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Notes of 1903


From the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, 23 January, 1903.

It would seem from the above list (reported in each individual page) that there was as much competition in "the trade" two hundred years ago as there is at the present day. As new houses were licensed, and probably made more attractive than the old houses, latter frequently died out or it may be the signs for some unexplained reason were altered. Be that as it may is certain very few, comparatively, of the old signs exist today.

A considerable number of "Cyder Houses" were to be found through the district, and about this time the manufacturer of Cyder appears to have been a very flourishing business. The duty payable on it was 10s. 8d. per hogshead.

At Seal or (Seale as it was then called) a rather important distillery was in existence at the time under Notice. The following is a copy of the Magistrates order made in 1725, anent this:-

Richard Walker, of the parish of Seale, in the County of Kent, Cyder maker and distiller, maketh oath that he the said Richard Walker, between the 24th day of June, 1725, and the 24th day of June and last past, did make divers quantities of Cyder for sale, for which the duty of ten shillings and eight pence per hogshead was charged and hath been paid to the collector of His Majesty's Excise for the use of His Majesty's Excise, and further saith that seventy-nine hogsheads three fourths and three gallons of such Cyder was proven not fit for sale, was laid off for distillation, and hath been since charged with the duties chargeable on Cyder, Low Wines and Spirits, and that the duty whereof amounted to the sum of 15 17s. and 10d.

Jurat Quarto die Martijanno dno 1726."

C. Farnaby. Richard Walker. T Lambarde.

Upon which a warrant and all that was granted directed to Mr John Suslow, collector of His Majesty's Excise to authorise and require him to repay unto the said Richard Walker the said sum of 15 17s. and 10d.

The Old licensed houses were all "free". The tenants brewed their own ale and were required to pay quarterly the sum due on the amount of ale actually brewed. This sum was fixed by the excise men for the district, a number of whom were appointed to be present at all "brewings."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 14 February 1903.


The Brewater Sessions for the City of Canterbury were held at the Guildhall on Friday. The licensing justices on the Bench were Mr. W. W. Mason (in the chair), Mr. D. Amos, Mr. H. Hart, Mr. J. Hunt, Mr. T. Cros, Mr. B. G. Sadler, and Mr. W. H. Netharclift.


A temporary authority was granted to Mr. Flinn from Mr. H. D. Reeve, in respect to the bottled ale stores in St. Margaret's Street.


The report of the Chief Constable was read by the Clerk to the Magistrates (Mr. R. M. Mercer) as follows:-

Chief Constables Office,


February 6th, 1903.

To the Chairman and Justices of the Peace for the City of Canterbury.

Gentlemen,— I have the honour to submit my 11th annual report upon the manner in which licensed victuallers and beer-house keepers have conducted their licensed premises since last Brewater Sessions, and to report upon the cases of drunkenness, etc., for the year ending February 4, 1903.

The number of licensed houses in the City is as follows:— Fully-licensed, 165; beer-houses (on), 7; grocers, wines and beer (off), 23; total 185; giving a ratio of one house to 134.53 of the population, (according to the census of 1901.)

The number of houses that have been transferred is 53. Two have been transferred three times and 9 twice, as against 35 last year and 27 the previous year.

Eleven licensed persons have been proceeded against for breaches of the Licensing Acts, the offences being as follows:- Serving drunken persons, 4; keeping open during prohibited hours, 3; permitting betting, 1; permitting drunkenness, 2; drunk on his own licensed premises, 1; total 11. Six were convicted and 5 dismissed. Four of the licensees, who have been convicted and still hold the licenses, have been warned to appear personally for their renewals. The other two have left the premises.

Seventy-three males and 27 females have been proceeded against for drunkenness and disorderly conduct whilst drunk. Of these 91 were convicted and nine discharged. The total number proceeded against is 100, as against 67 last year; 70 in 1900; 38 in 1899; 49 in 1898; 61 in 1897; 69 in 1896; 66 in 1895; 96 in 1894; and 80 in 1893.

I have received from the Justices through their Clark a letter intimating that they propose that notices of objection should be given to all licensees in the Northgate Ward in order that they may enquire on the adjourned licensing day thoroughly into the licences now existing in that area. I, therefore, abstain from making any observations with reference to any of these houses. I append the letter referred to, to my report. I consider it, however, my duty to place on record that the number of licences existing in that and the other Wards is largely in excess of the requirements, and that a reduction of such licences would be alike beneficial to the owners, tenants, and the public. Having regard to the large amount of work which will be entailed upon the Bench in dealing with the whole of the Northgate Ward, I have thought it advisable to reduce the number of objections which I should otherwise have made to renewals in other parts of the City, but there are some licences in the Wards of Westgate and Dane John which it is impossible to allow the Magistrates to renew without bringing them specially to their notice.

