Some history of the Market Vaults at Tamworth in Staffordshire
Located on the northern side of Market Street, the Market Vaults has played a central role in the history of drinking in Tamworth. The Market Vaults was once one of half a dozen drinking establishments scattered around the Market Place. The tavern has survived many changes in the street and, despite a few hiccups, remained a popular town centre pub in the early 21st century.
The Market Vaults was established in the Georgian period and could be a little older. From the street the Market Vaults looks a typical 18th century building with a 19th century bricked frontage. However, it is possible to walk up the entry on the west side of the building and examine the timber frames that held together the original structure. A better view of the historic building and its timber-framed rear wing can be achieved from the pub's beer garden. From there one can distinguish a 17th century building erected on a narrow plot similar to those allocated to burgesses in medieval times.
There is little evidence to suggest that the pub had a name in the late 18th and early 19th centuries but this was common practice for what was a wine and spirit vaults. Indeed, Tamworth had numerous in the Georgian period and often the houses went by the name of the owner. Nearby alehouses in the Market Place included the Staffordshire Yeoman and the Tamworth Arms but this drinking establishment specialised in wines and spirits.
The production and sale of spirits was boosted in 1690 when King William III dissolved the existing distiller's monopoly thus allowing the widespread proliferation of gin shops. Sourcing of wine was a little more complex, largely because of war. Imports from France were prohibited until 1831. Consequently, the vast majority of wines sold in England originated from Portugal and Spain. Wine from French vineyards did make it to the marketplace but this was through the extensive smuggling network along the East Coast.
The largest of the wine and spirit merchants in the Market Place was Thomas Cox. However, Samuel Wileman did his level best to catch up once he established himself at these premises. He and his wife Hannah were both Tammies and kept the vaults with their son William. Following Samuel Wileman's death in 1870 [see newspaper article], William took over the licence and continued the trade with his mother. They employed two servants including Charles Cast, a London-born waiter.
William Wileman eventually served the town as Alderman and, following the death of his mother, teamed up with William Ludgate to continue trading as a wine and spirit merchant. The son of a railway porter, William Ludgate was born in the Northamptonshire village of Weedon in 1861 and would later become a Wine Merchant's manager in Birmingham.
By the end of the 1870s the pub was trading as the Market Vaults. A weekly market held close to the Town Hall had been established in Anglo-Saxon times. Tamworth is quite unique in that it was granted a charter for two markets. The Staffordshire half of the town staged their market near the Stone Cross public house on the junction of Church Street and Colehill, whilst the Warwickshire market was held here in Market Street. In medieval times it was considered a serious offence to sell short measures at market so stocks and a pillory were positioned in the market place for offenders. Records for Tamworth show that, in 1294, Nicholas Alcus was found guilty of selling underweight loaves and, not being his first offence, he was shackled at the pillory where he was whipped.
The licence of the Market Vaults was transferred on June 13th, 1883, from William Wileman to William Eastland. He and his wife Emma had run the Albert Hotel in the previous decade. William Eastland hailed from the Kent and came to Tamworth to work as an assistant chemist at Frederick Ruff's pharmacy in George Street. He later moved his family to Stafford where he worked as a commercial traveller but it would seem that he was happier when behind the servery of a tavern so returned to the town to run the Market Vaults. He died in Tamworth in 1889.
In 1890, after years of working in other parts of the country and travelling overseas, Charles Cast returned to Tamworth to run the Market Vaults. The former waiter from Hackney had added wealth to his experience and, with the help of Durham-born William Hammond, was running the spirit vaults. A trade directory published in 1896 records Charles Cast as a wine and spirit merchant and agent for the City Brewery of Lichfield. This company was registered in 1874 and production was based on a site between Birmingham Road and Chesterfield Road. The brewery closed following a serious fire in 1916. In the following year the company, along with 200 tied houses, was acquired by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries Ltd.
