Brewster Sessions of 1914

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 for the borough.

Huddersfield Borough Sessions

The session was held at the Borough Police Court on 4 February 1914 in front of J.A. Wrigley (chair), Sir William Raynor, W.P. Hellawell, A. Armitage, R.H. Inman, A. Gee, and W. Ramsden.

The Chief Constable's report noted that there were 155 licensed victuallers, 84 beerhouse keepers, and 71 off licences, making a total of 310 licensed premises. A total of 51 licences had been transferred during the year and there had been 192 convictions from drunkenness, which was well below the average for the population.

The magistrates granted licence renewals to all except the following which were left to be decided at the adjourned session:

  • Henry Kaye (George & Dragon Inn, Manchester Street) for having been "ill-conducted"
  • Edgar Jones (Farmer's Boy Inn, New Street) for being "structurally deficient and unsuitable" and redundant to local needs
  • Unicorn Inn, Castlegate, on the grounds of redundancy
  • Mr. D.W. Midgley (Brunswick Arms Inn, Victoria Street) on the grounds of redundancy

Mrs. Mary Ann Hanson, the landlady of the newly-built Kirkgate Inn which was owned by Seth Senior & Sons, applied for a licence to sell liquors. After some debate, it was decided to make the final decision at the adjourned session.

Legh Tolson, the owner of the Staff of Life at Moldgreen, applied to have the premises closed and the licence cancelled. The premises had already been earmarked for closure and compensation. Ultimately, the Staff of Life was closed on 23 May but the tenant, John Hall, had continued to sell alcohol after his licence expired on 5 April and this led to a fine of £4 7s.[1]

The following licence transfers were granted at the session:

premises from to
Albion Inn William Ainley Albert Henry Smith
Peacock Inn, Leeds Road Horace Easter Ben Kaye
Farmers' Boy Inn, New Street Charles Edward Clarkson Edgar Jones
Masons' Arms, Lowerhouses Robert Horner Walter Goldsborough
Cross Keys Inn, High Street Albert Henry Smith Joe Mosley

The adjourned session was held on 4 March with Alfred Armitage presiding.

The Chief Constable felt that the Brunswick Arms Inn (owned by John Smiths' Tadcaster Brewery Co.) was "the most ill-adapted" premises in the locality and that there were 20 inns and beerhouses within 220 yards. The magistrates decided to refer the licence to the Compensation Authority.

The Farmer's Boy (owned by Mr. J. Holmes of Harrogate) was considered next. At the main session, it was stated it was structurally deficient and redundant. The representative of the owner was keen to establish which of the two it was — if the renewal was refused for the former, no compensation could be claimed, whereas if the refusal was on the grounds of redundancy then compensation could be awarded.

The Chief Constable reported that the Farmer's Boy was a poor location, being down a passageway between New Street and Victoria Lane. Of the 22 fully-licensed premises within 220 yards, all but one (the previously mentioned Brunswick Arms Inn) was better adapted. As J. Holmes was amendable to the premises being closed for compensation, the bench decided the case should be adjourned for a further month.

The landlord of the George & Dragon beerhouse had been fined £2 and costs in June 1913 for "having sold intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours". The magistrates renewed the licence but "expressed the hope that the landlord would take warning".

The licence of the Unicorn Inn was renewed after the magistrates decided not to refer it to the Compensation Authority.

Mary Ann Hanson's application for the Kirkgate Inn was withdrawn after the Commissioners of Custom and Excise valued the licence at £2,500 whilst Mrs. Hanson was only willing to pay £500.

The bench next approved plans for alterations to the British Oak at Lockwood.

Finally, a temporary licence for "boxing, wrestling, and physical culture" was granted to Henry Mannion of 46 Northumberland Street for a room in Greenwood's Yard, Victoria Lane, on the proviso that the staircase to the room be widened to make it safer.

