Fracas at Kirkhamgate pub

Leeds Times
Saturday 21 May 1881


Yesterday, at the Wakefield Court House, nine Lofthouse colliers were charged with damaging the property of William Smith, landlord of the Gardeners’ Arms [Lindale Lane], Kirkhamgate. It appeared from the statement of Mr Lodge and the evidence of the witnesses, that on Saturday, the 7th instant, a pigeon match took place near complainant’s house, between two men named Pickersgill and Steele. Some dispute occurred, and afterwards a crowd of men came into Smith’s house. After they had been there some time, a disturbance took place, Littlewood, it was alleged, being the ringleader, and almost immediately afterwards glasses and pots were thrown about the place The landlord tried to quell the disturbance, on which two men took hold of him by the shoulder and actually pushed him out of his own house by the back door. They ran him up the garden, and his wife went for the police, on which the mob took possession of the premises. While the landlord was in the garden stones were thrown at him, and when he got back, after the crowed had gone away, he found the place in utter confusion, and eighteen glasses and ten pint pots were broken. Three or four holes were cut in the back door and the furniture was more or less broken. Mr Lodge added that when he was first consulted it was a question whether the prisoners ought not to be indicted for a riot, but it was decided to go on with the case of wilful damage – the complainant estimating the damage at the sum of 21s. 6d. – Two of the accused were discharged, and the others fined 5s. and costs.

The Gate or the Star: which pub gets the push?

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 3 March 1925


At the adjourned licensing sessions for the Lower Agbrigg Division at Wakefield yesterday the magistrates referred to the Compensation Authority the licences the Moulders’ Arms, Middlestown and the Prospect Inn, Altofts (beer houses), on the ground of redundancy.

The licences of the Gate Inn and Star Inn, Kirkhamgate, were both renewed for one year on the definite understanding that one of these licences must eventually go.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 4 June 1927


The following licence was referred for compensation without opposition Gate Inn, Kirkhamgate, Ardsley; licensee, W Hornshaw; owners, John Smith and Co.

Time finally called on Royal Oak pub

Standing on a site later occupied by Wrenthorpe Health Centre, the Royal Oak pub was at the heart of Potovens village life throughout the 1800s. Clubs and associations held their dinners and formal events there, and it was also the venue for most coroner’s inquest proceedings.

Despite its popularity, the pub’s owners couldn’t counter the force of the early 20th century Temperance Movement, nor was it deemed necessary to have so many pubs following the opening of Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club in 1901. There were three pubs in the village centre in close proximity – The Malt Shovel, New Wheel and Royal Oak – one of them had to go.

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 5 February 1907


The annual licensing meeting for the Lower Agbrigg Division of the West Riding was held at Wakefield yesterday, Mr Percy Tew presiding over a large attendance of members.

The Chairman observed that they had about an average number of public houses in the division, compared with other parts of the West Riding, but there were districts in the division where there were far too many public houses in proportion to the population.

The Justices were sorry to notice that whilst they were intrusted with very much larger powers of reducing the number of public houses there was a marked increase in the number of clubs, and there was not much encouragement to try to reduce facilities for drinking by a reduction of licences when they found the number of clubs increasing.

Apart from that question, however, they were of opinion there was a good number of public houses in the division which could be spared, and which were not required for the needs of the district. They were not in a position to deal with the question that day, but there were fourteen public houses, chiefly beerhouses, concerning which they had decided to consider at the adjourned Sessions a month hence whether or not they should be referred to the compensation authority.

The houses be considered at the adjourned Sessions are –Floating Light, Flockton Moor; Little Bull, Flockton; Farmer’s Boy, Flockton; Moulders’ Arms, Middlestown; Foresters’ Arms, Stocksmoor; Travellers’ Rest, Lofthouse Gate; Royal Oak, Potovens; Lord Nelson Inn, Carlton; Prince of Wales Inn, Carlton; Miners’ Arms, Ouchthorpe Lane, Stanley; Garden Gate, Stanley Lane End; Commercial Inn, Horbury; Ring o’Bells Inn, Horbury; Spotted Cow Tavern, Horbury Junction.

At the adjourned licensing meeting on 18 March, the Royal Oak was one of four pubs magistrates decided to refer to the Compensation Authority.

By early June the pub was among those publicised as having their licences refused and seeking compensation claims. Its landlord at the time was Thomas Walker, its owner The Tadcaster Tower Brewery.

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 10 July 1907 briefly reports the conclusions of the Compensation Committee, which was to pay the hefty sum of £1,608 for the loss of the Royal Oak’s licence. I wonder how the compensation was shared out between the brewery and the landlord.

The pub in the middle of nowhere

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Wednesday 31 May 1911


The principal meeting of the West Riding Licensing Justices was commenced at the Court House, Wakefield, yesterday to consider the advisability or otherwise of the renewal of licences to which objection has been taken on the ground of non-necessity…

There was no objection to the refusal of the renewal of the licence of the Gardeners’ Arms, Lindale Lane, Kirkhamgate, an ante-1869 beerhouse [a partially licensed pub]. Mr Cooke said there were three public houses at Kirkhamgate, which was equal to one licensed house for every 213 of the population. The two fully licenced houses were on the main road, but the Gardeners’ Arms was situated in an old by-road which at certain times of year was almost impassable. On one side of the house it was 900 yards to the nearest dwelling, and on the other side 120 yards.

More trouble at Wrenthorpe WM Club

Yorkshire Evening Post
Friday 22 September 1905


To-day, at Wakefield, Eli Bateman, miner. Wrenthorpe, and Albert Moorby, also a miner, of Wrenthorpe, were summoned for withholding or misapplying the sums of £29. 10s. 2d. and £11. 14s. 6d. respectively, the moneys of the Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club. The hearing of the case lasted some hours.

