduced by one half.

Such a policy would do much to abate the present mass of social evil which drink causes largely because of the lax administration of the law by the Licensing Justices. Under the present bad system, drunkenness amongst women is growing at an enormous rate, as the following figures show:- Death rate of females per 1,000,000 living, from chronic alcoholism and delirium, tremens (from Registrar General's Annual Reports for England and Wales):-

   1875 - 24       1894 - 47

   1876 - 24       1895 - 51

   1877 - 23       1896 - 52

   1878 - 26       1897 - 59

   1879 - 24       1898 - 59

Average 24.2           53.6

Yours very faithfully,

Charles Smith,

Secretary Kent  County Temperance Federation,


Maidstone, July 23rd, 1900


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 1 September, 1900. 1d


The annual licensing meeting was held at Deal on Thursday, when the whole of the licenses were renewed. prior to the commencement of the business, Mr. Smith (of Maidstone) attended with several residents to present a petition to the Bench praying them to reduce the existing number of licenses in the Borough.

The memorialists approached the Bench "with a deep sense of the onerous duties which, in the public interest, the legislature has imposed upon them in Brewster Sessions," for upon them rested "the responsibility for the continuance of the present universally admitted excessive number of licensed temptations, and, inferentially, for the many social evils which that excess inflicts upon society," reminded them of Lord Watson's remark, in the case of Boulter v. Kent Justices, that they were "a body interposed between the licensee and the public for the protection of the public," and he did not see why, if they found thirty public-houses in a street they should not come to the conviction, and act upon the conviction, that twenty were enough and thirty too many. They submitted "that the drunkenness and other evils having their exciting cause in the excessive supply of intoxicating liquor which this Borough has been afflicted during the year, and mainly from licenses over which your worship have full discretionary powers, are a serious reflection upon your administration of the licensing laws," and they therefore prayed them not only to refuse new applications, but so to reduce licenses as to bring them to the standard of Lord Peel's report - a maximum of one on-licenses to 750 persons in towns, and 400 in the country. The signatures of Revs. W. C. Attwell, J. L. Grice, N. Dobson, C. R. Bower, and Messrs. W. C. Parkinson, J. Prior, F. W. Tenney, C. J. Weston, G. S. Dunn, A. T. Skipper, W. W. Palmer, C. B. Wellden, J. Peters, J. N. Mugford, A. S. Taylor, S. R. Jefferson, W. T. Hayward, S. H. Eastes, W. Pittock, J. Pittock, E. Atkins, J. S. Huntley, M. Langley, T. C. Baldwin, and T. Dimmer were attached.

The Mayor said they were pleased, of course, to see gentlemen take such interest in this matter, for he thought their interests were very similar to those of the Bench. Although they had, perhaps, rather an excess of licensed houses in Deal, he thought in the amount of drunkenness that had existed in the Borough during the year, they compared very favourably with other places. They had a body of licensed victuallers in Deal who endeavoured to the best of their ability to carry on their business for the benefit of the public at large. Perhaps the gentleman who had attended before them would not agree with that remark, but at any rate they endeavoured to carry on their business in a legal manner. It was very rare indeed that the police had to complain of the way in which the houses were conducted, and the number of cases of drunkenness compared favourably with last year, and he thought they could say that the business generally was well carried on. He believed it was quite the opinion of the Bench that if there were about half the number of licensed houses in the town it would be a great deal better for those who were left, and perhaps in some cases it might stop some of the drunkenness. At the same time, when they had a body of men before them who endeavoured to carry on their business in a satisfactory manner, it would be a very difficult matter for the bench to pick out one half and say "We refuse to license you any more." He knew the opinion of the Bench was strongly against issuing any more licenses, and they would be very glad indeed if half of the gentlemen present would feel disposed to surrender their licenses. Further than that he had nothing to say.

Ald. Cottew said he would like to offer a few remarks. he would first say that those who had appeared before the Bench were not a temperance party; they were a party of total abstainers, and they appeared before the Bench in what he called false colours. he called himself a temperance man. And what did they come there to ask the Bench to do? Supposing they were to fall in with their ideas and refused a great number of licenses. They had a lesson in that some five years ago, when they refused to renew the license of a house that had been shut up during the winter months, with the result that their decision was appealed against, and the appeal was allowed, and it cost the town a considerable sum of money. A pretty hole they would be in if they followed the advice of these gentlemen. Another remark he would like to make was that he thought gentlemen and ministers of the town were quite out of place in coming before a Bench of Magistrates. [Mr. Ramell - one of the Bench: No, no. Turning to Mr. Ramall - Ald. Cottew ejaculated: You can say what you like presently, but that is my opinion.] They were quite out of place coming before a Bench of Magistrates and asking them tom put the law in force with reference to the number of licenses (oh, oh, laughter, and here, here). What he considered to be the duty of magistrates was simply this: to persuade men, and if they did wrong, to try and persuade them to do better (here, here, and applause). He had often pictured in his own mind what would have been the consequence if a parcel of persons had appeared before a bench of Roman magistrates in the days of the Apostles and asked for the law to be put in force to prevent people obtaining a living (laughter). They would not have been listened to, or if they had been they would have been laughed at and he contended that they who styled themselves the temperance party were taking a very strong course, because they were not a temperance party, and they appeared before the magistrates in false colours (applause from the licensed victuallers, laughter from the teetotallers, and Mr. Ramell: No, no). They might laugh (hear, hear), but no one had taken more interest in the temperance question than he had. he remembered its first introduction. And as for saying they could prove total abstinence from the Bible, he strongly denied it. How was it that many ministers and eminent men who for many, many years had studied the Bible, and had produced commentaries on it, had never said a word about total abstinence? They had never heard a word about it until some sixty or seventy years ago. No, it could not be a doctrine of the Bible. he denied it most strictly, and could bring many reasons why he should take that course. They appeared before the Bench: he did not know why, for they had no standing (laughter and hear, hear). However, it was for the magistrates present to think over what they had said (applause and laughter) and decide accordingly. But the publicans of the town had endeavoured to conduct their houses in  a fair and legitimate manner.

