Tragedy of Drinking by the Under 18’s.

July 1960

South Yorkshire Times, July 4, 1960

Tragedy of Drinking by the Under 18’s.

After seeing many “pitiful pictures of distress brought about by alcohol in young boys and girls,” Mr John R. Smith, leader of Denaby’s Tom Hill Youth Centre this week appealed to parents, landlords, and stewards, to take stricter precautions to prevent under age drinking.

Mr Smith said, “As one who is in daily contact with the young people of the area, I would like to ask whether I am the only person who has noticed a sharp increase in the amount of under age drinking.”

Young people, says Mr Smith apparently find it quite easy to obtain service in any of the local pubs and clubs.

He added, “Would it be true to say that no parent has had doubts about their own under 18 son or daughter? Has no local landlord steward had second thoughts about serving a youngster? In the very close-knit communities in which we live has no other person seen a youngster they know being served with beer or spirits?

“In fact, are we not all guilty of a lack of diligence in the care of our young people? Does anyone else care?”

Those who are Bold.

Of the landlords responsibility in the matter, Mr Smith said, “To my mind it is not sufficient to put up the RU 18 sign and think that it will ask the vital question for you. It won’t; and those who are bold enough to go in and asked for service are also bold enough to lie about their age.

“So, may I ask that everyone – parent, landlord and stewards – be especially careful and for the sake of the young people, check up on them.”

The “South Yorkshire Times” also spoke to Mr Squire Thompson, landlord of the South Yorkshire hotel, Mexborough, and, president of the Mexborough, Swinton and District Licensed Victuallers Association.

“The trouble is,” said Mr Thompson, “that the landlord hasn´t got a chance. We asked them if they are 18 and they look above 18 we have to serve them.”


He added, “We have instruction from the police that if we are in doubt about anyone’s age we have not to serve them, which is only common sense. I don’t agree that there is an increasing underage drinking – a youth leader is not a licensee”

Mr Thompson said, “We are here to serve, but if anyone walks in and is under 18, but doesn’t come to the bar, we don’t know about it.”

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