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tion, as it was felt that very soon application would be
made, from one quarter or another, for permission to
open a fully licensed house. Some time previously, when
the place was much smaller, an off-licence had been
granted, but it seemed to the large majority of those
interested that, if a fully licensed house were to be
opened in the village, it would be in every way desirable
that it should be one in which no prominence should
be given to the sale of alcoholic drinks, but rather a
refreshment-house in which alcoholic liquors of the best
quality should always be obtainable, but where food and
non-alcoholic beverages of good quality and at moderate
prices should also be freely provided and their con-
sumption encouraged.

" Preliminary meetings were therefore held, information
from various quarters procured, the assistance of the
People's Eefreshment-House Association enlisted, and,
as a first practical step, the purchase of the plot of
land on which the "Fox and Pelican" stands secured.
Subsequently the Grayshott and District Refreshment
Association, Limited, was registered under the Industrial
and Provident Societies Act, 1893, with a capital of
2,500, and subscriptions solicited.

"So sympathetic was the feeling as to the importance
of the project that liberal applications for shares were
speedily received, and, in preparation for the licensing
sessions of the Alton Bench of magistrates in September,


1898, plans of a house suitable for the business contem-
plated were prepared. At those sessions, on September 6th,
the application was heard, preceded by an application
by an Alton firm of brewers for a similar licence for a
house to be erected on a plot of land adjacent to that
belonging to the Association. The magistrates, after
hearing evidence in support of both applications, decided
to grant a licence to the Association and to refuse one
to the Alton firm, and in due course the licence was
confirmed by the County Licensing Committee.

"Thereupon building operations were proceeded with
as speedily as possible, and early in July, 1899, the
building was practically ready for occupation. After
some slight delays incidental to the starting of a new
business, the house was formally declared open by Mrs.
Randall Davidson (in the unavoidable absence of the
Bishop of the Diocese), at an afternoon reception on
Wednesday, August 23rd, 1899, and on Monday, the 28th,
business commenced."

The whole of the capital (^2,500) was subscribed either
locally or by friends of residents, and the full amount
has been practically absorbed by the purchase of land,
erection of house and stables, furnishing, etc. The
Articles of Association expressly provide that no dividend
exceeding 4 per cent, per annum shall be paid to
shareholders, and that, while making provision for a
reserve fund not exceeding in amount 25 per cent, of
the Company's capital, the balance of profit shall be
applied to such charitable, educational, or other legal
purposes as the shareholders at a general meeting may
from time to time decide upon.

The house is artistically designed and thoroughly well
built, and is fitted and furnished throughout in excellent
taste. In addition to the bar (the passage of which is


against the movement, it is risking too much to impose
regulations in advance of the licence law. It is necessary
to remember that the Association has not a complete
monopoly of the local traffic, but only of the " on " trade. 1
In addition to the " Fox and Pelican " there is an " off "
beer-house in the village, as well as two grocers' licences,
while it is a not unimportant fact that the site adjoining
the " Fox and Pelican," for which a full licence was sought
by a firm of brewers at the time the Association was
formed, still remains in the possession of the brewers who
applied for the licence.

These facts, together with the additional fact that
the district appears to contain a somewhat unusual
proportion of lawless spirits in its population, must
be carefully borne in mind in estimating the success
of the Grayshott experiment. That it has not realised
all the expectations of its promoters they themselves
freely acknowledge. The experiment has been handi-
capped throughout by a not always scrupulous opposition
on the part of the least reputable portion of the
inhabitants ; and the committee has, moreover, been
singularly unfortunate in its managers. But the in-
tention that underlies and governs the experiment is
unquestionably single and sincere, and when all limitations
and imperfections are allowed for, it is incontrovertible
that the interests of temperance in the district are much
more securely safeguarded than they could have been if an
ordinary public-house had been allowed to be established
in the village.

