« PreviousContinue »
at Norwood; a great number of people come down to see the building during places of rational the Sunday, and stop at the public-houses, where they get intoxicated, and relaxation on Sunday. make a great disturbance during the evening" (763). This is precisely what, in the neighbourhood of Chatsworth, used to happen during the period the grounds remained closed.
The prevention of the admission of the public to places of rational recreation Evasion of law as and instruction on Sunday arises from an Act of George the Second, which pro- to places of recreahibits money from being taken for admission to any place whatever on the tion on Sunday. Sunday; the Act is evaded at several music saloons and tea gardens, &c. by the sale of refreshment tickets being made to cover a nominally free admission; and it is openly broken at Greenwich Hospital, where a fee of 2 d. is allowed to be taken for admission on Sunday to the hall and chapel.
Your Committee cannot but remark upon the impolicy of suffering the con- Opinion of the tinuance of a law which is preventive only to those who will not stoop to Committee that devices for its evasion, and who from the excellence of their objects and the the national institutions, &c., should superiority of their position should, of all others, be exempt from such restric- be open on tions. The system that suffers the singing saloons of Manchester and Liverpool, Sunday. and Cremorne, and the Eagle Tavern Gardens, to be open on the Sunday, and shuts in the face of all but the proprietors and those who may have free admission the gardens of the Zoological Society, and the vast and varied school of "ocular instruction," provided within the grounds and building of the Crystal Palace, is scarcely consistent. But there are other places of public instruction, the complete closing of which throughout the Sunday seems to Your Committee still less excusable. The National Gallery, the British and Geological Museums, the exhibitions at Marlborough and Gore House, and other places of public instruction, are paid for by the nation; and it does not seem to Your Committee reasonable that these places should be closed upon the only day that it is possible for the majority of the population to visit them without serious loss.
attend on Sunday.
It has been objected, that to have the several national and other exhibitions The ordinary open on the Sunday, must of necessity deprive the servants of those establishments servants of such of their day of rest. It has been suggested to Your Committee that there are places need not numbers of persons who, if it were open to them, would gladly, at a moderate remuneration, volunteer their services for the Sunday after one o'clock, the hour at which it is proposed that all such places shall be opened; and Your Committee are not aware of any serious difficulty in the way of a register of persons, so willing to serve, being kept at the several institutions, or of such persons attending for a time as probationers, in order to make themselves thoroughly conversant with the requisite duties, and it would not then even be needful that the same persons should attend on consecutive Sundays.
Your Committee have also entered very fully upon the inquiry into the regu- Coffee-shops, temlation of temperance hotels, coffee-shops, &c., and have had sufficient evidence perance hotels, to satisfy them of the expediency of requiring that all temperance hotels, coffee- and other places of public refreshment shops, eating-houses, and shell-fish shops shall be required to be licensed. to have licences. Several such places are open during the entire night, are frequented, many of them, by bad and doubtful characters, and sell, under pretence of tea and coffee, spirits and other intoxicating drinks without any licence. Colonel Hogg states, that many shops in the country, professing to be coffee-shops, consume spirits; and in proof of the practice being carried on also in London, mentions that during his attendance on the Committee, he went to a coffee-shop at 20 minutes Intoxicating drinks past two on Sunday morning, and asked for some gin, and the man said, "Yes, sold at such you shall have it; but you must drink it out of a cup; we cannot give you a glass, or if the police come in, I shall be fined." This was the landlord; it was 20 minutes past two on Sunday morning, and the house was full at that hour; there was a little milk placed on one side in a cream ewer; and I was instructed, if the constable came in, to put a little of that into it (6865-6).
Sir Richard Mayne states that "the coffee-shops are represented as scenes of Disorderly conduct very great disorder and great mischief; there are greater scenes of disorder in of coffee-shops. coffee-shops than in beer-shops, arising from their not being under the same control as to closing at a particular hour, and being visited by the police." (217) And Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey says, 66 we find more violations of the law taking
Opinion of Committee that such houses should be placed under more strict police control.
