Brewster Sessions of 1877

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 Huddersfield Borough sessions held on 22 August and 26 September 1877.

The separate Upper Agbrigg sessions (for districts not incorporated into the Borough) were held on 28 August and 25 September.

Huddersfield Borough Brewster Sessions

On the bench (22/Aug/1877):

  • C.H. Jones (chair), Wright Mellor, J.F. Brigg, W.R. Haigh, R. Skilbeck, D. Sykes, J. Day, A. Crowther, and J.W. Taylor

The session began by the reading of the report of the Chief Constable, Henry Hilton, which stated that there were 160 inns, 117 beerhouses, 38 beer retailers, 4 refreshment rooms and 11 premises licensed for wines, making a total of 330 licensed premises or 1 to every 212 persons (based on the 1871 Census).

20 innkeepers and 15 beerhouse keepers had been convicted during the year, the majority of which were for permitting drunkenness and for being open during prohibited hours. Whilst the total was up on the previous year, it was felt this was due to an increase in police patrols. Of the 635 prosecutions from drunkenness, 208 were against non-residents of the borough.

A statement made by the Watch Committee was then read:

That in the opinion of this committee and having regard to the peace and good order of the borough, no increase in the number of licensed houses in the borough or extension of the character of the licence to any already in either necessary of desirable.

Although well-meaning, the statement was strongly objected to by Mr. J. Sykes who cited a case where the magistrates of Walsall had received a similar statement and had then decided not to grant any licenses that year. He argued that by accepting it, the bench would be seen to have been unduly influenced.[1]

A total of 14 applications for new licences were submitted, with that of Thomas Hirst Smith being held over to the adjourned session:

applicant abode premises licence granted?
Ben Brookbank Waingate, Berry Brow Butchers' Arms innkeeper N
Rachel Harrison Broad Lane, Moldgreen Brook's Arms innkeeper N
Sam Broadbent Greenside, Dalton innkeeper N
Mary Eastwood Colne Road, Huddersfield spirit N
Ben Holroyd Fenay Bridge Swan Inn innkeeper N
Alice Challand Birkby spirit N
Charles Senior Crosland Moor Sands spirit N
George Hinchcliffe Birkby off licence (beer & wine) Y
Jesse Medley Kilner Bank off licence (beer) Y
Thomas Hirst Smith Chapel Hill off licence (beer) A
James Eccles Paddock off licence (spirits) Y
Joseph Taylor Meltham Road, Lockwood off licence (wine) N
Charles Earnshaw Berry Brow off licence (wine) N
Tom Dawson Deighton music Y

The Butchers' Arms beerhouse had been run by Ben Brookbank for 34 years without complaint. The primary objection was that the 456 ratepayers in Berry Brow were already well-served by licensed premises, including the Black Bull Hotel which was situated on the opposite side of Parkgate to the Butchers' Arms.

The Brook's Arms beerhouse in Moldgreen had been kept by Rachel Harrison for 10 years and was built in 1863 on the estate of Richard Brook. Prior to that, she had kept the Foresters' Arms on Wakefield Road. The landlords of the property was the brewery Shaw & Sykes and the application was supported by both local inhabitants and the landlord of the nearby Junction Inn. It was also noted that of the 300 or so properties built by Brook on his estate, this was the only one which did not have a clause in the covenant stopping it from being a beerhouse or public house.

Sam Broadbent's application noted that the beerhouse had been kept by his family for the previous 42 years (33 years by his father) and there had only been one complaint, but that had not led to a conviction. The beerhouse was located "upon the junction of four roads" and was near to "Mr. Wilson's large mill", with the next nearest premises being the Stag Inn and then the Waterloo Inn. The premises had stabling for six houses and was set back from the road, allowing carts to stand should people "from the different localities and from the coal pit" require refreshments.

Mary Eastwood's beerhouse was situated "in the centre of a hive of industry" between Chapel Hill and the Colne bridge, and included a large lodge room where the Valley Lodge held there meetings and where Mrs. Eastwood "provided dinners for the workmen of the district." It was stated she had spent around £2,000 on the premises and was willing to accept a wine licence if the bench decided against a spirit licence. Arguing against the application, Mr. Alfred Sykes noted that the Royal Hotel was within 80 yards, the Zetland within 150 yards, and the Primrose Hotel within 500 yards.