The 1890s was seemingly a good decade for Charles Cast. He moved from the Market Vaults to take over at the prestigious Castle Hotel further up Market Street and was later elected Mayor of Tamworth. He was eldest son of Mr. Charles Cast, of Great Warley, Essex, and his wife Mary Anne, daughter Mr. John High, of Fakenham, Norfolk. He was born in the parish of St. John's Hackney, London, on August 21st, 1856, and was educated at the National Schools, in Paradise Fields, Hackney. He came, with his parents, to Tamworth, in October 1865, and was an errand boy at the establishment of Messrs. Abel Clarson and Sons, a drapery store in Market Street. For a time he was also engaged at the "Herald" printing works.
Charles Cast later entered the service of Mr. John Floyer, at Hints Hall, where he remained for two-and-a-half years. Subsequently he became an assistant at the stationery shop in Market street, conducted by Mr. J. Thompson, who later became a Roman Catholic priest at Oldbury.
Charles Cast left to take a responsible and confidential position in the service of George Harry Grey, seventh Earl of Stamford and Warrington, in which position he remained for nine years. He then became secretary to Mr. Leo Frank Schuster, with whom he travelled for nearly six years. During that period Charles Cast had the advantage of becoming acquainted with Italy, Austria, Germany, and some parts of Spain, and he had the unique experience of an earthquake, a railway accident in which eighteen lives were lost, and of escaping from drowning twice.
Charles Cast was elected Mayor of Tamworth in 1904 and 1907. After a successful business and political career he settled in West Haddon, Rugby, where he died in July 1943 aged 87.
In the mid-1890s the Market Vaults was kept by Thomas Withnall. This was a natural progression for the Burton-born licensee for he had earlier worked at the tavern for Charles Cast and William Hammond. He later managed the Red Lion Hotel at Atherstone.
Robert Yates was publican during the final years of the 19th century. He was a very popular publican and well-known figure around Tamworth. He was a native of Leigh, Lancashire, and was a mechanical engineer. He had held situations in various parts of the country, and in 1879, he came from Uttoxeter to Tamworth to take the position of engineer at Messrs. Fisher's paper mills, a post he held for eighteen years.
Robert Yates was exceedingly popular with his fellow employees, and on his resignation in 1897, when he became the tenant of the Market Vaults, they made him a presentation of a handsome timepiece and ornaments. For six years the publican was a member of the Glascote School Board. When the Local Government Act came into force in December, 1894, he was elected representative of Bolehall and Glascote on the Tamworth Board of Guardians and Rural District Council. He represented the Council on the Joint Weirs Committee, and the Joint Waterworks Committee.
Robert Yates died in 1900. On July 11th he was playing in a bowling match for the Tamworth Club at Aston, when, owing to the intense heat, he had slight stroke, but under medical treatment he regained his usual health, and was able to attend to his business and his public duties. On the following Friday night, however, about seven o'clock, he had another seizure, and though able to speak a few minutes afterwards, he relapsed into unconsciousness and died about one o'clock on Saturday morning. Along with his widow, five sons, three daughters and close family, the funeral was attended by representatives of the Tamworth Board of Guardians and Rural District Council, the Tamworth School Board, Tamworth and District Licensed Victuallers' Association, Tamworth Bowling Club, the Athletic Football Club, Tamworth Volunteers, and the Tamworth Amateur Swimming and Bowling Club.
Following the death of Robert Yates, his wife Sarah was allowed to remain as licensee for a short period before the family moved to Dent Street. Andrew and Christine Robertson took over in December 1900. The Scottish couple had moved south from Strickland Roger in Westmorland where Andrew Robertson worked as a steam engine fitter. Like his predecessor, the engineer worked at Messrs. Fisher & Co., Ltd., though only for three years. However, he made quite an impression at the company and, on his departure, was the recipient of a marble clock, with a suitable inscription, which had been subscribed for by fellow employees. Andrew and Christine Robertson moved into the Market Vaults with their four sons and two daughters which also accommodated two servants - barmaid Helen Hession and domestic Ethel Stock.
William Fern took over the helm in the mid-Edwardian period. He was a popular landlord as he had gained notoriety on the football field as a player for Tamworth Athletic Football Club. In October 1903, at a social event held by the club at the Jolly Sailor, he was presented with a gold medal and pipe in appreciation of his past services to the club. At the meeting, Mr. Woodcock alluded to Fern's transfer to West Bromwich Albion, and also to the "honourable manner which he had treated the Athletic." Fern's health was toasted with musical honours.
