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ordinary village inn is conducted, but with an evident
desire on the part of the manageress and her daughter for
" trade." Their motives in this are, however, apparently
single, for they have absolutely no pecuniary inducement
to push the sale of alcoholic liquors. The explanation is
probably to be found in the fact that they are keenly
sensitive to the competition of the rival inn. The force
of this competition certainly tells powerfully against the
Association in Broad Clyst. 1

The pecuniary benefit resulting to the village from the
operations of the Association has not so far been great.
Last year a total grant of 15 was made to the village,

1 We are informed by the Secretary of the Association that Sir
Thomas Dyke Acland, the owner of the inn, has confessed himself
well satisfied with the management of the house, and has stated
that " if he had another house vacant he would offer it to the
Association, although he would like to have a voice in the selection
of the manager."


of which 5 was devoted to the Nursing Fund, 5 to the
Clothing Club, and 5 spent on village lamps and the
village green. This year (1901) a grant of 20 has been
made to the village, of which 5 has been devoted to
the Nursing Fund, 5 to the Clothing Club, 5 to the
extinction of a debt incurred in erecting a bathing-place,
and 5 has again been spent on village lamps and the
village green.

Of direct counter-attractions to the public-house there
are practically none. The social needs of the village are
supposed to be met by a small reading-room, which
is open during the six winter months only and is
under the charge of the sexton. There are forty-five
members, who pay a weekly subscription of one penny.
The average attendance is said to be fifteen. Several
of the young men who were seen in the " glass "-
room of the " Red Lion " were formerly members of the
reading-room, but left owing to a disturbance. Members
are now elected by ballot. We were informed that there
had been but one concert in the village during the
previous winter.


Date when acquired by Association. Population of Village.
May, 1899. Between 200 and 300.

Plymstock is a small agricultural village situated less
than two miles from Plymouth, and forming part of a
wide parish containing several villages, all of them at
least a mile apart. Plymstock itself has a comparatively
small labouring population, the village consisting chiefly
of a few farmhouses and scattered villas.

The public-house is a simple country inn, small, but


pleasant-looking, and scrupulously clean. It has a glass-
covered porch in front which admits to a wide lobby
leading to the bar. The drink is drawn at the bar, but
served in either the tap-room or bar-parlour. The former
is a small but cosy room, 12 ft. by 10 ft., warmed in
winter by a bright fire and furnished with a table and
wooden wall-seats. The bar-parlour, which is used by
the farmers, is also a snug room, 15 ft. by 12 ft.
Opposite the bar is the tea-room, a pleasant and bright
room, furnished with chairs and small tables. This room
is reserved for teas and similar refreshments.

There is one bedroom for visitors, but this is rarely

The inn seems to be largely used by the villagers as
a social meeting-place in the evenings. There is a small
reading-room in the village, but this is shortly to be
superseded by a new parish-room, which the vicar, with
the help of the Duke of Bedford (who owns the estate)
and others, is arranging to build. This room, when
ready, will be used as a social institute.

The trade done is small and of a general kind; a
good deal of whisky is sold, the farmers and small
gentry buying it by the bottle. The " off " sale is said
to equal the "on," the former being more than usually
large owing to the fact that the house has only a six
days' licence. 1 No reduction in price is made for "off"
sales. Light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks are
easily obtainable, but the demand for them is not great.
The manager and his wife both urged that it was im-
possible to " push " the sale of temperance drinks, but
they evidently do their best to encourage such sales,
and the usual advertisements are prominently displayed.

1 No change was made in this respect when the Association
acquired the management of the house.


Altogether, the management of the house appears to
be admirable. While no deliberate attempt seems to be
made to restrict the sales, the manager is careful to
discourage intemperance, and he is especially firm in
refusing to allow loafing during the day. Local testimony
points clearly to a marked improvement in the conduct
of the house since the Association became responsible
for its management, and our own observation entirely
supports this presumption. The Association has been
fortunate in its choice of a manager, and it is upon the
manager that the success or failure of such experiments
largely turns. It is necessary also to remember that the
Association has in this instance a complete monopoly
of the local traffic a fact of considerable importance in
estimating its success.