G.W. Morrison spoke on behalf of Ben Holroyd's application and began by stating that the Swan Inn "was a respectably old English hostelry" upon which the owner, Mr. Sutcliffe, had spent £1,800. The lodge room could hold 80 people and had even been used for "cabbage and gooseberry shows". The inn's stables could accommodate 24 horses and it was on the "Huddersfield to Kirkburton, Penistone and London" road (between the Star Inn and the Waterloo Inn). The primary objection was that eight licensed houses could be found within a mile of the Swan Inn, namely the Star Inn, Waterloo Inn, Three Crowns, White Lion, Red Lion, Sun Inn, White Horse and Tandem Inn.

Alice Challand's beerhouse at Birkby was owned by the "respectable publican" Joseph Berry of New Street, Huddersfield, and was situated "on the highway from Marsh to Fartown". It contained "a commercial room, a cosy taproom, kitchen, bar, and smoke room, which had a beautiful carpet." The fact that the beerhouse had "a beautiful oak harmonium" led to it being a meeting place for local choirs. The nearest licensed premises were the Spink Nest, Lamb Inn and Black Bull, but it was argued the population in the district had seen a sizeable growth. The application was supported by the Rev. T.W. Ward of the nearby Baptist Chapel.

Charles Senior's application for the Sands beerhouse noted that it was in close proximity to the rifle range on Crosland Moor and the granting of a spirits licence "would be a very great boon to the member of the rifle corps". A supportive memorial signed by the colonel and officers of the rifle battalion was presented. The objection by Mr. Alfred Sykes was that "the house was not one of good repute" and was known locally as "The Dangerous Corner". Sykes noted that a man named Beaumont had eventually died after being kicked in the head whilst on the premises and that the previous landlord had been involved in an incident where gunpowder was sprinkled on an old man's head and ignited.[2] Since the opening of the new Manchester Road to Marsden, traffic on the old road had decreased and Sykes argued that the needs of locality were met by the more respectable Rising Sun on Crosland Hill.

One final application was for the transferal of the licence held by Mary Lawton. She had kept a beerhouse known as the Dusty Miller at Rashcliffe but this had been knocked down by Huddersfield Corporation during street improvements in the area. Lawton wanted to have the licence transferred to her new home on Bentley Street, Lockwood. However, this was opposed by inhabitants of Fenton Street and it was noted that there were already ten licensed premises within an area of 100 yards of Mrs. Lawton's house.

At the adjourned session, chaired by C.H. Jones, several more licence application were heard:

applicant abode premises licence granted?
Joe Sykes Beast Market grocer & baker off licence (beer) N
George Edwin Elliott 97 Bradford Road off licence (beer) Y
Alfred Milner Swift 29 Zetland Street grocer off licence (beer) N
Edwin Bray Leeds Road Spinners' Arms wine N

George Edwin Elliott had previously been the head gardener for Mr. W. Blakeley of Woodhouse for 13 years. Although an shoemaker's shop situated opposite had a licence to sell beer, it was argued that Elliott was a much more respectable person. On a technicality, Mr. Armitage argued that Elliott had not affixed his notice of application to his front door, but to a notice board in his porch.

Alfred Milner Swift noted that he had been convicted at Dewsbury of "two assaults, desertion of family, and wilful damage" but pleaded that this was "only a family affair" and did not impact on his fitness to be a licencee.

John Sykes had resided at the Spinners' Arms for 25 years.

Applications for renewals of music and dancing licences were submitted by the following:

The magistrates then heard an application for a "continuance of a licence" for the Harmonium Gardens beerhouse at Lindley on behalf on its owner, Mr. Duxbury. The premises had "remained unoccupied for some time" but Duxbury wished to open it again with a new tenant. The magistrates felt that it would be highly unusually to allow this, but the clerk of the court was of the opinion "that the licence remained unaffected". After deliberating, the bench agreed to the application.

The application by Thomas Hirst Smith held over from the first session was also granted.