The Market Vaults has another 'Alderman' connection. After a spell running the Globe Hotel, William Dormer spent the World War One years in charge of the pub before moving with his wife Annie to the Tweeddale Arms close to the town's railway station. He was a highly respected gentleman of the town. Indeed, he was a councillor for Tamworth and became Mayor in 1925.
On his election as Mayor of the Borough, William Dormer had been member of the Council for seventeen years, and there was a general consensus of opinion, both inside and outside the Council, that he had brought to bear on the work of the town a practical and experienced knowledge of affairs, especially in relation to building and kindred trades, which had operated to the benefit of the ratepayers.
William Dormer was the youngest of six sons of Mr. Henry Dormer, of Caversham, Oxfordshire. Like his father and two brothers, Mr. Dormer took a keen interest in local government. He entered the public life of Tamworth in November, 1908, when he was returned to the Town Council. He was elevated to the Aldermanic Bench in March, 1915, and retained his position until January, 1942, when he retired owing to continued ill-health. He died in the Spring of 1943.
From the mid-World War One period Hamlet Yates was the licensee of the Market Vaults. He kept the pub with his wife Sarah. In 1923 the couple moved to the Park Inn at Kettlebrook from where Hamlet Yates also traded as a haulage contractor. They were succeeded by Francis and Ethel Knight. The latter was in fact the daughter of Hamlet and Sarah Yates. She had married Francis Knight at St. Editha's Church in September 1921. The bride, who was "tastefully attired in a brown costume and carrying a bouquet of white roses," was given away by Hamlet Yates before the couple embarked on a honeymoon in North Wales.
Archibald Biddle held the licence of the Market Vaults for a brief spell during the mid-1930s. He later worked the bar of the refreshment rooms at Tamworth's Cattle Market before running the Empire Vaults during World War Two.
For most of the 20th century the Market Vaults was an outlet for Worthington's ales. Signs for this company can be seen in the pre and post-war photographs. This brewery was founded in 1744 and brewed on a large site in Burton-on-Trent until 1967 despite having merged with Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton forty years earlier.
The Market Vaults once had a very good shooting team that competed in local competitions. Indeed, in June 1915, they were Champions of Tamworth and District Air Rifle League. The pub was also a meeting place for the Robin Hood Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. Dedicated by the Provincial Grand Primo, Bro. Mr. M. G. Brown, K.O.M., a 'new' lodge room was opened for the lodge in January 1937.
During the mid-late 1930s the Market Vaults was run by Thomas Maycock. A native of Lichfield, he had enjoyed a long military career and was well-known soldier. Serving for 21 years, he rose to the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major of the North Staffordshire Regiment. He saw active service in the Boer War and the Great War, and had seen a considerable amount of foreign service. He was member of the Licensed Victuallers' Association, the Robin Hood Lodge of R.A.O.B., the Territorials' Club, and Tamworth British Legion, in which he took a great interest. The soldier died at the Market Vaults in July 1939. He was survived by a widow and seven children.
In 2006 the Market Vaults was kept by Jane Martin. Originally from Fulham, she used to run the Pope's Grotto, a Fuller's pub in Twickenham. She moved up north when working for the East Midlands Electricity Board before re-entering the licensed trade by taking on The Salmon in Butt Close Lane, Leicester. Jane first came to the Market Vaults as a manager for Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries in 1996 and took over the lease in 2003. Many Tammies thought she was a diamond and readers of the Tamworth Herald voted the Market Vaults "Tamworth Pub of the Year 2005".
By the time of the above photograph the Market Vaults was operated by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries Ltd. Along with the Craven Arms at Birmingham and The New Junction in Darlaston, the Wolverhampton-based brewery acquired the Market Vaults in July 1991. Bass were forced to dispose of some outlets following the industry shake-up of the Beer Orders in 1989. However, in more recent years the pub has been taken over by Joule's Brewery.