I have given notice of objection to the following houses:-

"Farriers' Arms," King Street.— I object to this house on the grounds that part of the house and premises in the yard are used as a common lodging house; that the backyard is in a very insanitary condition; that the premises are not properly adapted for police supervision; that the licence is not required to meet the requirements of the neighbourhood.

"King's Arms," St. Peter's Street.— That the house is used as a common lodging house; that disorderly conduct has been permitted on the premises; that the sanitary arrangements are unsatisfactory; that the side doors in St. Peter’s drove are dangerous to persons leaving the premises; that the premises are not properly adapted for police supervision, and that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"City of London," Stour Street.— That this house is used as a common lodging house; that the premises are in an unsanitary and unsafe condition; that the premises are not properly adapted for police supervision, and that the licence is not required to meat the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Military Tavern," King Street.— That the house is used as a common lodging house; that the sanitary arrangements are inadequate and unsatisfactory; that the back door opens into a common yard; that the premises are not properly adapted for police supervision; and that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Woolpack Inn," North Lane:— That the house is not structurally adapted for the use of the public, and not in a fit and proper state of repair to be kept open as a public house; that the sanitary arrangements are very unsatisfactory and defective; and that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Tanners' Arms," Delasaux Square:— That the house is not structurally adapted for the use of the public, and not in a fit and proper state of repair to be kept open as a public house; that the occupier is not a fit and proper person, owing to age and infirmity, to conduct the licence; that the sanitary arrangements are very unsatisfactory; and that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Two Brewers," Stour Street:— That the house is not structurally adapted for the use of the public and not in a fit and proper state of repair to be kept open as a public house, and that the house is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Blue Anchor," Dover Street:— That the house is not structurally adapted for the use of the public and not in a fit and proper state of repair to be kept open as a public house; that the premises in the yard are sublet to three separate persons; that the premises are in an insanitary and unsafe condition; that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood. After this inn had been inspected by the police, and after the Magistrates had viewed, without any notice being given to the police, repairs were started about the second week in January to the back part of the premises. As far as I can ascertain the back part of the premises has been re-roofed, the roofing of the stabling has been taken down, and the props which supported the back part of the premises have been removed. I am informed that, notwithstanding this outlay, the owners have submitted plans to the Bench for the entire re-building of the premises.

"Maid of Kent," Blackfriars:— That the house is not structurally adapted for the use of the public and not in a fit and proper state of repair to be kept open as a public house; that part of the premises are in an unsafe condition; that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.

"Gun Inn," Westgate:— That the house has been conducted in an unsatisfactory manner; that the occupier is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence; and that the licence is not required to meet the necessities of the neighbourhood.

Since these notices of objection have been served, I have observed that at some of the houses repairs and alterations have been commenced. At the "Two Brewers" part of the back premises have been removed.

I again draw the attention of the Magistrates to the fact that several of these houses are used as common lodging houses, a practice which is most objectionable and one of the greatest evils that can possibly exist. The circumstances under which men, women, and children live, and are able to obtain intoxicating liquors at all times of the day and night, Sundays included, is most deplorable.

During the past few years a number of objectionable practices have arisen and alterations to licensed premises have been made, which greatly hamper the police in the proper performance of their duties.

The practices referred to are that some of the licensed holders sub-let part of their premises, and in some instances to two or three separate persons. In other cases the brewers themselves let part of the premises attached to the house to private persons, who afterwards sub-let. This enables persons to frequent licensed premises during prohibited hours, and the licensee has no control over the premises or the persons thereon. I mention this to show how difficult it is for proper police supervision to be carried on under the existing state of affairs.

The alterations I refer to and to which I object are alterations in increasing drinking facilities, the number of entrances, and erecting partitions whereby small rooms are created in front of the bars.

I find alterations which are very objectionable are constantly being made in licensed houses without my knowledge, and therefore without the knowledge or consent of the Bench.

These alterations in future will not be permitted unless plans are deposited and permission obtained from the Justices.

The question of back and side entrances is of great importance, and I venture to submit is worthy of careful and methodical inquiry by the trades. All back entrances ought to be permanently closed. They are used chiefly by sly drinkers who would not enter the main or front entrance, and are the cause of much drunkenness. Side doors, extra doors, and partitions in bars in many cases should not be allowed to exist. I am prepared, if required, to lay information before the Magistrates in respect to each house on these points.

