Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Requisitioned Hotels

More of the restrictions and government interference that breweries – and other businesses – had to put up with.

I wonder why the government had requisitioned hotels?

Requisitioned Hotels
Sir Ian Fraser (Lonsdale, Cons.) asked the Minister of Works how many of the 94 hotels held by his department on 30th September last does he propose to release in time for conversion to normal use in next year's summer holiday season.

Mr. Key: The number of hotels held by my department on 30th September last was 64. Approximately 12 will have been released in time for conversion to normal use by next Summer; of these seven have been released since September.

Sir Ian Fraser: With regard to the remaining 52, in view of the uneconomic) cost of building hotels, and the dollar-earning capacity of this industry, will the right hon. gentleman study each case to see whether he cannot expedite release?

Mr. Key: Yes, and our desire is to release them as soon as possible.”
"Brewing Trade Review, 1950", page 80.

Note the obsession with dollars again. Though who would they be earning dollars from? Surely not Americans.

This might explain a little why hotels were requisitioned:

Ilfracombe Council's Action The General Purposes Committee of Ilfracombe Council on Tuesday decided to ask Brig. C. H. M. Peto, D.5S.0., M.P., to press the War Departments again for the release of Council properties (except the Ilfracombe Hotel) occupied by them in Ilfracombe. Mr. H. Knill said that at Torquay the hotels were being de-requisitioned in time for next season. The Clerk (Mr. R. H. Stevens) said the de-requisitioning at Torquay was due to the fact that the properties had been occupied by the Canadian Air Force, which was returning to Canada.”
North Devon Journal - Thursday 10 January 1946, page 7.

I see the Canadians hadn’t been in any rush to get home.

A very large number of premises were requisitioned – literally thousands:

In the Commons, Mr. Tomlinson. Minister of Works, told Col. Weatley (Con.), that over 3,500 hotels, hoarding houses and restaurants had been derequisitioned since January 1. 1945. Those still retained would be released as quickly as possible.”
Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 29 October 1946, page 1.

In some cases, things were getting worse:

Building Work (Exemption Limits)
Mr. Key (Minister of Works) made the following statement: I have made an order under Defence Regulation 56A reducing from £1,000 to £500 the amount which may be spent without licence on individual properties in the categories of industrial and agricultural building in the 12 months from 1st July, 1949, to 30th June, 1950; the corresponding amount for office buildings, storage buildings and educational buildings is reduced from £1,000 to £100. The new limits will take effect from 1st February next so that work started under the previous limit but costing more than the new limit will not require a licence if it is finished  before 1st February; otherwise an application for a licence should be made in good time before that date.

The order makes no change in the £100 exemption limit for the remaining classes of building.

Captain Crookshank (Gainsborough, Cons.): Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the estimated reduction of capital investment will be as a result of this?

Mr. Key : No, I cannot, but what it does do is to bring this business more under control so that we can keep it in relation to the other things for which we have to give licences.”
"Brewing Trade Review, 1950", pages 80 - 81.

There was a big shortage of building materials. That’s why you needed a licence for large building projects. You can understand now why breweries hadn’t been able to modernise their premises. It must have been very frustrating if you had both the need for work and the cash to carry it out.

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