The map above shows the large bank adjacent to the Market Vaults. There is still a bank there in the 21st century but, sadly, it was rebuilt in 1971. The building it replaced was an ornate classical structure used by the National Provincial Bank. The Tamworth Herald's John Harper described the bank as a building "imbued with Victorian values and respectability, propriety and discipline." He added that "despite the classical decoration, the building didn't belittle its lesser neighbours ... it seemed somehow to be protecting them." When the bank closed in October 1971 more than five tons of documents had to be transferred to the former Midland Bank in George Street whilst the new Natwest Bank was constructed. Many of the fine interior fittings were salvaged but widely dispersed. These included a five-yard section of the stair rail described as "probably the finest example of wrought-iron Victorian balustrade in Tamworth."
The shop next door to the Market Vaults is fondly remembered by Tammies. In most people's living memory it was the shop of the Coleman Brothers, an ironmongery business that offered unique customer service. These days the townsfolk have to endure self-service behind the frontage of the former Peel Arms Hotel further along Market Street. The old ironmongery next door has a lovely shop frontage topped with decorative ironwork. This elegant modification was commissioned by John Lee in the late Victorian period. He had taken over the shop previously run by the Butler family for much of the 19th century. Indeed, John Butler had himself altered the shop's frontage by adding two bay windows. Like the Market Vaults, the frontage hides a timber-framed building that is thought to date from the 1690s. The Coleman Brothers acquired the business after the First World War and for two generations offered individual service to the people of Tamworth.
A couple of doors away from the pub, on the other side of the ironmongery business of the Butler family, there was Allton's Stores. This retail business was started by Frederick Allton around 1886. He had spent his apprenticeship in the bakery trade before taking over the business of Messrs. Pimm in Market Street. Enjoying considerable success, he extended into the premises next to the ironmongery and offered a combination of groceries, provisions and confectionary. Advertisements in his shop windows promoted Danish Butter, Cured Bacon, Eiffel Tower Lemonade, Ginger Punch and Sockeye Salmon. Frederick George Allton became a prominent figure in public life and twice served as Tamworth's Mayor in addition to being one of the longest serving members of the Town Council. Aged 91, he attended his last council meeting two months before his death in March 1956. Alderman Alton had a pub connection himself for he was born in the Acorn Inn at Lichfield. However, he was a lifelong tee-totaller and a staunch supporter of the Band of Hope Union, a temperance organisation established in 1847. Many Tammies who bought cakes and buns in Allton's Stores during the 1950s may remember the smiling face of Dolly Redfern. She had married Alderman Alton's son Fred and worked in the shop alongside Joan Stubbs.
In Richard Sulima's "Around Tamworth" there is a photograph of the players for Tamworth Athletic Football Club outside the Market Vaults. This suggests that the pub was the base for the team that were the first winners of the Tamworth Charity Cup in 1894. The team included Albert Wood, Harry Davis, Jack Cough, Andrew Wright, Tony Woodcock, Tom Smith, Harry Richardson, Tom Grimshaw, George Hooper, Tom Lycett and Sam Proudman.
In 2012 the pub had a colourful inn sign showing a market beneath an open market hall. Indeed, the old Town Hall stands close to the Market Vaults. It is supported by wide stone arches, above which is a two-bay brick-fronted hall with large windows, a pediment and a high-pitched roof topped with a cupola. The Butter Market was once held beneath the arches. Dating from Anglo-Saxon times, a weekly market for the Warwickshire section of Tamworth was also held close to the Town Hall.
Related Newspaper Articles
"An inquest was held at the Castle Hotel, on Saturday last, before Mr. Dewes, coroner, on the body of Mr. Samuel Wileman, spirit merchant,
Market Street, who died suddenly, on the previous day. Mr. George Morgan, chemist said that he knew the deceased, whose age was 58 years. He was called to Mr. Wileman's
house about a quarter-past four on the evening of the 3rd inst. He found the deceased lying on the cellar floor, and apparently quite dead. He sent for medical
assistance. The deceased had frequently complained of difficulty breathing after slight exertion. Charles Gilbert horse dealer, Wigginton, said was in Mr. Wileman's
house between half-past three and four o'clock and the deceased then appeared as well as he had ever seen him. He heard shortly after of his death. Mr. Alfred
Sculthorpe, surgeon, said he was called in to the deceased after his death. He had made a superficial external examination of the body, and that examination and what he
had heard in evidence that day he believed deceased died from heart disease. The Jury returned a verdict to that effect."