A great number of the houses are mere cottages and in a very bad slate of repair. The rooms are very small and low pitched, and many of them are not fit for the purpose for which they are licensed. The sanitary arrangements in numerous cases are very bad, and in some instances positively disgraceful.

I also desire to point out that in order to attract customers a few of the licensed holders engage musicians to play in their houses. Sing-songs are carried on nightly, and sometimes on Sunday nights, to the annoyance of the persons residing in the neighbourhood, and complaints have been made on the subject. I have, however, no power to stop the nuisance complained of, except to bring the matter to your notice. I respectfully ask that plans be submitted of the following houses in the Northgate Ward "Jolly Gardener," Northgate Street; "Leopard’s Head," Military Road; "Princess Charlotte," Longport Street; "Royal Oak," Longport Street; "Two Bells," Military Road; "Union Castle," Union Street; "Black Lion," Northgate Street; "Victoria Hotel," Northgate Street; "New Inn," Havelock Street.

I am, gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,

John William Farmery,

Chief Constable.


The Chairman said the Chief Constable’s report might be considered fairly satisfactory, taking it as a whole. The Bench could not but regret that there were no less than ninety-one persons convicted during the past year of drunkenness. Nine cases were dismissed, making a total of 100 against 67 in the previous year. That was a considerable increase, nearly 50 per cent. under that period. Referring to that part of the report which dealt with common lodging houses, the Chairman said those lodging-houses in future would not be permitted to be licensed premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor. If the houses were continued as licensed premises the common lodgings would have to be done away with, or if it were desired that the houses should be carried on as common lodging-houses that could be done, but the premises would not be permitted to be used for the sale of intoxicating liquor. Last autumn a committee was appointed by the Magistrates to go into the question of licensed houses in the City and made a very exhaustive report, the members of the Committee visiting many of the houses personally. Excluding the grocers' licences, there was one licensed house to every 155 of the population—men, women, and children, in the Borough; and one public-house to every 31 residences. It was perfectly obvious that this number was altogether in excess of the requirements of the City. The whole of the members of the Bench received and adopted the report and agreed that it was necessary to effect a considerable reduction in the number of licences. They held a conference with the brewers, but they unfortunately took up a non possumus attitude and said their interests were so many that they could not offer to close any houses. The disappointment felt by the Magistrates was very great, and they could not see why each councils prevailed in Canterbury when they could be overcome elsewhere. The result was that the Justices were thrown back on their own statutory powers and, disagreeable as the task was, they could see no ground for shrinking from the performance of their duty. They had decided to deal with the City in areas. In that way it enabled the Bench to give more consideration to the question, and they were of opinion that a gradual working would be advantageous to the trade. They hoped that before 1904 the brewers would prepare some scheme for surrender. They would direct the Superintendent to serve notices of objection in the case of the whole of the fully licensed houses in the Northgate Ward — notices of objection to the licences being renewed. The magistrates would deal that day with the cases (not in the Northgate Ward) in which the Superintendent had, on his own initiative, served notices of objection. There were ten such cases, and they had the evidence of the City Surveyor that several of them were in a deplorable condition, some being declared unfit for human habitation. The consideration of the whole of the Northgate licensing would be postponed until the adjourned sessions on February 25.

The issue of the whole of the licenses in the Dane John and Westgate Ward, other than those to which opposition was offered, was thereupon directed.



The Magistrates retired for the purpose of considering the cases. On their return into Court the Chairman said the Magistrates had given a great deal of consideration to the cases having regard to the consequences of their decisions. In the case of the "City of London" the Justices had decided that it must stand over in order that plans could be submitted and approved for the alterations required by the police and the Surveyor. The plans would have to be submitted by the 21st inst., so that they might be considered before the adjourned Sessions to be held on the 25th, and an undertaking would have to be given that the plans would be carried out to the satisfaction of the police and the Surveyor. The same remarks would apply to the "King's Arm’s" and a written undertaking would have to be given agreeing to the withdrawal of the lodgers. With regard to the "Military Tavern" the licence would be refused on the ground of the insanitary condition of the premises and that the house was not required. As to the "Farriers' Arms" the state of the yard was very bad and the sanitary conditions wanted improving. Plans for the alterations would have to be sent in by the 21st inst. and they would be considered at the adjourned sessions. It must be understood that in each case if the licence were granted the common lodging-house business must not be continued in future. The Bench considered the "Woolpack" was in an insanitary state and not adapted for the use of a public-house. They did not consider the house was required, and, therefore, the licence would be refused. Similar remarks applied to the "Blue Anchor." The property had been allowed to drift into such a lamentable state of repair and it was not structurally adapted for public use. The Magistrates were not disposed to consider plans for the re-building of the house as they did not think there was any need for an addition to the houses in that street. Therefore the renewal of the licence would be refused. The licence of the "Tanners' Arms" would be refused in consequence of its not being structurally adapted for the use of a public-house, and having regard to the fact that the occupier was of such advanced years they considered he was not capable of holding a licence. The "Two Brewers" was not structurally adapted for the use of a public-house and was not in a proper state of repair. The house was not required, and the licence would therefore be refused. The "Maid of Kent" was in an insanitary state and the owners were not prepared to spend a considerable sum to make structural alterations. The house was not required and the license would be refused. The license of the "Gun" had been transferred.