Upper Agbrigg Brewster Sessions

On the bench (28/Aug/1877):

  • George Amitage (chair), S.W. Haigh, C. Stephenson, J.T. Taylor, Henry Brooke, J.A. Armitage, J.T. Armitage, John Beaumont, William Sykes, William Brooke, and T. Jessop

Police Superintendent Joseph Sykes reported that the township of Skelmanthorpe (with 2 beerhouses) had been transferred to Barnsley in September 1876 and that Cumberworth (4 beerhouses) had been transferred from Barnsley at the same time. During the past year, the Rising Sun Inn at Marsden had been closed, reducing the total number of licensed victuallers in the division to 156. Of those, 16 had been summoned for offences which totalled £16 15s in fines. In total, there were also 91 beersellers and 12 shopkeepers who were licensed to sell beers or spirits.

The names of those who had been fined during the year were then read out and their licence renewals suspended until the adjourned session:

  • Elizabeth Crossley (Cart & Horses, Cartworth) for permitting drunkenness
  • George Lindley (Junction Inn, Cartworth) for allowing gambling
  • Mary Lee (Wellington Inn, Upperthong) for allowing gambling
  • Thomas Whitworth (Boot & Shoe, Fulstone) for allowing gambling
  • William Mitchell (British Oak beerhouse, Fulstone) for allowing gambling
  • Allen Hoyle (Hark to Bounty beerhouse, Golcar) for allowing gambling
  • Eli Gee (Travellers Rest beerhouse, Longwood) for allowing gambling

Six new licence applications were submitted, all of which were refused:

applicant abode premises licence granted?
Robert Firth Swallow Lane, Golcar Commercial Inn[3] innkeeper N
Henry Wood Wakefield Road Side, Lepton Grove Inn innkeeper N
John Dyson Blackmoorfoot, Linthwaite Bull's Head innkeeper N
Benjamin Whitehead (or Whiteley) Hoyle House, Linthwaite Commercial Inn[3] innkeeper N
James Battye Boshaw, Holmfirth Bay Horse innkeeper N
Mary Shaw Whitwam Crimble, Golcar grocery off licence (beer) N

Robert Firth's beerhouse on Swallow Lane, Golcar, had stabling for four houses and was used as the meeting place of the local Ancient Order of the Golden Fleece (104 members). Firth had kept the house for nine years without complaint.

The Grove Inn was situated on Wakefield Road "on the top of a hill of a hill on the high road leading to and from Barnsley, Lepton, Flockton, &c." and had stabling for twelve horses. The application was opposed by the landlords of the Tandem Inn, Star Inn and Sun Inn on the grounds of their already being sufficient licensed premises for an area which had seen a drop in population.

The Bull's Head at Blackmoorfoot, kept by John Dyson since May 1874, had seen an increase in visitors since the completion of Blackmoorfoot Reservoir and had stabling for ten horses. The application was opposed by the landlord of the nearby Travellers Inn (who had recently spent £2,000 on the premises) and also by several local councillors.

The application for the Bay Horse, Boshaw, was technically a transferal. Brewer Reuben Senior (of [[Seth Senior and Sons, Limited|Seth Senior & Sons) proposed to close the Rose and Crown Inn at Netherthong (where there were two other fully licensed premises nearby) and wished the license transferred to the Bay Horse, where "there as no other public house for a mill distant". A similar case in which a licence was transferred to the Bath Hotel at Lockwood was cited as a precedent.

The beerhouse at Linthwaite run by Benjamin Whitehead (also named as Whiteley by the Huddersfield Chronicle) was owned by a brewer named Stocks who intended it to be named the "Commercial Inn". It was reportedly situated within 100 yards of the Coach & Horses Inn at Linthwaite.

At the adjourned session, the previously suspended licences were renewed.

An application was then heard for a provisional licence for a planned beerhouse at Cartworth, "near the Batley Waterworks". An existing beerhouse was to be pulled down and replaced with a new one about 100 yards away which "would be six times more commodious". However, as the applicant had not submitted a notice in advance, the chairman said they could not hear the application and that "the [new] house would be erected at the owner's risk."


  • "Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Aug/1877)
  • "Upper Agbrigg Licensing Sessions" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (29/Aug/1877)
  • "Adjourned Licence Meeting" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (26/Sep/1877).
  • "Huddersfield Adjourned Licensing Meeting" in Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Sep/1877)

Notes and References

  1. From the report in the Huddersfield Chronicle it seems an agreement was not reached, other than by noting that the Walsall magistrates had decided not to hear the licence applications that year.
  2. "Brutal Outrage at Crosland Moor: Setting an Old Man's Head on Fire" in Huddersfield Chronicle (01/Feb/1873).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Proposed name.