We may add that the only grant from profits made to
the village last year was one of 5 towards the village
reading-room. This year a grant of 6 has been made
towards the new parish-room.

The Kev. C. B. Collyns, Vicar of Plymstock, testifies as
follows to the good influence of the new management :
" I am glad to be able to tell you that the new order
of things is a very great improvement on the old, and
appreciated as much by the frequenters of the house
as by others. I am convinced that the temperance cause
is being quietly but really helped by the Association.
Many of those who sat and drank by the hour under the
old regime, and left the house very drunk at closing-time,
now think it too respectable for them, and stay at home.
Under the old management the village was often disturbed
by rowdyism at night ; this has quite disappeared since
the Association acquired the house."



Date when acquired by Association. Population of Town.

February, 1900. 6,000.

This house, prior to its acquisition by the Association,
was a badly kept and somewhat disreputable place, whose
evil reputation and low class of trade were serious
obstacles in the way of the new management. It was also
so ill-adapted for the purpose for which it was licensed
that important structural alterations, involving an expen-
diture of more than 300, had to be undertaken by
the Association before it was fit for their work. It is a
low, old-fashioned building, somewhat " ramshackle " in
arrangement, and apparently constructed without regard
to the practical requirements of the trade.

On the ground floor is the bar proper, a room 14 ft. by
12 ft., and fitted with a table and chairs. Immediately
opposite is the bar-parlour, a room 13 ft. by 12 ft., in
which only a " glass " trade is done. It has the usual
photographs of houses belonging to the Association and
the ordinary advertisements of temperance drinks, and,
like the bar, is furnished with chairs and a table. A little
to the rear of this room, and approached by the central
passage, is the ruder tap-room, with its stone floor and
wooden benches and the customary table. It is a rather
dark room, used by labourers and others during the
daytime, and on Saturdays by women from the surround-
ing country districts, who come into Sherborne for

All beers, etc., are drawn straight "from the wood."
The cellar is immediately behind the bar, at the rear of
the building, and the "off" trade is supplied direct from



the cellar and not from the bar. In this way children
and others entering with jugs do not enter the bar, but
pass direct to the cellar.

Adjoining the main building, but communicating with
it, is the newly added tea-room, a very bright room,
measuring 20 ft. by 13 ft., and pleasantly furnished with
cane chairs, small tables, an overmantel, pictures, etc.
This room has a separate entrance, and from its close
proximity to the famous old Abbey (a popular resort for
visitors in the summer months), it should be freely
patronised for teas and other light refreshments. At
present the trade in this department is small.

In the first few weeks of its management the Association
encountered much prejudice and suspicion, and did very
little trade. The manager, who appears to be in full
sympathy with the aims of the Association, was careful
from the first to discourage loafing and the loose practices
that had formerly prevailed, with the result that the old
customers left and others were slow to take their place.
Gradually, however, the house has won its way, and the
trade now done is said to compare favourably with that of
other houses in the town. The Association is heavily
handicapped in its experiment by the competition which
it has to encounter, and the manager was fully alive to
this in his statement of what was possible in the way of
restrictions and reforms.

There are no less than twenty-six licensed houses
(i*. public-houses and beer-shops) in Sherborne, in
addition to grocers' licences and wine and spirit stores,
and this fact has to be considered in attempting any

The manager pointed out that even to attempt to close
earlier on Sundays would mean a loss of ordinary trade,
since it would place the house at a disadvantage with


other licensed houses in the town, and also revive a
prejudice against the Association which it has hardly yet
had time to live down. It is scarcely to be wondered at,
therefore, that the result aimed at in the management of
the house is general good conduct rather than definite
restriction of sales. In this respect the Association can
fairly claim to have succeeded. The house seems to be
largely used as a place for social intercourse, but no
encouragement is given to intemperate drinking, nor is
it knowingly allowed. There are no games nor other
adventitious attractions, and this despite the fact that
skittle-alleys are provided by other publicans in the town.

