Brewster Sessions. – Colliery Company and Their Employees

February 1908

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Monday 03 February 1908

Brewster Sessions.
Drinking Facilities at Denaby.
Colliery Company and Their Employees.
Extraordinary Accusations Made

Denaby Applications

John Henry Froggart applied for a full licence for the Working-men’s Club Denaby. There was also an application by Mr. George Wilkie, secretary of the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company for a full licence for new premises erected by the company in Wheatley Street, Denaby.

Mr. Baddiley appeared for Froggart, and Gichard. of Rotherham, for the Colliery Company, Mr. G. W. Andrews opposed the company’s application.

In the course his application, Mr. Baddiley said he applied for a full licence in respect of premises known as the Working-men’s Club, and called attention to the fact that another application was being made for a full licence by Mr. George Wilkie on behalf of the Colliery Company. He expressed a hope that the Bench would not grant the latter application for the reason that the company had adopted the extraordinary course of dismissing any men who refused to cease to be members of the Club.

He called four witnesses, one of whom had been in the employ of the Colliery Company for 12 years, and two them swore that there had been no complaint made against them with regard to their work or conduct, but they had been informed by an official that unless they resigned their membership of the Club they would have to leave the company’s service.

The dub Steward said he had written notes for workmen the Colliery stating that they were not members of the club.

Daniel Bland, George Street, said he formerly worked at the Colliery and was a member the club. There was no complaint respecting his work. In December saw Mr. Barnard and refused to cease attending the club, and on the 19th received his notice from the company. This was reported to the  headquarters Barnsley, and was on “victim pay.”

John Rowe, miner, said worked for the Colliery Company about twelve years, and twice received warnings from officials about attending the dub, and when Mr. Whitty dismissed him said : “You would have it—you wouldn’t keep away.”

Mr Gichard denied these statements behalf of the company, and complained that he had received notice that such evidence was going to be tendered. The company’s application was made because there was need for further licensed premises. It was not with the object of making profit that the company applied for the licence, but in order that they might have their men under better and more thorough control. It was impossible to conduct any licensed premises in a place of that kind without some occasional breaches of licensing law, and it was in order that those breaches should be minimised far as possible, and to encourage thrift in the district that the application was made.

Mr, H. L. Smethurst, architect, gave evidence of the requirements of the district and of the suitability of the premises.

Mr. Andrews asked if was a fact that the company engaged watchmen with dogs to watch the people going into and coming out of the club, and take their names, and that men seen to be using the club were informed that they must either resign their membership leave the works.

Witness replied that he had heard something of this, but was not.within his personal knowledge. He did not know the membership of the dub had been reduced from 800 to 120 owing to the action of the company.

Mr. Andrews said opposed the company’s application on the ground that there was not a shadow of merit to defend it. It was going as near in conflict with the provisions of the Truck Act as possible, and employers should not able to control the spare time the men and direct the source from which they obtained their refreshment. Further, it was undesirable that a company should have the means of controlling men, not only in matters trade disputes, but in times of peace as would result in case the application should granted.

The magistrates, after considering the matter in private, refused both applications.