Thursday, 19 April 2018

Clubs Registration Bill (part one)

It wasn't just brewers who were concerned about unregulated clubs. The government was, too, as evidenced by this piece of legislation. Many of its provisions still apply to clubs today.

Clearly the bill was designed to prevent the abuse of bogus clubs which effectively operated like pubs, but without any sort of control. It makes clewar right form the start that it's only worried about clubs where alcohol is served.

THE Select Committee of the House of Commons, presided over by Mr. T. Burt, M.P., the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, have presented a Bill as amended by them, to the House. and it is now issued in its amended form. The Bill is backed by Mr. F. A. Newdigate, Captain Grice-Hutchinson, Mr. Caine, Sir A. Rollit, Mr. Gordon, and Mr. R. G. Webster. It states in the preamble that it is intended to “provide for the more effectual registration of clubs," and goes on to say that, “whereas it is expedient that certain clubs using premises on which intoxicating liquor is consumed by members of such clubs be registered, unless such premises be licensed premises," the provisions it contains should be brought into force. There are 19 clauses and a Schedule, which gives the form of certificate of registration. The short title of the Act is the Clubs Registration Act, 1893. It is not to apply to Scotland or Ireland. The interpretation clause states that the expressions “intoxicating liquor,” “licensed premises," “licensing justices," and “ licensing district " have the meanings assigned to them respectively by the Licensing Act, 1872.
The Brewers' Guardian 1893, page 206.
I've split the article up as the concept of paragraphs seems to have been foreign to the author.

After stating that all clubs serving alcohol need to be registered, the next section gives a long list of exceptions:

"After defining the terms “registrar," “secretary," and “honorary members,” the Bill in Clause 4 says “subject to the exceptions in this section mentioned any body of persons associated for any purpose, any of which persons by reason of being so associated, use or intend to use any premises whereon they do or may consume any intoxicating liquor, shall be deemed to be a club to which this Act applies, and this Act shall apply to every such body, but not to any other body. The exceptions above referred to are the following :—(1) Where such premises are licensed premises ; (2) Where such premises are under the management or control of (a) any department of Her Majesty’s Government; or (b) any members of Her Majesty's naval, military, reserve or auxiliary forces in pursuance of their duties as such; or (c) the council of any county or magistrates meeting in quarter sessions; or (d) the mayor, aldermen, and commons of the City of London in common council assembled; or (e) any local authority as defined by the Public Health Act, 1875 ; or (f) any vestry or district board constituted pursuant to the Metropolis Management Act, 1885; or (g) any body incorporated by charter, letters patent, or local Act; or (h) any governing body or other authority of any university, college, school, hospital, or other institution or establishment, religious, educational, or charitable ; or (i) the treasurer and masters of the bench of any of the inns of court. (3) Where all the persons constituting such body are resident, or bond-fide employed upon such premises ; and (4) lodges of Freemasons registered pursuant to the Unlawlul Societies Act, 1799."
The Brewers' Guardian 1893, page 206.
The exemptions give an interesting insight into British society at the time. Basically it's anything connected with the government, military, local authorities, educational establishments and the legal profession. So pretty much any organistion the posher classes might belong to.

You might find the inclusion of universities and schools odd, but many Oxford and Cambridge colleges at this time hasd their own breweries and served alcohol with meals. Some public schools, such as Eton, gave their pupils beer.

Strange how the Freemasons get a free ride, too. Especially the name of the legislation relevant to them: the Unlawlul Societies Act. It sounds weird registering organisations as unlawful.

"Clause 5 provides that every club now subsisting or established within three months from the passing of this Act shall within that period, and every club established after the expiration of three months from the passing of the Acts should before any person can as a member of such club use the premises of such club he registered. Clause 6 provides for the way in which clubs are to be registered. It is as follows :—“ (1) The secretary of, or one of the persons intending to establish the club, shall, on original representation, and on or before 25th March in each succeed ing year deliver to the registrar two copies respectively signed by such secretary or person (as the case may be) of the rules of the club, and two copies, signed in like manner, of a statement in writing setting forth such of the following particulars relating to the club as shall not be stated in such rules, that is to say—(a) The name of the club; (b) the postal addresses of all premises used, or to be used, by the club; (c) the objects of the club; (d) the names and addresses of the committee of management and of the trustees and treasurer of the club. and how the committee, trustees, and treasurer are, or are to be, elected or appointed and removed, and what are, or are to be, their respective duties and powers; (e) The purposes to which the funds of the club are, or are to be, applied or applicable; (f) Whether the members of the club have, or are to have, and, if any, what control over the disposal of the funds of the club ; (g) What procedure is, or is to be, necessary to confer on a person membership of the club; (h) What entrance fees, subscriptions, and other pay ments are, or are to be, payable by members of the club; (i) Whether any, and, if any, what persons are, or are to be, admissible to the club as visitors or as temporary members, and under what circumstances and upon what terms and conditions ; and (j) Whether there is, or is to be any, and, if any, what means of altering or adding to the rules of the club."
The Brewers' Guardian 1893, page 206.

One of the things the bill seemed worried about was who could be admitted to a club on a temporary basis. The reason is obvious: if a club could let in large numbers of non-members, then it was really more like a pub. We'll be learning more about those restrictions next time.


Anonymous said...

Is there any chance that recipes from thee club beers exist?

EJ said...

Interestingly, the Unlawful Societies Act banned or suppressed various republican organizations and other groups that required an oath but specifically exempted Freemasons. Apparently there were enough Masons in government during both periods to keep them from getting pushed around.