The situation is well expressed in a letter which the

Rev. J. M. Jeakes, a member of the committee, addressed

to one of the present writers in May, 1901. Mr. Jeakes

says : " I am very glad that you have seen the " Fox and

1 The nearest fully licensed house is a mile away.


Pelican." The conditions under which this experiment
is made are, I think, exceptionally difficult ; but the
difficulties we have passed through do not at all alter my
conviction that we are, in the main, on the right track,
and that we did the best we could do under the circum-
stances, in view of the great probability of a tied house
entirely out of our control." Looked at from this point
of view simply, the efforts of Sir Frederick Pollock and
his colleagues are completely justified.

On its commercial side the experiment has been en-
tirely successful. The financial statement for the first
thirteen months (i.e. August 28th, 1899, to September 30th,
1900) showed a balance of profit on trading account of
213 11s. 3d Of this sum 99 14s. Id. was set aside
for depreciation of furniture and buildings and one-third
share of preliminary expenses, leaving a net balance of
.113 17s. 2d. Of this amount 99 9s. Id. was absorbed
in payment of a dividend of 4 per cent, on the paid-up
capital of the company, leaving a final balance of
14 7s. Id. to be carried forward to next account.


The Elan Valley Canteen, near Rhayader,

Average Number of
Date opened. Men Employed.

September, 1894. 1,200 to 1,500.

The Elan Valley experiment, the first of its kind in the
United Kingdom, owes both its origin and its success
to the practical wisdom of the Waterworks Committee of
the Birmingham Corporation. It was established in
September, 1894, to meet the requirements of the men
employed upon the construction of their new reservoirs
near Rhayader. To accommodate the navvies and others
employed, the Committee had practically to construct a
village some three or four miles from Rhayader, and the
supply of liquor at once became an urgent problem.
Prohibition was felt to be impracticable, so that the only
alternatives open to the Committee were either (1) to let
or lease a building to a private publican in the ordinary
way ; or (2) to themselves apply for a licence and establish
a canteen on their own property. The first of these
alternatives, although simpler, was open to grave objec-
tion. While the publican, as the tenant of the Committee,
would to a large extent have been under their control, it
was nevertheless felt that if the house " were run as a


trade venture in the interests of the publican, his own
interest doubtless would be to promote rather than to
restrict the sale of drink." The second alternative was
therefore chosen. The Committee accordingly applied
for a licence, which was granted subject to certain special
terms which the Committee itself suggested. The chief
of these conditions was that the canteen should be placed
in charge of a manager who should be paid a fixed salary
and have no direct or pecuniary interest in the sale of
intoxicants. The second main condition related to the
hours of sale, the Committee not wishing to open during
the whole of the usual public-house hours.

The conditions governing the experiment are, of course,
in certain important respects exceptional and more than
usually favourable to success. In addition to a certain
benevolent despotism which the Committee (unlike a
voluntary company, such as the People's Kefreshment-
House Association) is free to exercise, the works are to a
large extent isolated. Ehayader is three or four miles
distant, and access to the works, which are situate on the
left bank of the river Elan, is completely under the
control of the Committee. The only approach for vehicles
is by a suspension bridge which the Committee itself
constructed, while a narrow footway leading to a foot-
bridge at the other end of the village is the only other
means of access. The public have no right of way, and
tradesmen from the neighbouring town are only allowed
to use the suspension bridge on the express undertaking
that they will not introduce intoxicants into the village.
Moreover, the bridge-keeper has instructions to examine
every cart. It is an interesting fact that so far there has
been no shebeening.

