Alleged Licensing Offence at Conisborough – “Half and Half” after 14 Pints

June 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times June 10, 1905

Alleged Licensing Offence at Conisborough
Charge against a Landlord Dismissed

Mr John Lowe, the well-known licensee of the Station Hotel, Conisborough, was charged at the Doncaster West Riding Police Court on Saturday, with having permitted drunkenness, on 24 May and Isaac Traunter, a Conisborough miner was summoned for having been drunk on licensed premises – the Station Hotel – on the same date.

The presiding magistrate was Mr GBC Yarborough, he being supported by Mr Godfrey Walker, Mr W.J.Huntriss Mr J Dymond, Mr JC Coleman, Mr F Pickering and Mr GH Thompson

Traunter pleaded guilty to having been drunk. He said he went into the house about a 8:45 o’clock in the morning and came out about 2 o’clock, when he went to the pit to get his lamp for the next day. He went back to the public house at a 2:15 o’clock and stay there until a 3:45. “Of course, I was drunk,” he added, “but when I went for my lamp I was half and half.” – A fine of 2s 6d and the costs was imposed.

The case against John Lowe was next proceeded with Mr W Baddiley defending.

PS Horton stated that at 5:45 PM on the date mentioned he went on with PC Lund saw Traunter led out of the tap room by the manager, Bilbrough, in a helpless state of intoxication. Witness asked Bilbrough what he was going to do with Traunter – was he going to take him home? He made no reply but after it said he thought he could manage, and that he could find his way home. He then releases hold upon Traunter who nearly fell down. He then reeled off to was Denaby, and managed to walk about 35 yards when he fell down his hands and knees.

After a Bilbrough’s son went to him and left him all. Then Bilbrough said that Traunter and had nothing there, that he had come in with a tramping navvy, that he had had one pint, but he had not been in long. Witness then went up to Traunter, whom they had to shake and threaten to lock up before he would go away. He fell down several times. Witness saw Bilbrough afterwards who asked him not to do anything in the matter. He saw Mr law afterwards and he said he would investigate the matter.

PC Lund corroborated

Traunter was then called, and stated that he went into the Station Hotel about a 8:45 o’clock on the morning of 24 May, with 4s 6d in his pocket. When he got inside he commenced drinking pints of beer. Bilbrough, the manager, serving with some, and his son serving with the others. About a 1:45 he went down to the pit to see about his lamp for the next day, and up to that time had spent about three shillings. At that time was neither drunk nor sober, about “half an hour.”

He went back to the hotel about 2:15 o’clock. He saw navvy there who was hard up, and he paid for him a pint of beer. After having about 14 pints of beer he did not remember much more; even began to feel drunk. (Laughter)

on Tuesday last he was in this Station Hotel and a glass of beer, when he saw Mr Lowe, who questioned him as to if the police have been up to his house. He said “Did you tell them that you had some beer here,” and he replied “Yes,” and Mr Lowe said, “Oh! Oh! you should not have said that; it might cause my licence to be taken away.” Continuing Traunter said Lowe said it might cost him £1000.

Superintendent Hickes: Did he tell you what to say?

Witness: Yes, he said, “you say what I say,” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “If you say what I say you will get me out of it, and if you do I will not be hard with you.” He further said, “You say that you have been with some friends round Conisborough, and you had had a drop of beer first in one pub, and then another, and that you dropped in here unobserved, and that they turned you out, as they would not fill you any more.” Witness continuing said he told the constables that he would tell the truth.

The Chairman: How much had you when you went into the house?

Witness: About 4s 6d, and I had 3d when I came out. I went all my went to bed, but after I been in bed about 20 minutes I began to feel a bit thirsty, and so I got up, and had another pint. (Laughter)

Cross-examined by Mr Baddiley, witness said he could not remember who turned him out of the house

Mr Badley said that the landlord, under the requirements of the licensing act, 1902, at taken due precautions to prevent drunkeness. No testimony had been called to corroborate Traunter statements, but there were several independent witnesses to prove that Traunter was only in the house a few minutes. Bilbrough, on returning from another room, noticing Traunter’s condition, ordered him out. Mr law had held a licence for 40 years and had never had such a complaint before. Mr Lowe said Traunter story was a fabrication. It was next to an impossibility to try and buy the silence of such a class of man. He had a conversation with Traunter when investigating the case, and ordered him not to enter the house again.

William Bilbrough, F Allen, Patrick Riley, and John Connor corroborated Mr Baddiley’s statement.

The Chairman said the evidence was absolutely contradictory. They had carefully considered both sides of the evidence, and had decided to dismiss the case. No doubt the man was helplessly drunk, but they did not think that sufficient evidence to prove that he obtained the drink there at the public house.