Important to Publicans – Use of Measures at the ‘Eagle and Child’ and the ‘Station’

October 1886

Mexborough and Swinton Times October 29, 1886

Important to Publicans

A case of considerable importance as affected publicans came on for hearing.

George Addy, landlord of the Eagle and Child Inn, Conisborough, was summoned for retailing beer in a certain measure not marked according to the Imperial Standard.

Mr Binney, of Sheffield, instructed by the Rotherham and District Licence Victuallers Association, appeared for the defence.

Superintendent Blake stated that on 30th ult he visited the Eagle and Child Inn, and asked for a pint of beer and a glass of gin. The pint of beer or supplied in the pitcher produced. Witness drew the defendant’s attention to the jug and pointed out that it was not marked, and told him he had come purposely to have the point tested. It should be stamped.

In cross-examination, the witness said he contended that beer should be delivered in the measure in which it was measured, and which should bear the proper stamp according to Act of Parliament. He held that it was not sufficient that the bay should be measured and then brought in a jug. Defendant told in that he had no pictures that were stamped. There was a charge of 2d made for stamping jugs and pots.

Police Constable Ablett stated that he was with superintendent Blake, and asked for a pint of beer. It was brought in the pitcher, and witness drank it. There was a glass brought with the pitcher.

For the defence, Mr Binney said the beer was actually measured by defendant in a properly stamped pint measure before it was delivered to the superintendent, and he submitted that defendant had done everything that the law imposed upon in. If less than a pint was supplied, the Superintendent might have had a remedy – but it was not alleged that less than a pint was supplied.

The sale of an article and the delivery of it were two different things, by section 8 of the licensing act, all the vendor was bound to do was to measure the article, but the Superintendent contended that he ought to go further and delivered it to him in the same measure. It seemed to be an attempt to compel every innkeeper not to keep a single jug in his place unless it represented an Imperial measure, which clearly never was contemplated as a statute and section 22 of the Weights and Measures Act threw considerable light upon that.

Lord Auckland: Do you contend that the moment a landlord draws the beers and measures it in a stamp measure you can serve it in whatever vessel he likes?

Mr Binney: I do

The Defendant, on being sworn, said he recollected the Superintendent visiting his house. Mr Blake asked for a pint of beer, and went into the front room. On the opposite side of the door, was the bar where the taps were. He drew the beer in the stamp pint measure produced, then poured it into a pitcher, and took it to superintendent Blake. Witness said he had a full set of measures, which were kept in the bar, when he was asked for any part of an Imperial measure he always measured it in a stamped measure.

Isaac Shaw, cabinetmaker, said he was sat in the Eagle and Child Inn, when Superintendent Blake visited it, and heard Mr Blake asked for a pint of beer. Witness watched defendant draw the beer in a pewter measure, and then pour it into the jug. The pitcher and jug was then brought in.

John Field gave corroborative evidence.

After a few minutes duration, Lord Auckland said the Bench were unanimously of opinion that they must convict. The Act of Parliament provided that every person should sell intoxicating liquors in measures stamped and marked as Imperial measures. That section was introduced into the Act of Parliament for the protection of the public, and it was no defence to that chart to say that the beer was drawn and measured in another room. The beer must be served in a stamped measure. The defendant therefore act committed a breach of the eight section. As it was a test case it was not necessary to impose a heavy penalty, so that they should simply impose a fine of 2s 6d, and 10s 6d costs.

Mr Binney asked the Bench to state a case so that they could appeal, but the majority of the Bench refused.

Thomas Senescall, landlord of the Station Hotel, Conisborough, was also summoned on a charge of being in possession of ½ pint measure unstamped for use in trade, and he was further summoned for retailing beer in a certain measure not marked according to the Imperial standard.

Superintendent Blake said on the 30th ult he also visited the house kept by the defendant. He asked for a pint of beer. A girl was serving in the bar, and she took a pitcher (producer) from amongst a number of others, filled it at the tap, and handed it to him, and he paid 3d for it. He then asked for the defendant, but was told he was gone out. Witness afterwards called and told defendant what had occurred, and added that he was going to have the matter tried. He then called for another half pint of beer, and it was supplied in a glass which is not stamped as required by the 29th section of the Weights and Measures Act.

Mr Binney said that the beer was supplied inadvertently, it would be measured as was done in the last case, had the proper person really is in attendance at the bar.

The Magistrates ordered that the costs in each case – total 22s 6d – should be paid.