The monopoly enjoyed by the Committee is, neverthe-
less, not quite complete. On the other side of the river,


but at a comparatively short distance from the village,
is the Elan Hotel, 1 a fully licensed house, which is said
to be much frequented by the men from the works. 2
The licence for this house was applied for when the
Birmingham Corporation first began its works, and
although the Corporation applied to be heard in opposi-
tion to the licence, the magistrates refused to hear its
representatives, but granted the licence despite their
protest. It is undoubted that the close proximity of
this house militates against the complete success of the
canteen experiment. As a fully licensed house it does
so directly in respect of the sale of spirits. At the
canteen itself no spirits are sold, the sales being strictly
confined to beer and mineral waters. The sale of the
latter is, however, exceedingly small. 3 There is no sale
of food. It was at first proposed to sell tea, cocoa, and
other similar beverages, as well as food, in the canteen,
but the idea was relinquished owing to the absence of
any demand for them. The selling price of the beer
(5d. per quart) is fixed by the market price in the

Orders to the brewers are sent direct by the Secretary
of the Waterworks Committee, who charges the goods at
selling prices to the manager of the canteen. Stock

1 The distance separating the Elan Hotel from the village
canteen is, by way of the suspension bridge, exactly a mile;
but from the right-hand end of the village it is little more than
half a mile.

2 The Secretary of the Waterworks Committee, in his evi-
dence before the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing Laws
(July 6th, 1898), estimated that the sum spent by the men at the
Elan Hotel, and at the public-houses in Rhayader equalled in
amount the takings of the canteen.

* The Secretary of the Waterworks Committee stated that out
of a total week's takings of 104 18s., only 7s. 6d. was derived
from the sale of mineral waters.


is taken each week on specially prepared forms. The
canteen manager, according to the Secretary's statement,
" quite understands that he is thought no more highly of
if his sales are high than if they are low, whereas should
there be any disturbance or drunkenness he would be
held responsible for it." To ensure the good quality of
the beer sold, the Committee has established a system
of taking samples of all the beer in the canteen at
irregular times without notice to the canteen manager.
In response to a private order from the Secretary of the
Waterworks Committee, a man attends at the canteen
and takes samples. The bottles are then sealed in the
presence of the canteen manager and sent to Birmingham,
where they are submitted to the examination of a brewing


The management of the canteen is governed by a series
of regulations of quite exceptional stringency :

1. No credit is given.

2. Music, games, etc., are strictly prohibited.

3. The hours of sale are severely restricted. The
canteen is open on ordinary week-days (i.e. Monday to
Friday) from 12.30 p.m. till 2 p.m., and from 5.30 p.m.
till 9 p.m. On Saturdays it is open from 1 p,m. till
4.30 p.m., and from 5.30 p.m. till 9 p.m. At first it
was kept open continuously on Saturdays from 1 p.m.
till 9 p.m., but it was found that there was a tendency
on the part of the workpeople to remain too long in the
canteen, and so the canteen was closed between 4.30
and 5.30. p.m. It was originally proposed to open the
canteen for half an hour in the morning on each
week-day, and provision for this was made in the scheme


of management sanctioned by the magistrates, but
ultimately it was not found necessary to do so. There
is no sale on Sunday, the licence being governed in
this respect by the Welsh Sunday Closing Act.

4. The quantity of beer to be served to any one
customer is strictly limited, the rules providing that no
person shall be allowed more than two quarts of beer
during the evening for consumption on the premises,
nor more than one quart during the dinner-hour. The
total quantity which a customer can thus purchase
during the day is three quarts. The Secretary states
that, in practice, it is found impossible in the rush of
business to keep an eye upon every individual customer,
and it may sometimes happen that in the " great
rushes " of trade this rule is sometimes evaded, but,
speaking generally, it is enforced.

In the case of "off" sales the rules provide that " no
hut-keeper [i.e. a workman in whose hut from eight
to ten other workmen are lodged] shall be supplied
with more than 1 gallons of beer in any one evening,
nor with more than 2 gallons for the mid-day meal
from the jug department, except on Saturday evening,
when a hut-keeper may purchase double the quantity."
The latter proviso is to cover Sunday consumption, the
canteen being closed on that day,

5. It is further provided that " no person who is in
the slightest degree intoxicated shall be supplied with
drink on any pretence whatever." This rule is said
to be enforced absolutely and without regard to the
quantity of beer which a man may have had.

6. Women are not allowed to enter the bar, but are
strictly confined to the jug department, where only
"off" sales are made. The total number of women
in the village is not more than from 120 to 150.


