30th March 1901.

Today in 1901 a receipt was issued ‘for first call of 5/-share by Matthew Donaldson for £2 in respect of the Armadale Public House Society’, Scotland, which was a true co-operative to run pubs having been taken over mine owners as a means of controlling drinking.(1)

In 1915, in wartime, the government were concerned about excessive drinking ‘among mothers of the coming race’. Treating was banned to curb drinking.(2)

Legislation came early as in 1285 The Statuta Civitatis forbad taverns from being open after curfew in the Metropolis, and in 1330 pubs were inspected by the ‘ale-conner’ at Easter and Michaelmas and so the ‘ale-tasters’ knew where to visit.

Richard II in 1393 stated that: ‘Whosoever shall brew ale in the town with the intention of selling it, must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale.’


The alehouse created the first true pubs in Britain, as they attempted to appeal to a wider clientele. Taverns, for travellers, had developed from monastic times, but now ‘public houses’ became businesses, as opposed to the back rooms of houses, and often producing their own ale.

Many in the 18th and 19th century, were named after crafts, so we find many Builders, Masons, Blacksmiths, Joiners, Brickmakers, Carpenters, Smiths, often with ‘Arms’ added.


These pubs would be under the patronage of the local lord of the manor, but there were restrictions as the use of the name Carpenters’ Arms, was in dispute in the 18th century, after the Baron Carpenter forfeited his title in 1719.

Eventually the name was re-patented and after a series of legal cases, restrictions were placed on pubs in any claim of patronage.

Many early ‘pubs’ were pretty basic with sand, later sawdust on the floor as spitting was a common practice. Charles Dickens noted in his novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, the American practice of spitting into spittoons, and many a British pub was described as ’spit and sawdust’.

As the ‘Local’ (pub) usually had the biggest room in the village, these were used for Inquests by the local Coroner and other ‘social’ occasions. Sir Thomas More was tried in a pub in Staines in 1535; The George and Dragon, Yarm saw the 1820 meeting to decide to build the Stockton to Darlington Railway. Karl Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto and held lectures in a room above the Red Lion on Great Windmill Street, London.

(1) Miners then had to conform concerning their personal behaviour and owners such as Mungo Mackay owner of Whitehall Pit in the Lothian Coal field employed Archibald Hood as manager to use workers to spy on their fellow men drinking habits with consequent eviction.

(1b) Earl Grey had founded the Trust House movement to control drinking which had increased as pubs opened solely for that purpose after the end of the traditional taverns of the old coaching routes where food and a bed were integral.

(2a) In 1915  a public house notice advised: ‘The Licence-holder requires the assistance of women customers to avoid complaints that have been recently received of excessive drinking by not remaining on the premises longer than is necessary for obtaining reasonable refreshment.’

(2b) In Southampton a wife was fined for buying a drink for her husband and the barmaid who supplied it.(Morning Post 14.3.1916.)

Ref: Times Report 1916 re female drinking, quoted in Spartacus-ed.com.

Ref: spartacus-ed.com/FWW/alcohol.

Ref: googleimages.com/Wilton Arms/ J. Peterman/ signs.

Ref: googleimages.com/Daily Telegraph/article/local artists keep pub signs alive/Salisbury Arms.

Ref: Litherlandcollectables.com

Ref: QI 18.5.2013 Daily Telegraph, Oldfield and Mitchinson.

Ref: wikipedia.org/gothenburg_public_house_system.

Ref: ris.org.uk.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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