Friday, 26 February 2021

Dry neighbourhoods

Doing a customary very general sweep through the newspaper archives, I found in my dustpan this little gem:

"The Clayton Side
Mr. R Holden said some who had signed the petition against the public house resided in Seabridge-road and Myott-avenue, and they had a public house within a hundreds of their residence. There was a "fair number on the Clayton side who ought to have a say in the matter. As regarded shops, he thought that to-day many would vote in favour of them. The amendment was lost, seven voting in favour of it and 25 against."
Staffordshire Sentinel - Thursday 07 December 1944, page 1.

I was immediately intrigued by this short fragment. Where the hell was this? Why was there a petition against a pub?

The lucky residents of Seabridge Road and Myott Avenue didn't just have one pub within 100 yards, they had two. At least. There might have been more in 1944. Come to think of it, isn't this an odd topic to be wasting time on, knee-deep in WW II?

I'll spare you the whole article. It's pretty confusing and not very informative, despite being overly long. Cut short, residents of Westlands Estate, a posh-looking bit of Newcastle-under-Lyme complained to the council when someone wanted to build a pub. Pointing out they'd had a referendum - not sure exactly when, but at least 10 years previously - about whether to have shops or pubs. And voted against both. Not sure what law that could have been under. I though local vetoes were only allowed in Scotland.

Looking at a map, there still don't seem to be any pubs in what's quite a large area. It must be a real pain in the arse, if you live there. Though, if you voluntarily live there, you couldn't possibly care if there was a pub nearby. Is there still a ban on pubs in Westlands? Let me know if you have the answer.

I'm now wondering: How many other places in England were businesses banned? And when, if ever, did the practice end? No shops and no pubs - that's effectively dry. Or even just pubs not allowed, that's bad enough. I know it happened in Scotland. I think in Wales, too, but I'm not sure. (Someone better informed, please fill me in.)

Covenants on land sold for development forbidding pubs, I know that occurred. A big chunk of Leeds 6 originally was pub-less for that very reason. But I think as long ago as the 1930s that particular one had been dropped.

Let me know if you have any current or past examples. Not just restricted to England, or even the UK. 

A lot of questions and not many answers. Which is usually a sign that I'm standing on a precipice. About to dive off.


Chris Pickles said...

Darlington had what we called the 'Quaker Mile' which was actually a bit of an understatement. If you left the town going west there wasn't a pub until you got to the Baydale Beck at Low Coniscliffe, about two miles out of town. Supposedly this was due to the influence of the Quakers who owned a lot of land in the area.

And of course there is Saltaire near Bradford, Sir Titus Salt's model village. He allowed no pubs, thought now there are some, and even a brewery.

John-Mightycat said...

The good people of Letchworth Garden City voted to be publess in the early days of the New Town. There's a few pubs now.

John said...

Bit of a hearsay comment, but when I was a smelly student at Hatfield Poly in the late 80's, the story was that neighbouring Welwyn Garden City had no pubs in the centre because the freehold to the land was owned by a religious group that were tee total. Quakers, IIRC.

We mainly got pissed in St Albans so I have no idea if that was actually true. Beer was mostly dreadful everywhere as I recall, often forcing us to drop back to bottles Newkie Brown. Fighting cocks was OK, but a bit posh.

Phil said...

My wife used to live in the middle of Whalley Range (Manchester). The local story was that the land had been owned by Methodists (or possibly Quakers), who presumably had sold it under some sort of covenant. For whatever reasons, there were no pubs within walking distance and very little else apart from houses - I remember one cornershop and one rather basic Chinese chippy. (We tried their Chinese menu once. Just the once.) On Sundays she used to walk as far as the next suburb along, just to see some shops (although they weren't open, of course). Ah, the England we used to know...

Ron Pattinson said...

Odd that Quakers are coming up so often as a reason for no pubs. As both Mr. Barclay and Mr. Perkins were Quakers.

Tandleman said...

"Odd that Quakers are coming up so often as a reason for no pubs. As both Mr. Barclay and Mr. Perkins were Quakers."

Clearly not very good ones!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is stating the obvious, but the United States has many dry counties, and where alcohol can be sold it is often subject to special restrictions. In some places, if you forget and try to buy beer with your groceries before 11 a.m. (or whatever) you feel like an idiot. And you have to be very careful not to plan a vacation in a dry county.

Along those lines, when I was a child my family vacationed once in Mississippi. My parents went to a wine store on a Sunday. The proprietor gladly rang them up, but when they tried to buy a cheap corkscrew, he wouldn't sell it to them.

"Why not?"

"It's Sunday."

"But you're open for business. You're selling us wine."

"Yes, but if I sell you a corkscrew, you might open the wine and drink it."

The upshot was that he would sell my parents the wine or the corkscrew, but not both. I think they had to go to another store for the corkscrew.

qq said...

The main student area in Leicester is another that was originally publess, allegedly due to Quakers being involvement in the original development.

I suspect what happened with a lot of these cases was in fact Quakers being very good at getting on councils in the late 19th century and using their powers over licensing to keep pubs away from the plebs. The temperance movement was really quite powerful in certain areas, it's a miracle that pubs survived at all.

Marquis said...

Until the 1930s,with the opening of the Test Match, West Bridgford near Nottingham had no licensed premises at all. The Trent Bridge Inn was at the time in Nottingham because of a different boundary.

Duncan said...

Rather late, but Bournville was also pub free and Quaker. They had not betting shops either and, apparently, no Fish and Chips - though I'm not sure if the last was coincidence or intent.