Evil of licensing billiard-rooms at beerhouses, &c., to be kept open after the hours for closing for sale of beer, &c.
Opinion of Com
mittee that such rooms shall be
closed at the same hour as the publichouse or beershop. Theatres and other places of entertainment.
Unsatisfactory state of law as to London.
Penaltics for performance without licence.
place in coffee-houses which are not under the cognisance of the police than in
Performances are given without licence.
Your Committee have had their attention directed to the 8th & 9th Vict., c. 109, s. 10, under which licences are allowed to be issued by the magistrates at the annual licensing sessions, for billiard-tables and bagatelle-boards, and which, in addition to encouraging gambling, become the means of the houses being kept open after the legal hours. Sir Richard Mayne states, that " 184 licensed victuallers are licensed to have billiard-tables, and 972 to have bagatelle-boards, within the police district. Of the beershops, 142 are licensed to keep billiards, and 297 to keep bagatelle-boards. The superintendents of police state that one evil of the beershops having this licence is, that they are allowed to keep open later."
"The bagatelle-board licence admits of the house being kept open later than the beer licence; and there is a note made by the superintendent, It is an inducement for young persons to frequent these houses, and creates a tendency for gaming. The billiard licence to beershop-keepers authorises them to keep their houses open for play till one o'clock a.m.,' and they often evade in that way the general law applicable to them as beershop-keepers' (155–6).
Your Committee are therefore of opinion that no rooms of any beershop or public-house, licensed for billiards, bagatelle, or any other game, should be permitted to remain open after the hours for the closing the house.
The Lord Cham
other performances. Magistrates have also power.
The Lord Chamberlain has power to license places for certain performances berlain empowered in the Metropolitan District, and no play can be performed in any part of the to license all places kingdom, with the exception of Ireland, until it has been first submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, and licensed by him for performance. The 6 & 7 Vict. c. 68, confers on the magistrates, jointly with the Lord Chamberlain, the power of licensing theatres throughout the kingdom. The second section of the Act provides, "That, except as aforesaid, it shall not be lawful for any person to have or keep any house or other public place of resort in Great Britain, for the public performance of stage plays, without authority by virtue of letters patent from Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, or predecessors, or without licence from the Lord Chamberlain of Her Majesty's household for the time being, or from the justices of the peace, as hereinafter provided; and every person who shall offend against this enactment, shall be liable to forfeit such sum as shall be awarded by the Court in which, or the justices by whom he shall be convicted, not exceeding 201. for every day on which such house or place shall have been so kept open by him for the purpose aforesaid without legal autho rity." "It is considered that by this clause the power of licensing on the part of the Lord Chamberlain is not restricted to what is properly called a theatre, but embraces other buildings." (8196.)
As to theatres and other places of public entertainment, Your Committee find the law in a very unsatisfactory state. The 25 Geo. 2, c. 36, requires that "no house, room, garden, or other place shall be kept for public dancing, music, or other public entertainment of the like kind, within the cities of London or Westminster, or within 20 miles thereof, without a licence from the justices assembled at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions, under a penalty of 100l., and that such house shall not open for any of the purposes of the Act before the hour of five in the afternoon." The result of this provision of an obsolete Act is, that no morning musical performance can be given anywhere within 20 miles of London, without the device of patronesses to take it out of the definition of a public entertainment.
Mr. Norman Macdonald, superintendent of the department of the Lord Chamberlain, states, that "performances are given in unlicensed places, arising
from a defect in the Act, there being no particular person appointed for en
forcing the regulations and the penalties of the Act; the consequence is, that No authority emthe Lord Chamberlain does not like to interfere, and the police do not like to powered to enforce interfere." (8160.)
The imperfect definition of the term stage-play, given in the Act, enables Demoralising perpersons to have performances, some of them of a very inferior and demoralizing formances without character, in places that are not licensed. The Act declares "that the word 'stage- through defective plays' shall be taken to include every tragedy, comedy, farce, opera, burletta, definition of interlude, melodrama, pantomime, or other entertainment of the stage, or any "stage-play.' part thereof." This does not include concerts, songs, ballets, pose plastique performances by an individual, nor the exhibitions of what are termed judge and jury clubs. It is under this interpretation clause that the saloons in Manchester, Liverpool, and other towns produce performances in unlicensed places; and the best remedy for the inferior character of such performances is, that the said Act shall be amended, and that the magistrates shall meanwhile give it a liberal interpretation, and license all such places.
