There was much discussion during the war as to whether pubs were compelled to open during permitted hours. Due to restricted supplies of beer, many publicans didn't bother opening all the hours they could. I can see their point: why bother to open if you've nothing to sell?
The situation seemed to be unclear. The Licensing Act didn't specifically say that pubs had to open their full hours. But many llicensing magistrates considered opening those hours as a condition of their licence. Plus temperance wanker magistrates could use pubs not opening their full gours as an argument to say that there wasn't enough demand to justify the licence. Brewers were naturally worried about losing tied houses this way.
Given his comments about "refreshments", I'm pretty sure that Alderman Harvey was a teetotal twat. There were a lot of them in poistions of power. Mostly, I think, because they wanted to ruin stuff for the normal drinking public. The bastards.
You'll need to read all the way through to find out where the pigeons came in.
"WATCH COMMITTEE DISCUSSIONS-
PUBLIC HOUSE HOURS:
At the Stoke-on-Trent Watch Committee Meeting yesterday afternoon, the need for uniformity in the opening and closing of public houses was urged; bus problems were discussed; and it was reported that the Safety First campaign was being resumed in view of the increase in the number of road accidents.
The varied opening and closing times adopted by licensees of hotels and public houses in Stoke-on-Trent since the shortage of beer became noticeable, was the subject of discussion at yesterday's meeting of the City Watch Committee, when it was decided to draw the attention of the Licensing Justices to the matter. Alderman J. H. Dale, who raised the subject, said that hotels and public houses were, within the licensing hours, opening and closing at various times. Some licensees were Setting rid very quickly of all the liquid refreshment they had to offer. He asked the Chief Constable if licences were not granted on the understanding that hotels and public houses remained open throughout licensed hours; and, further, whether the Watch Committee had any powers to recommend other hours.
The Chief Constable (Mr. F. L. Bunn) replied that there was nothing to prevent licensed houses remaining open day and night, so long as the sale of intoxicants was confined to the specified hours. There might not be any offence in a licensee not opening during licensed hours, but the practice was not complying with the conditions of their licence.
Alderman Dale said that some provision ought to be made for workmen who returned home late in the evening, and, when they went for a drink, found the public house was closed or that the beer had all been sold. If beer was short they were entitled to their share, like others whose hours of work were not so difficult; and he felt that the Licensed Victuallers' Association should consider all the circumstances and come forward with some proposal that would better regulate the hours of business, and make the position uniform throughout the City.
Alderman A. C. Harvey (Chairman) said another point should also be considered. There were complaints that people could not get ordinary refreshments in the evenings. If licensed houses were refreshment houses, as was claimed for them on occasions, they should be compelled to serve non-intoxicating drinks when required during hours when the sale of intoxicating liquor was barred.
Alderman J. Barker pointed out that sometimes it happened that a public house was flooded out by strangers. Then it might be that the licensee would decide there was no more beer. "You can't blame him, under the circumstances." commented Alderman Barker.
Mr. T. W. Flint said licensees were looking after customers who had gone to them for many years, and that was a normal matter of business.
The Chief Constable, amid laughter, remarked that it was said that colliers were going out into the country with pigeons in their pockets, and when they found a place with beer they released the pigeons and sent them off to tell their pals."
Staffordshire Sentinel - Friday 09 January 1942, page 1.
I suppose a pigeon in your pocket was the 1940s equivalent of having mobile phone with you. Though I guess a phone isn't likely to shit in your pocket.