7. An " age limit " is imposed both for " on " and
" off " sales. In the case of the former the rules
provide that only men above the age of eighteen shall
be allowed to enter the bar ; and in interpreting this
rule the management " leans to the side of strictness
rather than to the side of laxity." In respect of " off "
sales the rules provide that no boy under the age of
sixteen, nor any woman under the age of twenty-one,
is to be served with beer or porter in the jug


As already pointed out, no music, games, or other
attractions are allowed in the canteen ; but a public hall
or recreation-room has been built near to, but entirely
separate from, the canteen, and there newspapers,
magazines, games, and amusements of various kinds are
provided. A supply of non-intoxicating drinks was also
formerly on sale there, but the demand for them was
apparently not great. This room is said to be " a great
success " and " tends to minimise the drinking in the
saloon." The Secretary of the Waterworks Committee,
in his evidence before the Royal Commission on Liquor
Licensing Laws, stated he knew that " in many individual
cases men who had been addicted to drink, having had
the means provided them of spending their evenings in
a more rational way, had been kept away from the


On its financial side the experiment has been an
unquestionable success, and is said to make " a very
considerable profit." For the three and a half years
ending March 31st, 1898, the gross profits amounted to


5,450, and the net profits to 3,262. The ratio of
net profit on takings was 22 per cent. This latter figure
is noteworthy in view of the heavy cost of carriage and
the further fact that an eighth part of the total capital
outlay is annually written off the profits. The average
percentage of profit on capital invested was slightly over
93 per cent, per annum. These surplus profits are
devoted to the maintenance (wholly or in part), of the
various village institutions, of which the chief are the
day school, the public rooms (including the free library,
reading-room, and recreation-room), and the hospital.


In its general results the experiment has certainly
justified the policy of the Committee. There has been
very little disturbance, and only on one occasion, or at
most on two, has the management had to have recourse
to the power which it reserves to itself of closing the
canteen. "Very shortly after the house was opened,"
said the Secretary of the Waterworks Committee in his
evidence before the Royal Commission, " we had to close
it on one night. Our people had not then been got
to realise the lines on which it was intended the public-
house should be conducted, and they began to comport
themselves as one would suppose they would do in an
ordinary public-house. We immediately cleared them
out and closed it. Since then we have had no trouble."

There have been cases of drunkenness, but these have
been comparatively few, and in general orderliness and
sobriety the settlement is said to compare " extremely
well " with similar settlements in other places. The
Chief Constable of the county, writing in October, 1896
(two years after the opening of the canteen), said :


" Drunkenness in the Elan village is undoubtedly sup-
pressed through the stringent rules and measures adopted
by the canteen ; and, further, I have no hesitation in
saying that it is attributable to those regulations."

In June, 1898, he wrote again as follows : "Drunken-
ness has slightly increased in the village; I do not,
however, think it is attributable to any bad management
of the canteen. I still adhere to my former opinion
expressed in my letter to you, dated October 5th, 1896."

The slight increase in drunkenness referred to (of
which the letter quoted above was the first intimation
received by the Committee) may or may not have been
attributable to the canteen. The probability is that it
was not, for it happened to coincide with an actual
falling off in the takings of the canteen.

It is interesting, finally, to notice that while the rules
and regulations of the canteen have been altered slightly
from time to time according to circumstances, such
changes have always brought the management more
and more within the original conditions laid down when
the Corporation first applied for the licence.

Scargill Waterworks Canteen, Harrogate

Average Number of
Date opened. Men Employed.

September, 1898. 350.

ONE of the most interesting of the experiments that
have come under the personal observation of the
present writers is that carried on by the Waterworks
Committee of the Harrogate Corporation in connection
with their works at Scargill, six miles from Harrogate.
The experiment has much in common with the canteen
established by the Birmingham Corporation at their works
in the Elan Valley, Khayader, but was started without
knowledge of that experiment.