Tamworth Herald : September 10th 1870 Page 4
"John Gannon, Church Street, was charged with being drunk and disorderly on Saturday night last and causing a disturbance in Market Street.
P.C. O'Brien said that about 8.20 p.m., on the 1st December, he was called into Eastland's Spirit Vaults to eject the defendant, who was very drunk and refused
to go away at the solicitations of the witness. Whilst in the street he dared the policeman to lock him up and swore and caused a crowd to congregate. The policeman had
cautioned him three times previously the same night. He was fined 5s. and costs."
Tamworth Herald : December 8th 1883 Page 8.
"John Milner, Church Street, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Market Street, on Saturday night last. P.C. O'Brien said
that about 11.20 on the night in question he saw the defendant in Market Street very drunk and wanting to fight with a soldier. Several respectable persons wanted to
lead him away, but he broke loose from them all and he was taken to the Police Station. Since his last conviction six weeks ago he had been teetotal and had only
broken the pledge at eight o'clock that night. It was his sixth appearance and he was fined 5 shillings and costs."
"Result of Breaking The Pledge"
Tamworth Herald : December 8th 1883 Page 8.
"Andrew Robertson, licensed victualler, Tamworth, was summoned for using a room on his licensed premises, the Market Vaults, for public
music and singing without a license on January 11th and March 19th, and other dates, contrary to the Public Health Amendment Act, 1890. Mr. J. Matthews appeared for
the defence. The defendant pleaded not guilty. P.C. Adams said he visited the room at 9.40pm on January 11th, when he saw a man named Brown playing a violin and
another man playing the piano. The room was full of people, who were singing. He asked the landlord how he accounted for the violin being there and the man playing
the piano. The landlord said he had not paid them; Brown brought the violin, and he [witness] might stop them if he like. On January 25th, at 10.15pm he
found a man named Walker playing the piano, and a man singing, the company joining in the chorus. On March 15th, he saw Walker again playing the piano, and the people
were singing. Walker was also playing the piano, on March 19th, and a man was singing. There were from 60 to 80 people in the room. The landlady told him the landlord
was away and would not be back till Good Friday. Inspector Marson here produced a poster announcing a smoking concert in connection with the Wednesday Football Club,
to be held in the room on March 19th, which the witness said he had seen publicly exhibited prior to that date. By Alderman Hare : He did not know whether Walker
was a professional player, but he played very well. Mr. Matthews did not cross-examine the witness. P.C. Lewis, P.C. Bradley, and P.C. Hulme gave evidence as to
music and singing being carried on on various dates. Mr. Matthews addressed the Bench, and stated that assuming the whole of the facts were true there was still no
case established against his client. It was clear by the terms of the Act of Parliament, that it was not sufficient to establish that a concert or public music or
singing had taken place on one occasion, the governing words of the section dealing with the matter showed that it was for the regulation of places ordinarily used
for public dancing, music, or other public entertainment of like kind. It was necessary to establish that the premises in respect of which the offence was alleged
came within the governing words of the section. If the case succeeded it would be illegal for anyone to sing "God Save the King " on licensed premises. It
had been held that no offence could be established, and no penalty imposed where the landlord himself did not organise the music and singing, and took charge of the
proceedings. Mr. Matthews quoted an appeal case, Brearley v. Morley, which was decided in the Court of Queen's Bench, on May 30, 1889, in support of his contention,
which he said was case on all fours with the present one, and in which the conviction was quashed. The defendant said he had a piano, but he did not make any charge
for it. Walker, who was a regular customer, came every night of the week, and was sort of "vamper." He had never paid him in money or kind for playing the
piano. He did not provide any music or singing whatever on any of the dates referred to. He had nothing to do with the arrangements for the smoking concert. Benjamin
Brown, painter, Tamworth, said at the request of one of the customers he played the violin on January 19th. He did not receive any payment. Edwin Frost, grocer's
manager, secretary of the Wednesday Football Club, said the committee of the club arranged the concert. The landlord let them have the exclusive use of the room.
Robertson did not take any of the admission money, which was for the benefit of the club. No performer was paid. Cross examined : They did not pay for the use
of the room on that occasion. Mr. Wales : There is one point I am not quite clear about. Is singing allowed in public houses at all? Mr. Matthews:
Certainly. Mr. Wales said the licenses were all quashed last year. Mr. Matthews said he did not want to refer to that as there was undoubtedly misconception in the
minds of many people as to the effect of that. John James Hartless, who was chairman at the concert, gave corroborative evidence. The Bench consulted in private for
sixteen minutes. On returning to Court, the Mayor requested the witness Frost to be recalled, and in answer to a question the witness said that the money paid for
admission was not returned in refreshments. The Mayor said the Bench were unanimously of opinion that the house had been conducted systematically, and had permitted
public music and singing in direct contravention to the decision and the wish expressed by the Justices at the last annual licensing meeting. The Bench decided that
there must be a conviction, which would be a fine of 40/- and costs. Mr. Matthews asked the Bench to state a case. The Mayor : Oh, yes, we shall be very
pleased to do that."
"Music and Singing Licences"
Tamworth Herald : April 12th 1902 Page 6.
"Edward Seal, shoemaker, Gungate, was summoned for having been drunk on the licensed premises of William Fern, Market Vaults, August 9th. Mr.
Breton [Longton] prosecuted on behalf of the police, and stated that defendant was allowed to remain on the premises about twenty-five minutes, although he
was under the influence of drink. Harriett Wright, married, of Bolebridge Street, said that at 8pm she went to the Market Vaults and saw Seal sitting near the counter.
Seal was the worse for drink. Because of something Seal did she went to the Police Station and returned with P.C Willetts. Seal was then seen vomiting in Smith's
passage. Hettie Elizabeth Smith, single, who accompanied the last witness to the inn, said Seal was the worse for drink. Defendant said he went to the inn at about six
minutes to nine, and he was out again before nine o'clock. P.C. Willetts said he saw Seal at 4pm on the date named, when was very drunk. Later in the day, from a
complaint received from Mrs. Wright, he went to Market Street at 8.50p.m. He saw Seal in the street leaning on the archway up Smith's Entry. Another man was
supporting Seal who was very drunk and vomiting. Seal said to witness: "Have I done anything wrong?" and witness replied "Not that I have seen but
you are drunk." The man and Seal went away together in the direction of Seal's home. It took the man all his time to keep Seal up. Defendant said he was quite
sober. He had had enough at 4pm, hut he had four and a half hours' sleep after that time. John Hatton, miner, the Leys, said he met Seal in Market Street about six
or seven minutes to nine, and they went together to the inn. He thought defendant had had some beer, but he was far from being drunk. He asked for a pint of ale, but
it was not served as the landlord said Seal had had enough, and he had better take him for walk. Witness did as he was requested, and took him to his sister's house.
Cross-examined: He did not see P.C. Willetts that evening. He did not know whether Seal was ill, because he had not his feelings [laughter]. Samuel Proudman,
tailor's presser, Halford Street, said he was in the bar of the inn when Seal entered with Hatton at about five minutes to nine. Seal was neither drunk nor sober.
Hatton called for a pint of ale, and the landlord said Seal had had enough, and that he had better take him for a walk. The men could not have been in the house more
than two minutes. Cross-examined: He was slightly related to Hatton. Mrs. Wright threatened to hit Seal on the top of the head with a jug. Mr. Arnold said the
Bench were unanimous that Seal was drunk and he would be fined 5s. and costs, 15s. 6d. Defendant: Is that all? [Laughter]. The Magistrates' Clerk:
You can pay more if you like."
"Drunk on Licensed Premises"
Tamworth Herald : September 9th 1905 Page 6.