Mr. Smith asked to be allowed to say a few words, but the Mayor said they had other business. the Magistrates had been there an hour and a quarter, and they must have a little consideration for them.

Ald. Cottew: You have no standing here at all.

Mr. Smith: Excuse me. Everyone has a standing at a licensing meeting.

The Clerk: Subject to the discretion of the Magistrates.

Mr. Smith: Do I understand that you rule us out of order?

The Clerk: You have put in your memorial, and the magistrates have heard you.

Supt. Chaney's report was as follows:-

"I have the honour to place before you my annual report of the ale-houses and beer-houses within the Borough of Deal, and am pleased to report that they have been generally well conducted during the past year. The number and description of the licensed houses are as follows, viz.: 73 ale-houses, 13 on-licensed beer-houses, and 6 grocers and other licensed to sell spirits, wines, and beer.

The licenses of 13 ale-houses and 2 beer-houses have been transferred during the year. During the year 40 persons have been proceeded against for drunkenness and drunk and disorderly conduct; 21 were fined, and 18 were imprisoned without the option of a fine, and 1 discharged. Of the number proceeded against, 16 were residents, and 24 non-residents, thus showing an increase of 1 on the number proceeded against last year, and a decrease of 4 on the number of residents proceeded against.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 27 October, 1900.


To the Editor of the Deal Mercury.

Sir - I tender an apology to your readers, and to your correspondence, for my long silence, but three weeks of the hurly-burly of a general election put a stop to all else.

1. Your correspondent "Temperance" exclaims - "What injustice would result, were magistrates to act on their powers to reduce the number of public-houses!" But if the number is excessive, as your magistrates say is the case, then the very thing the magistrates are there for is to reduce them! To say they won't reduce them out of consideration for the license holders is simply to say that the magistrates are unfit for their positions, false to the public whose interests they are there to protect, and corrupt in the sense that they sacrifice the public for the sake of the publican.

2. Then, says "Temperance," three regattas have been held," with "not a single charge of misconduct resulting." But if the police instructions are, in defence to liquor influences, to arrest no one if it can possibly be avoided, and to keep the charges of drunkenness down to the lowest possible limit, then the absence of charges by no means implies an absence of drunkenness. And the records of your police court look as though liquor influences control your police force! For one example, take the police evidence as given in your columns of Sept. 22nd - a case of drunk and disorderly, and assaulting the police:- "P.C. Handford found the prisoner lying in the water-table by the side of the main road, drunk.... assisted him up, prisoner said he would go away. Went about ten yards, when he laid down again. Assisted him up again, and advised him to go away..... he went down the road, but commenced holloaing and shouting, and using very filthy language. Again advised him to go away, he refused, and as he continued to use very bad language, witness took him into custody." That constable, no doubt under instructions from his superiors, and certainly with the tacit  approval of your magistrates, practically repeals the laws relating to public drunkenness, and does all he can to enable offenders to escape. He is not the only constable in Deal who does this, and such a scandalous state of things is a disgrace to the authorities responsible, and to the Deal people who maintain such authorities. It is under conditions like these that I am asked to congratulate Deal on its sobriety, as measured by police charges! Suppose the case had been one of the following kind:- "P.C. Hammond found the prisoner with skeleton keys and jemmy, attempting to get into - High Street, prisoner said he would go away..... went about ten yards, and witness found him attempting to get into - High Street.... again advised him to go away...... he went down the road declaring he would have his load of swag that night..... Again advised him to go away, he refused, and as he continued to declare his intentions of making a haul, witness took him into custody."

How ling would a constable who acted thus have the approval of his superiors, or of the magistrates? Would he not be cleared out of the force, and medical men consulted as to his sanity? And if such conduct on the part of the police would not be tolerated in housebreaking cases, why is it the established order of things in drunken cases? Is property more sacred than morals? The Deal police authorities and magistrates tolerate an administration of the law as regards drunkenness, as they would not dream of tolerating as regards burglary. This may answer the purpose of saving the liquor traffickers from reproach, but it certainly lays your authorities open to the charge of corrupt administration.

Yours very faithfully,

Charles Smith,

Secretary Kent County Temperance Federation.

Meanwood, Maidstone,

Oct. 15th. 1900