The Brewster Sessions were the "annual meetings of licensing justices to deal with the grant, renewal, and transfer of licences to sell intoxicating liquor".
The following report is based on newspaper coverage of the 1856 sessions.
On the bench:
Armitage began by complimenting the publicans that the number of convictions over the previous 12 months had only been 15, compared to 27 between August 1854 and August 1855. The figures for beerhouse keepers had also decreased — 29 convictions down from 64 the previous year. He also reported that the number of beerhouses had dropped by 29 since 1854.
The following were then cautioned for having been convicted of offences during the year:
A discussion regarding Joseph Longbottom (Bath Hotel, Lockwood) failed to come to a decision. The local constables felt that he had been harbouring prostitutes, but the bench admonished them for failing to bring a case before the magistrates. Superintendent Heaton felt that Longbottom was incapable of keeping an orderly house, so the bench decided to temporarily suspend the licence for a month pending any further complaints.
The bench noted that two licences were not being renewed:
Samuel Horsfall (Staff of Life, Moldgreen) successfully applied for a bagatelle (i.e. billiards) licence.
Only three applications were made for new licences:
|Samuel Pecker||Broad Ing, Austonley||Y|
|Samuel McMillan||Shorehead, Huddersfield||Saracen's Head (beerhouse)||N|
|John Hirst||Holmfirth||Druids' Hall||N|
The licence for Samuel Pecker was granted after favourable supporting evidence from C.S. Floyd, Superintendent Heaton and Police Constable Earnshaw, but the bench specified that Pecker had to provide stabling. Pecker had reportedly kept his beerhouse for 6 years, had spent around £260 refurbishing it, and had persuaded the local Lodge of Ancient Shepherds to hold their meetings there.
The bench felt that, although McMillan kept a fine beerhouse, there was "not sufficient trade to warrant a new license".
At the adjourned session, temporary licences were granted for the two which had not been renewed — John Cuttle (Peacock Inn, Holme) and George Crowther (Railway Hotel, Lockwood) — which the bench noted had "both been for some time shut up."
A temporary licence for the Bath Hotel (Lockwood) was granted to owner Abraham Marshall, who was warned to find himself a better landlord than Joseph Longbottom.
J.C. Holt (formerly of the White Horse Inn, Beast Market) applied for a licence transfer on the grounds that improvements in the area (i.e. the laying out of Lord Street) meant that White Horse was to be demolished. He was hoping to set up a new public house in a recently built property which had replaced the Grey Hound Inn on Market Walk. Objections were raised that Holt was not the occupier of the property and that the property was "but a mere shell", so unfit for the purpose. They adjourned their decision until December, at which time they suggested that Holt would be better off taking over the then vacant Rose and Crown Hotel on Kirkgate.
The following transfers of licence when then granted: