Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Public House Hours

Much as in WW I, a patchwork of local restrictions on pub opening hours emerged during WW II.

Though in the latest conflict, these restrictions had no basis in law, but were informal arrangements agreed to by the interested parties. That is, the breweries owing the pubs and the publicans.

This is how it went in Hull.

IN this column on August 26 we suggested that a general agreement for the opening of public-houses for two hours at lunch time, with a final closing at 9.30, should meet the needs of all reasonable people. Later came advice from certain brewery companies that houses in the centre of the city should close at 9 o'clock, leaving licensees in the suburbs to please themselves up to 10 o'clock. Yesterday all the breweries with interests in the city issued a combined instruction that every house within the city boundary shall close at 9.30. Those in the centre may close at 9.0 if the licensee or manager so decides.

It is sensible and commendable decision, for it places all tenants and customers on the same footing. Previously centre city houses had to close at 9.0. Now they may. All, whether in the city or suburbs, must close at 9.30. The order comes into force on Monday, and lasts the end of March next. It is a voluntary giving up of certain rights in the interest of the trade and population alike, and will, we think, meet with the approval of those who frequent licensed premises and those who do not. Admittedly it is something in the nature of a curfew, but it will not be enforced by armed bands as is the case in Oslo, and now Paris."
Hull Daily Mail - Friday 19 September 1941, page 4.
The pre-war closing time in Hull had probably been 1030 PM. In earlier posts I've written about how pubs in city centres - especially those, like Hull, where there was a high likelihood of bombing - closed earlier than usual. But mostly suburban ones seem to have been left alone. In Hull, all pubs had the same restrictions imposed. Which does seem fairer.

Though a few days later a disgruntled drinker made a rather valid point about clubs.

Sir, —I observe that the brewers and bottlers at a meeting had ordered that licensed houses within the city boundary shall close at 9.30 p.m. They further empowered a certain class of licensee to close at 9 p.m. No mention, I notice, is made as clubs.

May I ask whether this order means that licensees are instructed to turn everyone (whether alcoholic drinkers or otherwise) off their premises when the hour of 9.30 p.m. arrives?
Hull Daily Mail - Tuesday 23 September 1941, page 6.

Did the restricions apply to clubs? I've no idea.

The reference to the curfew in the first piece was explained by another article on the same page. It relates how the Germans had introduced a 9 PM curfew in Paris diue to attacks on German soldiers. Anyone caught breaking the curfew would be taken hostage. Leaving them likely to be shot in retaliation for further attacks on Germans

Makes you realise things in the UK weren't that bad.

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