Friday, 13 December 2013

Pubs in Newark

Weird the places you can find important pieces of information.

On the face of it, the article is pretty dull. It's simply a report of licensing applications. But buried in it is a nugget of information. See if you can spot it.

What's really surprising is that Mr. Marsland - one of the top men at Holes - was there in person to apply for an off-sales licence for the brewery. That he should turn up is a sign that Holes were pretty keen on the licence being granted. Remember this is a man who just a few years earlier had been mayor of Newark.

A brewing licence only gave you the right to wholesale beer, not to sell it retail. What decided whether a sale was wholesale or retail?  The quantity sold. The minimum quantities were a 4.5 gallon cask (a pin) or two dozen reputed quart bottles (which comes to four gallons).

THIS DAY.—(Before Mr. Crossley, Aid. Quibell, Mr. E. H. Nicholson, Mr. W. E. Knight, and Mr. Parnham.)

Licensing applications.—Walter King, landlord of the Horse and Jockey Inn, Balderton-gate, applied for licence beer in a tent field on the London-road occasion of the visit of Wombwell's menagerie. Mr. W. H. Norledge, solicitor, appeared for the applicant, and stated that the exhibition employed 100 men, for whose refreshment and that of the general public, and the country people who attended the exhibition, the licence was required. After the full facts had been heard and considered the Bench refused the application.—Mr. Marsland, director of Messrs. James Hole and Co.. applied personally for a retail licence for the Castle Brewery to sell beer in quantities of less than 4.5 gallons in casks and bottles of less than two dozen reputed quarts. Mr. Norledge, on behalf of the licensed victuallers of the town, opposed the application. Mr. Marsland, addressing the Bench, said his firm had continuous applications from customers for smaller quantities of bottled beer than they were at present able to supply, and it was entirely on the grounds of convenience to their customers of the firm that he made that application. If it thought necessary he would give an undertaking not to sell retail by jug, &c, in the ordinary acceptance of the term. He could not understand the opposition of the licensed victuallers, and did not see how the matter could affect their trade. Mr. Norledge argued that there was every convenience for the public to obtain Messrs. Hole and Co.'s beers from their agents in the town, and the keenness of competition arising from the large number of licensed houses there were the town did not warrant the granting of this application. Mr. W. A. Smith made a similar application on behalf of Messrs. Harvey and Co., wine and spirit merchants, Kirk-gate, Newark, and Mr. Colton a similar one for Messrs. Goodwin Brothers, Limited, brewers. Both applications were opposed by Mr. Norledge. In the latter case the notices were not valid, and the application was withdrawn. The magistrates, after giving a full hearing, retired to consider the applications, and on their return to court Mr. Crosley said they had decided not to grant the applications. There were already 153 public-houses in the town, and the licensed victuallers, ought not be brought into competition with the wholesale firms. The case that extra facilities were required for the convenience of the public had not been made out."
Nottingham Evening Post - Monday 30 September 1895, page 3.
Spot the piece of information? That's right, the number of pubs in Newark: 153. One hundred and fifty three. I had no idea that there had ever been so many pubs in Newark. A few years later, at the 1901 census, the population of Newark was 15,000. That's a pub for every 98 inhabitants. For once I think I agree with a licensing magistrate: there were already more than enough licences in the town.

Though I will point out that the pub to population ratio isn't quite as ridiculous as it seems. Newark is a market town which drew in (and still draws in) people from a wide radius. On market days the population would have been considerably boosted.

I can remember that, in the bad old says of afternoon closing, the pubs stayed open longer on Wednesday (market day) lunchtime.

Talking of finding stuff in odd places, I've also discovered the number of tied houses Holes operated in the 1880's and 1890's. That was in an account of a libel trial.


Jeremy drew said...


Am I reading this right?

The minimum wholesale quantity was 2 dozen reputed quart bottles, similar to the amount in a pin.

Ron Pattinson said...


yes, that's right. 2 dozen reputed quart bottles is 4 gallons.