The Sessions were then adjourned until February 25th.



The Wingham Brewster Sessions were held on Thursday, at the Court House, Wingham, before Mr. A. N. Wollaston, Lord Northbourne, the Earl of Guilford. Mr. P. W. Plumptre, Mr. I. F. Godfrey, Mr. J. H. Monins, Mr. J. D. Maxted, and Major Lewis.

The Clerk read the reports of the three Superintendents of the Police in charge of the division.

Superintendent Chaney reported that the licensed houses in his district had been well conducted, although there had been five prosecutions of licence holders—one for selling during prohibited hours, on Sunday, at the "Three Horseshoes," Little Mongeham, and the other cases were for offences under the Foods and Drugs Act, fines in each case being imposed. The number of ale-houses was 51, beer-houses 33, grocers' licences 8; total 92. From September, 1901, to September, 1902, 15 convictions were obtained for drunkenness, 12 being a non-residents and September to February 5th, one conviction, a non-resident.

Superintendent Holland reported that all the houses in his division were well conducted. There were 13 fully-licensed houses and 8 beer-house licenses. There was only one conviction for drunkenness between September, 1901 and September, 1902, and none between September, 1902, and the present date.

Superintendent Jacobs reported that the conduct of the houses in the Home Division was satisfactory with the following exceptions:- The off beer-houses with no sign at Adisham, of which the licence holder, John Newport, was summoned in January, 1902, for allowing liquor to be consumed near his premises on the highway, but the case was dismissed. The licence had since changed hands. Regarding the "Swan" at Wickhambreaux, a fine of 17s. 6d. imposed on the holder, W. T. Bradley, in April, for permitting drunkenness on his premises, had been endorsed on the license. The licence had since been transferred. There were 17 full licences and 8 beer-house licences. From September, 1901, to February, 1903, only five persons had been proceeded against for drunkenness. Superintendent Jacobs said he opposed the renewal of the off-licence of the unnamed house at Adisham to the present occupier, on whom notice of objection had been served.

The Chairman said that all the licences would be renewed except that of the off beer-house at Adisham, which would be dealt with.
This objection was heard at length, Mr. Rutley Mowll appearing for the tenant and the brewers, Messrs. Gardner and Co.

The objection was based on the grounds (1) that it was not required, (2) that the existence of it rendered the number if the district excessive, (3) that the premises were unsuitable, and inconvenient for police observation owing to the sale of liquor being made at the back door.

An undertaking was given for the sale of liquor to be made from the front only, and subject to the Bench being satisfied as to the arrangement in this respect being carried out, the licence was renewed.



At the Licensing Sessions for Dover Borough on Monday, the Temperance Party were strongly represented, and by memorial urged the Bench to exercise their powers for the reduction of licences. Three licences of public houses which are to be rebuilt were opposed by the Temperance Party, who were joined by the licensed victuallers in opposition to two applications, one of which was for the "Admiralty Pier buffet" for the convenience of cross-Channel passengers. The Justices renewed all old licenses, but declined to grant new ones. As regarded transfers of licences, the Bench decided that a period of nine months must elapse before any fresh transfer could be granted.



At the annual licensing Sessions for the Rochester Division held on Friday at the Police Court, Chatham, memorials on the subject of old and new licences were presented.

The Chairman said the petitions would be carefully considered. There were many licences in the town which the Bench could not refuse, except with certain conditions. The Magistrates did not propose to initiate a course for refusing any licences this year; but they were about to have a private consultation as to their future course of action, and, probably, they would decide to make reductions next year. The Bench passed a resolution to the effect that no application which was refused should be renewed within six months. They also decided to invite the brewers and owners of licensed houses in the district to confer with a Committee of the Justices with a view to effecting a reduction in the number of licensed houses in the division.

Superintendent Sargent objected to the renewal of a number of beer-house and ale-house licences, and, in one case, that of a house called the "Pelican" was refused.


