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 sessions held on 23 August and 25 September 1860.
On the bench:
Brooke began by paying tribute to magistrate Joseph Armitage of Birkby Lodge who had been buried that morning. The Chronicle reported that the chairman's "feelings so far overcame him, that he could proceed no further" with his tribute.
The names of the publicans who had received convictions during the previous 12 months were then read out:
In the case of John Lodge (Rose and Crown, Cartworth), Lodge stood up and impertinently said, "I don't care if [my licence] is suspended — you may as well suspend it now!" The chairman responded, "Then it is suspended till the adjourned sessions [...] You are very insolent — a man in your situation ought to know better."
A total of ten applications for new licences had been submitted, although that of Robert Schofield was rejected as he failed to attend the session.
|Richard Palmer||Red House Junction, Dalton||Y|
|Thomas Sykes||Crimble, Golcar||Y|
|Thomas Fearl||Crosland Moor Bottom, Lockwood||Railway Inn||Y|
|Joseph Shaw||Lindley||The Oaks||N|
|Jabez Moore||Owen Lane End, Lindley||Y|
|James Shaw||Cop Hill, Slaithwaite||Rose and Crown||N|
|Joseph Berry||Lockwood's Yard, New Street, Huddersfield||Farmer's Boy||N|
|Samuel McMillan||Shore, Huddersfield||Saracen's Head||N|
|William Ward||Market Street, Paddock||N|
Richard Palmer had applied on four previous occasions for a full licence for his beerhouse and much evidence was given to support the volume of trade he handled — six omnibuses stopped there daily and ten private mail bags were lodged with him. What was reported as "the most numerously signed memorial ever presented" was then handed to the magistrates to support Palmer's application.
Thomas Sykes' application noted that he had occupied the beerhouse for nine years without complaint and Superintendent Heaton gave "supporting testimony to the respectability of the applicant".
It as noted that the Railway Inn had previously held a full licence until the owner, Mrs. Ashworth, neglected to renew it at the 1856 session. It had been built circa 1843 as public house and was reportedly on the site of a much older inn.
Jabez Moore's was noted as his fifth application for a full licence and had been kept as a beerhouse for seven years without complaint. Magistrate George Armitage had inspected the premises and "was satisfied with its capabilities" whilst Inspector Heaton "bore testimony to the conduct of the house".
The proximity of the Farmer's Boy beerhouse to the market was seen as an advantage, although when W. Willians questioned if the yard was wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass, T.P. Crosland wryly noted only if they were the size of wheelbarrows.
At the adjourned session, Samuel Norcliffe (Waggon and Horses Inn, Honley) attended to apologise that his son had neglected to attend the session or to make an application for renewal on behalf of his parents in their absence. His explanation was accepted and the licence renewed.
The application relating to the Shepherds Arms Inn, Cowcliffe, was heard next. Benjamin Hinchliffe had been sentence to York Castle for non-payment of debts and the premises had been mostly stripped of furniture. His wife was attempting to run the inn but the owners, brewery Bentley & Shaw Ltd., had served notice for her to quit. After deliberating, the bench decided that Mrs. Hinchcliffe was no longer the legal tenant of the property and it was transferred to Alfred Lee, whom the brewery wished to be the next tenant.
Given John Lodge's outburst at the first session, he perhaps wisely sent his wife to apologise on his behalf and plead their case for a licence renewal. She claimed her husband was away in Harrogate, or would have attended in person to apologise himself. Although the chairman questioned the sincerity of the apology, the bench agreed to the renewal.
Regarding the Fleece Inn, Meltham, a petition "signed by a number of the respectable inhabitants" was submitted in favour of the renewal. However, Superintendent Heaton asked the bench to take into account evidence from Police Constables Kinson and Ellis Walker that the owner of the premises, Richard Newell, had repeatedly threatened violence against the police, with phrases such as "I should like to knock thy brains out, and I shall do yet!" Despite Newell's claims that the officers' statements were "greatly exaggerated", the magistrates decided not to renew the licence.
Jonathan Poppleton (Clothiers Arms Inn, Kirkgate) renewal application was then heard. It was stated that the property belonged to Mrs. Eliza Clough and was her principal source of income. Poppleton had been convicted twice during the year of harbouring prostitutes and the chairman felt strongly that the renewal should be refused. However, he felt it was up to his fellow magistrates to make the decisions and, after deliberating, the consensus was to allow the renewal.