Upper Agbrigg Division Sessions

The session was held at the Borough Police Court on 10 February 1914 in front of William Wrigley, W. Dale Shaw, J.A. Wrigley, G.P. Armitage, William Crowther, A. Gee, T.J. Dyson, Thomas Brooke, N. Baxter, J. Whiteley, W. Lockwood, S. Firth, W. Schofield, J.H. Ellam, and J.R Mawdesley.

Superintendent Hustler's report noted that there were 221 licences in place, which included 146 licensed victuallers and 54 beerhouse keepers. During the year, a total of 27 licences had been transferred.

John Edward Balmforth of the White Swan beerhouse, Kirkburton, applied to have the full innkeeper licence of Harry Goddard (Ramsden Hotel, Cartworth) transferred to the White Swan, "where it was felt that it would be a greater convenience to the public". The White Swan had been rebuilt in 1900 and was "suitable in every way for a full-licensed house". The magistrates granted the application.

With the exception of the following, all of the existing licences were renewed:

  • Water Morton (Bay Horse Inn, Dean Head, Scammonden)
  • George Waddington (Sycamore Inn beerhouse, Lower Cumberworth)
  • John Henry Coldwell (Bay Horse Inn beerhouse, Town Gate, Wooldale)
  • John Lewis Tinker (British Oak beerhouse, Shepley Road, Fulstone)

The magistrates stated that the Travellers' Rest at Marsden had to be "re-constructed or re-modelled" before the Brewster Sessions of 1915 or else "the licence would be in jeopardy".

The following temporary transfers were granted at the session:

premises from to
Foresters Inn, Honley Edward Dyson Allen Chambers
Duke of Leeds Hotel, New Mill Albert Dyson Edwin Powell
Railway Hotel, Meltham Edwin Stead (deceased) Harry Mellor

The adjourned session was held on 10 March with William Wrigley presiding.

Wholesale beer dealer Thomas Edward Dickinson of Farnley Tyas applied for a licence to sell beer for consumption off the premises. Being a wholesaler, he could not sell in quantities less than six dozen bottles. Dickenson wished to be able to sell in quantities of two dozen bottles or more. After deliberating, the magistrates granted the application.

The Bay Horse Inn beerhouse at Wooldale was a pre-1869 beerhouse with a stone marked 1691. Superintendent Hustler reported that the rooms in the premises were small and "ill-adapted for the purposes of a public-house". Although well-situated in the centre of the village, most drinkers preferred the fully-licensed nearby inn and a previous tenant had reportedly said "there was not a living to be made out of the house".

The fully-licensed Bay Horse Inn at Scammonden was felt to be surplus to requirements and poorly situated. It had no drinking water supply and water rain running off the high road behind (which led to the parish church) left the premises damp. The Brown Cow Inn, also owned by John Ainley & Sons Ltd., was situated 493 yards away on the Saddleworth Road and better suited. It was reported that the the adult population within half a mile was just 36 people, meaning just one licensed premises was more than adequate for the area.

It was also felt that the Sycamore Inn beerhouse at Lower Cumberworth was also surplus to requirements as "there was a better adapted house at Lower Cumberworth".

The British Oak beerhouse at New Mill was owned by Seth Senior & Sons and on Shepley Road. It was felt the rooms were small and ill-adapted, and other nearby public houses offered much better accommodation. The bulk of the trade was at weekends and the tenant "eked out a living by working as a coal miner".

In all of the four cases, the magistrates decided to grant temporary renewals whilst also referring the licencees to the local Compensation Authorities. In turn, the West Yorkshire Compensation Authority referred all four at their meeting held on 28 May 1914.[2]


  • "Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (04/Feb/1914)
  • "Upper Agbrigg Division" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (10/Feb/1914)
  • "Adjourned Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (04/Mar/1914)
  • "County Licences" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (10/Mar/1914)

Notes and References

  1. "Refused to Pay: Former Publican Summoned for License Duty" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (29/Jul/1914).
  2. "Weeding Out Public Houses" in Leeds Mercury (29/May/1914).