The " off " trade of the house is small, averaging only
about twelve quarts a day. In accordance with the
custom of the town, prices for "off" sales are reduced.
Pale ale, for example, is sold a penny per pint cheaper
for "off" consumption, and old beer, Burton, and stout
a halfpenny per pint cheaper. No reduction is made
in the case of cheap ale. Other houses in the town also
make a reduction of one penny per gill for all spirits
sold for "off" consumption, but the Association makes
such a reduction in the case of gin only.

The proportion of spirits sold both for "on" and "off"
consumption is not, however, great, the bulk of the trade
consisting of beer and cider.

Temperance drinks are well advertised and are always
readily accessible, but the demand for them is small, a
curious fact being that considerably less mineral waters
are sold under the new management than under the
old. This statement is made on the authority of the
manufacturer who supplied the former tenant and now
supplies the Association. That this does not result
from any lack of eagerness on the part of the present
manager or his wife is certain. They naturally desire


for their own profit to increase the sale of such drinks,
but state that they can do little directly to " push " them
without running a great risk of driving their customers
away. It is an interesting fact, however, in this con-
nection that the manager regularly opens his house at
6 a.m. (i.e. two hours before the other licensed houses
in Sherborne), in order to supply tea to working men on
their way to their employment. He is able in this way
to sell on an average from thirteen to fifteen cups of tea
every morning before 8 a.m. He has occasionally sold
as many as thirty in one morning, but that has been
due to special causes.

Whether the house under its new management has
actually lessened the amount of intemperance in the
town it is difficult and, indeed, impossible to decide. In
view of the competition that surrounds it, it could hardly
be expected to accomplish much in this direction. It is
certain, however, that the character of the trade in the
house itself has greatly improved. The loafers and other
disreputable persons who frequented the inn under its
former management no longer cross its threshold; they
have probably merely transferred their custom to other
houses where the management is less strict, but it is
something gained to have closed the doors of one public-
house against them. Inasmuch, also, as it was not at
any time a question of abolishing the licence, but only
of changing the conditions under which it was exercised,
the Association is entitled to full credit for the unques-
tionable improvement that it has in this respect effected.


The foregoing instances, which are said to be typical
of the houses rented by the Association, will probably


suffice to illustrate the methods and aim of the People's
Refreshment-House Association, and they furnish evidence
enough to allow of a just estimate being made of the
advantages and limitations of the experiment.


1. The first and most obvious virtue of the system is
that it completely eliminates the element of private
profit from the sale of intoxicants in the houses managed
by the Association.

2. The Association in no way authorises or sanctions
any attempt on the part of its managers to push the
sale of alcoholic liquors. On the contrary, it has clearly
done its best to withdraw all inducement in this direction.
That it could greatly increase its sales if it cared to do
so is, we think, certain.

3. The utmost prominence is given to the sale of
temperance beverages, and a powerful pecuniary induce-
ment is offered to the managers to foster the sale of such
drinks. Although the Association provides and furnishes
the tea-rooms, and supplies all china and other utensils,
the whole of the profits on food are given to the manager,
as well as two-thirds of the profits on the sale of mineral

4. There are no sales on credit.

5. Gambling and all the immoral accessories of the
public-house are abolished.

6. Music and other adventitious attractions are not
allowed except by the special permission of the Central
Council. In practice no such permission seems to be
given, the only apparent exception to this being the case
of the Red Lion Inn at Broad Clyst, where draughts and a
" peg and ring " board were in use. In this respect the



Association has wisely modified in practice the theory of
recreative attractions which was a feature of the scheme
as originally proposed.