The sureties required, both in the case of saloons and theatres, seem to Your Distinction beCommittee to be ample. Mr. Macdonald states, "that the manager of a theatre tween saloons and is bound in the sum of 300/., and two sureties of 50l.; and the manager of a saloon is only bound in a surety of 2007., and two sureties of 50%; that is the only difference between a licence granted to a theatre or a saloon."
theatres in amount of bond given by managers.
Your Committee remark that the duties of the Lord Chamberlain's office seem to have been performed without any vexatious exercise of the right of censorship. Mr. Macdonald mentions" that in 1850, there were 230 submitted, and none rejected; in 1851, there were 228, and five rejected; and in 1852, 225, and three rejected. One was rejected from the very gross and monstrous nature of the incidents that were introduced into it, that were quite unfit to be put on any stage; they were grossly immoral; two were rejected at the time of the excitement respecting Cardinal Wiseman, on account of their proposing to introduce very offensive allusions to the Roman Catholics; and two of them were French plays, which had had a good deal of success in Paris, but which were still thought not very desirable to produce here." (8130.)
Exercise of censorship by Lord Chamberlain.
Mr. Macdonald states, that "a fee of 21. is paid for any play of three acts or Fees upon censormore, and of 1 l. for any play of one act and not more than three; the fee is paid ship. by the manager, after approval, and if the piece is rejected there is no fee paid.”
duty shall be substituted
performances shall be
for control of
Your Committee are, however, of opinion that the payment of fees for the Opinion of Committee licence to perform plays, or more strictly for the censorship of the Lord Cham- that an annual licence berlain, is open to objection. It would seem to be more advisable that a for fees on censorship, general licence for performances, sanctioned by the Lord Chamberlain, should be and that all places of issued annually to the manager, and that for the censorship, which should be licensed, and all percompulsory as to every performance, there should be no distinct fee. Mr. Ser-formances subject to jeant Adams, who has given a very minute consideration to the whole question of public amusements, makes the following suggestions:-"I would supersede the Suggestions by Mr. power of the justices to grant licences for public entertainments. The regula- Serjeant Adams, tion and management of the minor theatres has, by statute 6 & 7 Vict. c. 68, places of public been judiciously vested in the Lord Chamberlain, and two jurisdictions are amusement. therefore not required. This alteration would at once put an end to the most mischievous of all the effects of granting licences to public-houses, namely, the theatrical saloons. I would remove the prohibition against morning amusements, which I think needless, and even ridiculous. I would not make it compulsory upon the justices to grant licences for music and dancing, but authorise them to grant licences for both or either at their discretion. I would make it compulsory on them to grant licences for music to all housekeepers (not being licensed victuallers) with testimonials of character and securities for the good conduct of the house. I would prohibit them from granting licences for music and dancing to any licensed victualler within what may be termed the heart of the metropolis; that is to say, I would limit all such licences (when held in conjunction with ale and spirit licences) to public gardens and places in the suburbs ; and I would give a discretionary power to grant music licences to all publicans, and music and dancing licences to all other householders within the prescribed district, which I would limit to a reasonable distance from the metropolis, say the district of the metropolitan boroughs. I would place all these licensed
Opinion of Committee that the sale drinks should not be connected with places of public
Opinion that places for musical and other entertain
ment may be useful in the prevention of intemperance.
houses under the strictest surveillance and control of the police and justices, and establish penalties and forfeitures similar in character with those inflicted on offending publicans (and I would give the most ample powers to the police to enter into any unlicensed house and take the inmates into custody), and powers to the police magistrates of fine and imprisonment."
