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Old 13-10-2018, 10:51 AM
Grim_up_North Grim_up_North is offline
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Default Closure of Amble pubs around the time of the 1st World War

I had always presumed that several of the pubs in Amble had closed as a direct result of the First World War as they all closed around that time; less patrons or landlords who were away in the services and the economic climate after the war was such that a town like Amble couldn't sustain the number of pubs it had.

However, looking through the old local newspapers shows that since the 1870s, the Alnwick Licensing Committee (Brewster Sessions) were being continuously petitioned by deputations from religious and temperance groups, requesting that if the committee would not cut the number of licensed premises that they not permit any new ones.

This was being fuelled by a lot of drink related anti-social behaviour and crime (particularly fighting and domestic abuse) and licensees allowing intoxicated patrons more drink, opening during restricted times or in non-licensed hours and giving short measures.

Also, one of the licensing acts introduced the concept of a quota of population per licensed premise.

An experiment was carried out in Birmingham where around 1000 licences were cut between 1904 and 1910, presumably with a proportional improvement in drink related problems.

Owing to the ‘success’ of this scheme, the 1904 Licensing Act introduced a national scheme. Licensing Magistrates could now refuse to renew a pub’s licence if it was considered that the pub was unnecessary to provide for the needs of the public. Compensation would be paid both to the owner of the premises and the licensee although, typically, only about 10% of the compensation went to the licensee. This compensation was paid for by a levy on the licences granted to other premises. This provision of the 1904 Act was carried forward into the Licensing (Consolidation) Act of 1910.

In Northumberland a county licensing committee was formed which was the “Compensation Authority”.

Licenses could be refused by the local licensing authority for indiscretions in the previous year and, I presume, the licensee would apply to the Compensation Authority to volunteer to close and never reopen or they were referred to the authority by the licensing committee.

Morpeth Herald - Friday 12 July 1912

LICENCE COMPENSATION. a meeting of Northumberland County Licensing Committee, held on Monday at Newcastle, Col. C. L, Bates in the chair, the following sums money were awarded as compensation for licences taken away. The figures in parentheses represent the amount claimed in each case: —Queen’s Head, East Woodburn, 600 (771). Radcliffe Arms. Amble, 1,209 15s 9d (the amount claimed). In the following instance agreement could not be arrived at and it was referred to the Inland Revenue authorities: Steamboat Inn, Amble, 1,547 claimed.

Newcastle Journal - Monday 09 February 1914

The Steamboat Inn, Amble, objected to at the general annual licensing meeting, the 3rd February, 1912, on the grounds of redundancy, was sent to the Compensation Authority, who refused the licence at its meeting on 21st May 1912. The licence was again renewed on the 1st February, 1913, pending settlement with the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, which has since been done, and the house was closed for the sale of liquor the 4th April, 1913.

The Berwick Advertiser - Friday 13 July 1917

They (Northumberland Compensation Authority) also consented a claim of 1.659, in respect of the Fox and Hounds Inn, Amble, the whole of which was to to the owners, the Alnwick Brewery Company, Ltd. The Bench decided that Adam Harker, a former licensee, was not an interested person.

The compensation, it was stated, would be paid September 22 1917.

Note: When the Fox and Hounds came up for sale shortly afterwards, the bar fixtures and fitting were specifically excluded from the sale.

The Berwick Advertiser - Friday 07 November 1919

LICENSING COMPENSATION The question of compensation in respect two public houses which have recently lost their licenses was decided at a meeting of the Northumberland County Compensation Authority, held in the Moot Hall, Newcastle, Wednesday. In the case the Gardeners’ Arms at Amble, the High Court have fixed the compensation at 1,600 and after deducting costs, the net sum available for payment compensation was 1,535 12s 2d. There was a claim from the tenant. Mrs Margaret Gibson, for 100, to which the registered owners Messrs Johnson and Darlings. Ltd., Berwick, consented. The magistrates agreed the proportion.

Conversion of historic monies is not straightforward but the purchasing power (based upon the prices for commodities) would equate 1500 in 1912 to around 150,000 in 2018, but could have been more.

And, so the reason for these four pubs closing and never opening their doors again (although the Steamboat later became part of the Harbour Inn) was through pressure brought upon them by national legislation enforced by the local licensing committees at the behest of the temperance movement and the church (or churches) and probably a grateful police force and magistrates courts.

Last edited by Grim_up_North; 14-10-2018 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 13-10-2018, 10:18 PM
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Excellent post. Pub extinction dates as well.

So the compensation was paid from the public purse to the landlords of pubs closed?

I have a few N.E. temperance related images to add.
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Old 14-10-2018, 01:42 PM
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Not sure if we had a Temperance Bar in Amble after those closures but Morpeth had one:



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Old 14-10-2018, 01:59 PM
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These are Temperance Society banners. I Photographed these at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. I don't think the display gave the origin of these objects.
They are behind glass and at the back of a display case with other objects in front so not the best pics:

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Old 14-10-2018, 02:04 PM
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Here's the other anti-publican propaganda


'The Publican and his customer'

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Old 17-10-2018, 05:00 PM
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Only 104 years after the closure of the Radcliffe Arms the Radcliffe Bar opened a few hundred metres away, it seems licences are easier to come by these days!
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