In beginning the construction of reservoirs at Scargill,
nearly three years ago, the Waterworks Committee found
themselves compelled to provide the men employed upon
the works, numbering sometimes as many as five hundred,
with facilities for purchasing beer. The nearest public-
house was two and a half miles away, and the men refused
to work unless nearer facilities were provided. It occurred
to Alderman Fortune, the chairman of the Waterworks
Committee, that the circumstances furnished a good
opportunity for an experiment on the lines of the
Gothenburg system, and, the Committee approving, a


large canteen (with additional but separate accommodation
for a general store) was accordingly erected, and a manager
appointed to conduct the business on clearly defined lines.

The ends aimed at are : (1) to restrict as far as possible
the sale of intoxicants, and (2) absolutely to eliminate
private profit from such sale. Alderman Fortune, to
whom the success as well as the inception of the experi-
ment is chiefly due, has from the first strenuously set
himself against any arrangement likely, directly or
indirectly, to interfere with the full attainment of these
ends. 1

Beer is the only intoxicant sold, spirits being expressly
.excluded. The manager receives no commission on the
sale of beer, but is allowed to sell for his own profit all
kinds of food, as well as tea, coffee, mineral waters, etc.
In addition, he is paid a fixed salary and provided with
a house, coal, and light. He is not allowed to purchase
the beer nor to fix the price at which it is sold. It is
invoiced to him at selling prices, a small allowance being
made for waste.

The hours of sale are severely restricted. The canteen
is open on the ordinary week-days from 9 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.,
12 noon to 1 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On
Saturdays the hours are from 9 a.m. to 9.30 a.m., 12 noon
to 2.30 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Sundays it
is open from 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to
8 p.m. At first the final hour of closing on week-days
was 10 p.m. ; it was subsequently altered to 9 p.m., and
is now 8 p.m. If circumstances appear to demand it,

1 It is a noteworthy illustration of the consistency with which
these aims have been pursued, that when some months ago
Alderman Fortune discovered that one of the brewers, acting
in conformity with a trade custom, had given the manager of
the canteen a Christmas present, he at once gave instructions
that no further orders were to be sent to that brewer.


the manager is instructed to close still earlier. On
" Mafeking " day, for example, the canteen was closed
early in the afternoon, and kept closed for the remainder
of the day. It is also kept closed after the annual
dinner at Christmas. In this respect the management
is closely modelled upon the practice of the Norwegian

The manager is not allowed to serve beer at other than
the recognised hours, nor is he, under any circumstances,
permitted to send beer to the men at work ; but he may
send tea, mineral waters, and other temperance drinks.
During a spell of hot weather last summer the men
petitioned to be allowed to purchase beer during work
hours. Alderman Fortune refused the petition, but gave
instructions for oatmeal water to be freely supplied to
men who desired it.

It is interesting as an indication of the extent to which
temperance drinks are sold that the manager sells from
forty to fifty pints of tea a day. At the time of our visit
he was also selling a fair quantity of mineral waters,
chiefly, however, in conjunction with beer. He stated
that the sale of mineral waters could not be " pushed "
to any considerable extent ; the men " know what they
want," and " resent being interfered with " in respect of
their orders.

No one is served with beer who shows the least sign
of drunkenness, and it is an interesting fact that so far
not a single case of drunkenness has been traced to the
canteen. There have been a few cases of drunkenness
in the village, but inquiry has shown that these were
always attributable to spirits purchased elsewhere.

The canteen itself is a somewhat rude wooden structure
with a concrete floor and furnished with benches and
tables. The bar proper is a plain compartment stretching


across one end of the building, and is only used for supply-
ing the orders. Liquor is not consumed at the bar.

There appears to be very little "off" sale, but what
there is is carried on at a window in a separate part of
the building, so that children or others fetching the beer
have no contact with the bar. Women are not served
in the canteen. The number of women and children at
the colony is, however, small.

No credit is given, nor are any games allowed in the

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Online LibraryJoseph RowntreeBritish 'Gothenburg' experiments and public-house trusts → online text (page 4 of 13)