The Conduct of Denaby – A Police Court Explanation

December 1899

Mexborough and Swinton Times  December 1, 1899

The Conduct of Denaby

A Police Court Explanation

At the commencement of the ordinary business at the Doncaster West Riding Police Court, on Saturday Mr H.H. Hickmott, solicitor, who appeared for the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company, ask permission to make a statement.

He said he statement a reference to matter which occurred on 23 October at that court. The object of making the reference was to remove any false impression that might be on the mind of the gentleman who composed the court, with reference to what happened on that day

The Clerk (Mr Rockett): is it an ex-parte statement?

Mr Hickmott: Yes; I’m asking the permission of the Bench to refer to that occasion.

The Chairman (Mr G.B.C.Yarborough): Is it a personal explanation?

Mr Hickman replied that it was an explanation on behalf of his client, the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery company. On 20 October there was an application made, without the sanction of the owners of the property, by the manager of the Denaby Main Hotel, for an extension of Hours.

On that occasion Superintendent Blake opposed the application – he did not say improperly – on the ground that children under the age of 13 years been supplied with beer. It was perfectly true that some time ago the Bench expressed their desire that the publicans would not do so. So far as this client, the Colliery Company, were concerned, that every possible wish to carry out the desire of the Bench, and some time ago they issued strict written orders to the manager of the premises to that effect. After doing so, Mr Blake was seen, and informal what had been done, the documents were shown to him, and expressed his approval. A licensed house in a position like Denaby was most difficult to manage, and the management of the house were informed that under no circumstances were the orders of the board of management to be contravened, and that any person so contravening the orders would be dismissed.

After the statement of Superintendent Blake was made in court, it did not come to the knowledge of his clients for some time, when it did they immediately saw Mr Blake, and asked him if he could furnish them with particulars. Mr Blake kindly gave them two dates, which they endeavoured to trace to the best of their ability, but they have been unable, after having made every possible enquiry, to ascertain that any of their servants had contravened their orders.

He (Mr Hickmott) was not there to see that Mr Blake was wrong in his information, but to say that his clients had been unable to discover that their orders have been contravened. The only explanation they could give was that they found that children went to the hotel, waited outside until they got adults to go in and get supplied with beer, who handed it to them outside. Under those circumstances it was, of course, impossible for the servants at the hotel to know when that kind of thing took place.

In one instance it came to the knowledge of the management that a man had acted in that way, and as a result that man had been refused to be supplied with beer at all for a fortnight, showing how bona fide were the desires of his clients to carry out the wishes of the court, which is not embodied in any Act of Parliament, but which the Colliery Company desired to carry out. If the Bench thought it desirable, his clients would be quite prepared that a constable, specially employed for the purpose, to be stationed outside the hotel, and they will pay the council his wages absolutely for the next 12 months. Mr Buckingham Pope was extremely anxious that no false impression should rest upon the minds of the magistrates.

The Chairman: Is it the new hotel?

Mr Hickmott replied that it was. His client had also been in communication with the landlord of the Reresby Arms, and found that he had experienced the same difficulty. The Bench would probably know that a special committee that had recently sat on the licence question had reported strongly on that matter entirely in accord with the wishes of that court. In their report the special committee were unanimous that not only should the public and will serve the child under 13 years be deemed to have committed an offence, that the father, or responsible guardian of the child, should also be liable. It is his clients desire to let the Bench know that they had been doing their level best.

The Chairman: We are very glad to hear that.

Superintendent Blake said the question of the company had never been before the court. He knew the company had given the orders referred to, but it did not follow that their servants had carry them out. As a matter of fact the service had not done so; the police had seen it, and he could prove. He was not saying one word against the company; he believed they intended to carry out the wishes of the Bench as far as it could. The suggestion as to a constable, being placed specially on duty near the hotel, was out of the question altogether; the police were not intended to be public house managers.

The chairman said that so far as the selling of drink to children was concerned, it was not merely the expression of opinion that Bench; it was expression of opinion of a much higher body and of the County Council. Application for extension would not be given in cases where, in the opinion of the Bench, the premises are not been properly conducted, or where there was mention made of any irregularity. But unless a licensed house was properly conducted it was not going to have any favour shown to it in the matter of extensions.

Mr Hickmott said his client had asked Mr Blake for information concerning the irregularities you referred to.

Superintendent Blake said he had given all the information you possess at the time as asked for it; since then he had evidence of another case.

The Chairman: well, now, the matter must close.

The ordinary business of the court was then proceeded with.