Mr J R Green prosecuted, and asked be allowed to withdraw the case against Moorby, who had repaid the money due from him as secretary the club.

The magistrates agreed.

Bateman was fined £1 and £1. 5s. 6d. costs, and an order made upon him to pay the deficiency, £31. 15s. 8d. in all, or two months’ imprisonment.

Beer scandal at Wrenthorpe WM Club

With the Temperance Movement at its height, cases like the following are hardly surprising. The authorities were keen to prosecute those who illegally sold beer. And, the tickets story just made matters worse. Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club had only opened the previous year, it operated from premises in Trough Well Lane.

Yorkshire Evening Post
Monday 29 September 1902


Considerable interest was evinced at the West Riding Court, Wakefield, to-day, in the hearing of charge of perjury brought by the police against four members of the Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club and defendant. Their names were Scott Clough, club steward; Isaac Brown, miner; Henry Hartley, miner; Alfred Hudson, club secretary; and Jane Wright, widow, all of Wrenthorpe. Mr E Lodge defended.

Superintendent Crow, in opening the case, said it was not often that a case of this character was brought into Court. There were often discrepancies in the evidence of witnesses, but even the police did not say that every discrepancy of evidence in court amounted to perjury. In this instance, however, it was not a case so finely drawn as mere discrepancy between the evidence for the prosecution and for the defence; and he thought, after hearing the witnesses, the Bench would come to the conclusion that the evidence given by these five defendants was a pure invention and pure concoction to defeat the ends of justice. He ventured to say, too, that by that evidence they did succeed in upsetting and defeating justice.

On 1st September charge was brought against Scott Clough, the steward and caretaker at the Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club, the complaint being that on 16th August he sold beer without a licence to persons he was not entitled to sell to. Detective-officer Wagstaffe, in his evidence, stated that the evening 16th August he was watching the club, and saw number of women, including Mrs Wright, go there and come away with jugs containing beer. When the women got to their respective homes there were no men, who might have been members the club, to receive the beer. For the defence witnesses were called to prove that the beer was sent for members, and, as substantiating that, in the case of Jane Wright there was actually produced an order purporting to be filled up and signed by Isaac Brown, Mrs Wright’s son-in-law. The order was in this form: “Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club – Please supply my mother with pint of beer, and charge to my account – I Brown.” Each witness spoke in one way or another to the ticket. Clough said the order was given to him at the time the beer was supplied; Isaac Brown said he wrote the ticket out in a fish shop; Jane Wright said she received it; Hartley said was handed to him by Mrs Wright at the door of the club; and Hudson said he was shown the ticket, and also stated that the tickets were in general use. As a matter of fact, however, he (Superintendent Crow) would call witness to prove that the ticket was not printed until after the alleged offence! On the day after the summons was served a ticket belonging to the Westgate Common Working Men’s Club was taken to a printer’s, and 1,000 similar tickets ordered, 100 of which were supplied next day.

Evidence bearing out Mr Crow’s statement was given.

Mr Lodge submitted that in the absence of any evidence to show that defendants or any of them were the parties who gave the order for the printing of the tickets in question, there was no case to go before a jury. Prisoners were committed for trial at the Assizes.

Coverage of the trial, which took place in early December that year, is taken up by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 17 December 1902

(Before Mr Justice CHANNELL.)

Perjury at Wakefield.

Scott Clough (30), club steward, was indicted for perjury at Wakefield, the 1st September last. Mr Harold Newell prosecuted, and Mr C Mellor appeared for the defendant.

Saturday, the 16th August, Police Constable Wagstaffe was on duty at Potovens, Wrenthorpe, where there was a working men’s club. He saw a woman named Wright go into the club, of which the defendant was steward, produce a jug, and get something in it. She handed to him something which sounded to him like money. Wagstaffe followed her home, and she told him that she often went to the club for beer, because it was nearer than the public house. He returned to the club, and charged the defendant with having sold beer without a licence. Defendant replied that it was all right; if there was anything wrong he would stand by it. On the hearing of the charge prisoner swore that on the night in question a man named Hartley, who was member of the club the time, brought a ticket to him, with a note. The note was headed “Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club”, and said “Please supply my mother with a pint of beer, and charge my account.” It was suggested for the defence at the trial that the ticket had been given to Mrs Wright by her so-in-law, that she went to the club with the ticket, which was given for the beer, and that no money passed, the woman simply acting as his agent. Just prior to the licensing prosecution, and after the commission of the alleged offence an order for 1,000 tickets was given to Mr Mclnnes, printer, for the Wrenthorpe Club, the specimen given being one of the Westgate Club. This specimen had belonged to a man named Raby. No such tickets, it was stated, had previously been printed for the Wrenthorpe Club. Prisoner told the magistrate that Jane Wright gave her the ticket, and Ike Brown, her son-in-law, paid for the beer afterwards. Supt Crowe said that when the defendant was tried for selling drink without a licence he put in the ticket, and the case was dismissed.

Mr Mellor’s defence was that there was nothing to prove that the Club was not in possession of the tickets before the prosecution for selling without a licence, and that the order to Mr Mclnnes was for a fresh supply.

The jury, after a long absence, returned a verdict of Guilty.

Isaac Brown (31), miner; Jane Wright (60), widow; Henry Hartley (46), miner; and Alfred Hudson (30), miner, were indicted for having committed a similar offence in connection with the same case.

Mr Mellor said that after carefully considering the case he had advised the prisoners to plead guilty, with the exception of Mrs Wright, who could neither read nor write, and might have been misled over the ticket.

No evidence was offered against Mrs Wright and she was acquitted. The rest of the prisoners were each sentenced to six calendar months’ hard labour.