Most of the licences in the Ramsgate County Division were on Tuesday renewed without comment. In one case the Bench admonished a licensee on account of the uncleanly condition of her premises. A renewal for a house at Saint Nicholas was granted on condition that a back-door was forthwith permanently closed. The brewers agreed to this condition. It was stated that in one parish within the division there was one licensed house to fifty-nine inhabitants.


The Maidstone Licensing Justices on Saturday renewed all existing licences, but the Mayor stated that the magistrates felt there were too many licensed houses in the town, and during the coming year consider what action should be taken at next sessions. There were four applications before the Bench, two to convert beer-houses into fully-licensed houses, one for a full licence, and one for an off-licence. All were refused.


The Chairman of Tunbridge Wells Sessions held on Monday, said the magistrates considered there were too many public-houses in certain areas. The Licensing Committee would inspect these overcrowded areas, and the brewers would be expected to carry out any suggestion as to a reduction of the number.


At the Dartford Brewster Sessions on Friday the Kent Public House Trust Company applied for a licence for a house called the "North Pole." The application, which was opposed by Mr. Clinch on behalf of the licensed victuallers and by Mr. J. B. Snell on behalf of the temperance organisation of the district, was refused.


From the Canterbury Journal and Farmers’ Gazette, Saturday, 21 February, 1903.



Thomas Joseph Robert Jacobs submitted the following report:—

I am Superintendent of Police for the Home Division of Kent, which includes the Parish of Whitstable Urban.

The population of the pariah, according to the Official Returns of the last census was 7086.

I consider that a fair number to add to this figure for sailors in ships using the harbour and for visitors would be (say) 1914, making a total of 9000.

There are in the parish of Whitstable Urban:—

33 Ale-houses.

8 Beer-houses.

5 Grocers' and Off Licences.

Total 46.

Being on a population of 9000 persons an average of one house for each 195 persons, or, excluding the grocers’ license, one house for every 244 persons. I include all the licences because as a rule the persons using the grocers and off licensed houses would not use the ale or beer-houses.

The inhabited houses according to the official returns of the last census number 1613, an average of 35 houses to each licensed house.

According to the same returns, the number of male adults (over 16 years of age) was 1,892, being an average of 41 male adults to each licensed house. Including 2,435 female adults, the average of adults of both sexes would be 94 to each licensed house. From this number must be deducted total abstainers and others who, from their social position, would not buy of the retail houses, but direct of wine merchants and brewers.

I consider that there are too many licensed houses in the town (or area of Whitstable Urban) and that a number of them are not needed for the public use. On an estimated population of 9,000 persons, there would be 2,430 adult males, viz, 53 for each licensed house, and 3,182 females or 121 of both sexes for each licensed house.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 07 March 1903.


At the adjourned Licensing Sessions for Sittingbourne, Milton, Sheerness, Queenborough, and the Isle of Sheppey, held at Sittingbourne on Monday, the Chairman (Mr. R. J. Tylden) announced that the magistrates had signed a memorial to Parliament, the object of which was to introduce legislation on the question of compensation, as, under the present circumstances, the magistrates were placed in a somewhat invidious position.

Mr. Clinch (Gravesend), on behalf of the brewers, welcomed the step that the Bench had decided to take.

Special cases reserved until these Sessions for consideration were then gone into. An application on behalf of Messrs. Rigden for permission to enlarge and improve the "Crooked Billet" at Eastchurch was disallowed. The renewal of the licences of the "Highlanders," Minster; the "Ordnance Arms," Queenborough; the "Angel," Rainham; the "Chalk Tavern," Milton; and "Rainham Mark" beerhouse were opposed by the police. The Bench refused the renewal of the licences of the "Highlanders," the "Ordnance Arms," and the "Rainham Mark," but granted renewals to the "Chalk Tavern" and the "Angel Inn."


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 21 March 1903.

ASHFORD. Death from Alcoholic Poisoning.

At the Police Court, Ashford, on Wednesday, Mr. R. M. Mercer (East Kent Coroner) held an enquiry touching the death of Thomas John Richards.

Jane Potts deposed that deceased was her cousin, and had been out to the front with the 3rd Battalion The Buffs. Two weeks after his return last summer he visited witness, and on several occasions since then she had seen him at Ashford. He could not get work, and she noticed that he got very shabby.

Ernest Masters, of Ashford, stated that on Monday he saw deceased leaning against a wall in the High Street. He swayed to and fro, and witness advised him to go home. Deceased said he lived in Marsh Street, and shortly afterwards fell into witness’s arms. The ambulance was sent for and Dr. Colville also came on the scene and attended him.

Dr. Colville, who made a post-mortem examination, attributed death to alcoholic poisoning, cerebral congestion, coma, and heart failure.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.