7. Full attention is given to the purity of the liquors
sold and only those of good quality are admitted. A
careful system of inspection is provided for by the
Council. In practice the inspection is done by the
Secretary of the Association, whose method is to enter
a house without notice and take samples of the liquors
sold in the bar. These samples are sent back to the
merchants who supplied them, to ascertain whether the
liquors are of the same strength as when first supplied,
and also if the liquors are actually the same. So fai,
according to the statement of the Secretary, there has
never been "a single case of detection or suspicion in
that connection."

8. All possibility of collusion between the brewer or
distiller and the local manager is rigorously excluded. 1
Wines and spirits are ordered by the central office. In
the case of beer, orders are sent by the local managers,
but the central office chooses the brewer. All invoices
(whether for beer or spirits) go direct to the central
office, and the liquors are then charged to the local
managers at selling prices. The local managers are
further charged 2| per cent, for " unaccountable profit " 3
on all liquors sent.

9. The Association rents all its premises, which,

1 Rule 31 provides that " It shall be the duty of the Council to
discharge from the service of the Association any person em-
ployed by the Association who directly or indirectly shall receive
from any other person supplying or dealing with the Association
any gift, bonus, commission, or benefit."

2 This is a trade term used to denote a margin of profit that
accrues from certain uncontrollable causes, such as the impossibility
of filling a glass absolutely full, etc.


generally speaking, are simply furnished and scrupulously

10. Finally, it is to be noted that the Association has
in no case added to the number of licences in a locality,
but has simply acquired existing licences where suppres-
sion was not a practical issue. 1


The defects of the system arise chiefly out of the
limitations by which, in the present state of the law, it
is necessarily bound, and for these it is not properly
responsible. It is nevertheless important to notice them,
since they serve to indicate the legislative reforms that
are necessary before a true demonstration of the value of
the Gothenburg system can be given in this country.

1. The most obvious drawback to the experiment is the
fact that the Association has only in certain cases a
monopoly of the local traffic. In many cases it has
to encounter the full force of local competition, and the
effect of this is always to create a set of conditions un-
favourable to complete or even important success. It is,
of course, obvious that even with competition certain
improvements are possible, and it is clearly a gain to the
cause of temperance when the element of private profit is
eliminated from even a single public-house ; but the
motives that underlie the Gothenburg system include
much more than the elimination of private profit and the
institution of minor reforms, and the value of the system
as a temperance instrument is seriously diminished when
it has to withstand the practically unfettered competition

1 The Association is not, however, opposed to the policy of
acquiring new licences. It would "always be ready to come
forward and apply for a new licence to save it from falling into
private hands."


of a privately conducted trade. It must always be
remembered that in a struggle of this kind competition
tells against reform rather than for it, and even where no
actual injury is done to essential principles there will
always be limitation of effort and the interposition of a
serious obstacle in the path of progressive reform. It is
for this reason that the present writers have elsewhere l
attached so much importance to the need of permissive
powers under which private companies such as the
People's Refreshment-House Association, or municipal
councils, can acquire a complete monopoly of the licences
granted to a village or town.

2. It is further to be regretted that the Association
has not so far felt itself at liberty to proceed in advance
of the law (as the companies in Sweden and Norway have
done) in such matters as reducing the hours of sale,
Sunday closing, raising the age limit for children, etc.
It is true that in such cases as Broad Clyst and Sherborne,
where the Association encounters the competition of other
licensed houses, it would be difficult, and, from a com-
mercial point of view, probably suicidal to attempt it ;
but in other cases where the Association has a complete
monopoly of the local traffic it would seem both reasonable
and useful to introduce reforms of this kind. The fact
that the licensing law prescribes the hours of sale is
not in itself (as experiments elsewhere have shown) an
insuperable barrier, and it is likely that local sentiment
would, as a general rule, support any action of the
Association in this direction. Certainly experiments in
the public management of the liquor traffic lose much
of their practical value as object-lessons when reforms of
this kind are not attempted.