Your Committee are fully impressed with the importance of as far as possible dissociating places of public entertainment from the sale of intoxicating drinks. Dramatic and musical performances have a tendency, under strict censorship, to raise the character of the people, and there is evidence of a growing taste for such entertainments amongst the working classes, and which it appears to Your Committee may be made to serve as a powerful counter-attraction to the publichouse.
Your Committee have been impressed with the good effects of the Saturday evening concerts, such as take place at the Lord Nelson-street Rooms, Liverpool, which, on all occasions, are presided over by some person of note or respectability; and they are satisfied that were the example followed, and the means provided independent of public-houses, for the working classes to gratify their taste, especially for music, the result would be a diminution of intemperance, and the refinement of the popular taste.
Your Committee, on consideration of the whole of the evidence, and the public and private interests concerned, have agreed to the following Resolutions:
THAT no intoxicating drink should be sold without a licence.
That there should be one uniform licence for the sale of intoxicating drinks. That such licences should be issued by the magistrates at sessions holden for that purpose.
That it should be open to all persons of good character to obtain such licence, on compliance with certain conditions, and the payment of a certain annual
That every person, previous to obtaining a licence, should himself give bond, and find two sureties to be bound with him, for the due observance of the law and conditions upon which the licence shall be granted.
That the lowest amount to be paid for a licence should, in rural parishes and small towns, be 67.; in towns or parishes exceeding 5,000 and not exceeding 10,000 inhabitants, it should be 87.; and that, above 10,000, the price should be increased 21. for every 5,000 inhabitants; but that in no case should the price exceed 30%.
That in case of any conviction for breach of the law or condition of the licence, the sureties should be at liberty to give notice of the withdrawal of their names as sureties at the next licensing sessions after the date of such notice.
That in large towns and populous places there should be appointed inspectors of public-houses, and all places of public refreshment and entertainment, as in the case of common lodging-houses; and that such inspectors should constantly visit and report upon the condition and conduct of all such houses and places.
That in all cases of drunkenness, and riotous or disorderly conduct, such inspectors should, if necessary, have power to call in the assistance of the police.
That in all cases of trading during the hours prohibited by law, or selling liquors without licence, the persons found actually present should be deemed guilty of the same offence, and should be liable to a penalty not exceeding half of the penalty which may be imposed upon the proprietor.
That all coffee-shops, temperance hotels, shell-fish shops, and similar places of public resort, should be required to be licensed for their respective purposes, and should be subject to be visited and reported upon in the same manner as public-houses; and that the amount to be paid for every such licence should be
That any person selling intoxicating drinks without being licensed for their -sale, should be subject to a penalty, to be recovered before the magistrates, not exceeding double the amount required by law to be paid in that locality for a licence to sell intoxicating drinks.
That such publicans and beershop-keepers as are already licensed should not be required to find sureties, nor to pay any higher scale of duties than they are at present required to pay, and should be entitled to the renewal of the licence in every respect as at present; but should be visited and reported upon by the inspectors of public-houses, and should be subject to the same police regulations as are proposed with regard to future licences; and in case of conviction of any offence against the law, should be brought in all respects under the new rules.
That with the exception of the hours of from one to two o'clock p.m., and of from six to nine p.m., all places for the sale of intoxicating drinks should be closed on Sunday, and that on the week-days all such houses should be closed from 11 o'clock p. m. until four o'clock, a. m.
That no public theatrical or musical performance, pictorial or other representation or exhibition, should be permitted without a licence.
That it should be open to all persons to obtain such licence from the Lord Chamberlain, or other competent authority, on payment of a sum not exceeding 5 l. per annum, and on giving bond and sureties for the observance of the law and conditions of the licence.
That it is expedient that places of rational recreation and instruction now closed, should be open to the public on Sunday after the hour of Two o'clock, p. m.; and that so far as any such places are now closed by operation of law, such law should be so far amended as to enable the Lord Chamberlain, or other competent authority, to determine what places shall be permitted to be so opened, and for what length of time.
That the several laws relating to the regulation and licensing of beershops, public-houses, and places of entertainment, and the several provisions of the Police and Excise Acts appertaining thereto, should be consolidated and made to accord with these Resolutions.
13 July 1854.