3. The appropriation of profits to objects of "public

1 The Temjwance Problem and Social Reform.


utility " has so far (owing to heavy expenditure in other
directions) been so small that the present writers hardly
feel justified in alluding to it as a defect ; but in view of
their strong conviction that the first charge upon surplus
profits should always be the provision of efficient counter-
attractions to the public-house, they cannot regard the
present method of appropriation as completely satisfactory.
Last year the total sum voted to objects of utility was
, and grants were made as follows 1 :
Sparkford, 15, Improved water supply to village.
Hoar Cross, 10 towards fund for erection of


30 towards fund for district nurse.
15 as follows : Nursing Fund, 5 ;
Clothing Club, 5; Village lamps
and green, 5.

30 as follows: Mutual Improvement
Association, 15; Peterborough In-
firmary, 5 ; Thorney Flower Show,
5; and Thorney Foal Show, 5.
Plymstock, 5 towards village reading-room.
Flax Bourton, 7 towards School Fund.
It will be seen that while all the objects were in

1 In the present year (1901) a sum of 100 has been voted as
under :

Hoar Cross,
Broad Clyst,

Broad Clystj




14, Sparkford School.

6, Fund for fountain.

23, District Nurse Fund.

20 as follows : Village green and light, 5 ;

Clothing Club, 5 ; Nursing Fund, 5 ;

Debt incurred in erecting bathing-place, 5.
21 as follows : Thorney Horticultural

Society, 4; Thorney Foal Show, 4;

Mutual Improvement Society, 13.
6, Parish Room.

Flax Bourton, 10, Voluntary School Fund.


themselves good, they could only in a few cases be
regarded as " counter-attractions " to the public-house,
72 (out of a total of 112) being spent either upon
objects properly chargeable to the rates or upon forms of
charitable aid usually supported by private philanthropy.
In the present instance the matter is chiefly important
because of the serious deficiency of social institutes and
other centres of recreation in the villages in which the
Association carries on its operations.

In judging of the work of the Association as a whole,
however, it is to be observed that the Executive do not
regard their sysjtem of management as having " reached
finality," nor as having yet reached the stage where it can
be described as entirely fulfilling the aim which the
promoters had in view. All that is claimed is that in
their short career they have covered " a good part of the
way on the road towards an ideal which is kept clearly in
view." Meantime there are said to be "a good many
directions in which the Executive are tentatively trying
improvements, all of which will come in due time."


The Grayshott and District Refreshment
Association, Limited


Estimated Population
Date opened. of Village.

August, 1899. 600.

experiment made in 1898 by the Grayshott and
District Refreshment Association, Limited, of which
Sir Frederick Pollock, Bart., is the president, marked in
some respects a new departure in the attempt to apply
the principles of the Gothenburg system to the manage-
ment of the liquor traffic in this country. In all previous
attempts a benevolent despotism had been present to
assist either in the promotion or the management of
the undertaking, the owner of the estate or the local
clergyman being responsible for the licence. The Gray-
shott experiment began on strictly co-operative lines,
the villagers themselves taking up many of the shares.
It was also the first house in England l to receive a new
licence for the express purpose of an experiment on
Gothenburg lines.

1 The Hill of Beath tavern in Fifeshire was an earlier instance.
The Elan village canteen, although established much earlier than
the Grayshott experiment, was not an ordinary public-house.


The history of the experiment is clearly set forth in
a statement issued by the Committee of the Grayshott
Association in 1899, from which a few facts may be
quoted. In the winter of 1897-8 the rapid growth
of the village of Grayshott and the surrounding district
forced upon the attention of residents much interested
in its welfare the question of public-house accommoda-

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Online LibraryJoseph RowntreeBritish 'Gothenburg' experiments and public-house trusts → online text (page 3 of 13)