"The Birmingham Football Association, consisting of Messrs. W. Hart, E. M. Mitton, Campbell Orr, and E. A. Hatton, sat at the Market Vaults
in Tamworth, Friday evening, to consider football in the Tamworth district. It was decided to form a minor association in connection with the Birmingham Association, to
consist of representatives of the various football competitions and clubs. All disputes, etc., will dealt with the local association. The proceedings were conducted in
private. A further meeting was held at the Market Vaults on Tuesday evening, when rules of the new association were framed, and ordered to printed. The radius over which
the association has jurisdiction is within ten miles of Tamworth. The association consists of one representative from each association or league, one appointed by clubs
affiliated to the Birmingham Association and not in any of the competitions, and three representatives of the Birmingham Association. Mr. W. Hart [Birmingham]
was appointed chairman, Mr. E. A. Hatton [Tamworth] vice-chairman, and Mr. J. G. A. Sharpe secretary."
Lichfield Mercury : February 22nd 1913 Page 5.
"William Fern, landlord of the Market Vaults, was summoned for permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises on August 9th. Mr. Breton
prosecuted, and Mr. J. Matthews defended. The defendant pleaded not guilty. Harriett Wright said she went to the inn at 8.10pm, with Miss Smith. Mr. Fern, supplied
her with a pint of ale. While she was at the counter her attention was directed to Seal, who was the worse for drink. Seal subsequently cursed her, and the landlord
told him that would do. On her going to the counter for another pint Seal spoke to her again and she told him to mind his own business. She and Miss Smith were at
the house for twenty minutes, and Seal was there all the time. While she was there she saw Seal empty a pint cup, and push it along to be supplied again. He was
supplied with another pint, the cup being filled by the defendant, and Seal paid 3d. for it. Cross-examined: She had brought a charge against Seal for an
offence, which was dismissed. She did not say then that Seal was drunk or that he was supplied drink. Hettie Elizabeth Smith gave evidence of a corroborative nature.
P.C. Willetts said he accompanied the previous witnesses to Market Street, where he saw Seal, who was very drunk and vomiting. Seal was being supported by another man.
Later in the evening he saw the landlord and told him that two women had complained of a man named Seal being drunk on his premises. The landlord replied that two women
had been in, but Seal was not drunk, and was not supplied with anything. Witness remarked. "Although you say he was not drunk, you did not supply him." The
landlord answered: "He did not ask for anything." At four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day he saw Seal, who was very drunk. Cross-examined:
When the women made the statement to him he did not take it down in writing at the time. Re-examined: The statement was written down later in the evening. Mr.
Matthews addressed the Bench, and said it was not sufficient if a man was drunk to support a conviction in that case, unless it could also be established that the
landlord permitted him to remain on his premises in that condition, without taking reasonable steps to get him out. It was quite impossible for a landlord to prevent
a drunken man entering his premises, and the law allowed him reasonable time for getting such a man away. He pointed out that the offence was alleged to have been
committed on August 9th but the summons was not taken out till August 26th. He submitted that the landlord took all reasonable steps to keep his house clear of a
charge of that kind. The defendant said when Seal and Hatton came in, he was just going into the smoke-room to deliver some drinks. The barman made a statement
to him on his return that he had refused to supply Hatton. He confirmed that action. Hatton afterwards asked him for drink, and he told him Seal had had enough, and
must leave. Hatton said "we are barred here we'll go where we can get some." The men then went out, not having been on the premises more than three minutes
at the outside. Cross-examined: He did not supply any drink to the men, but he served Mrs. Wright with a pint of ale. John Southall, barman at the Market Vaults,
said he refused to supply Hatton with drink because in his opinion Seal had had enough. Neither men were supplied with drink. Cross-examined: He supplied Mrs.
Wright and Miss Smith with a pint ale. They were in the house four or five minutes. It was nearly nine o'clock when they came in. Mr. Breton: You will surprised
to hear they were at the Police Station at 8.40pm. Witness: I should not be surprised at anything [laughter]. Samuel Proudman supported the statement that
Hatton and Seal were not supplied with drink. John Hatton corroborated. After a brief consultation Mr. Arnold said: The majority of the Bench have decided to dismiss
the case, but with that opinion I do not concur in the least. I think drunkenness was permitted, but the majority are against me."
"Charge of Permitting Drunkenness Dismissed"
Tamworth Herald : September 9th 1905 Page 6.
"A meeting of the Tamworth and District Air-Rifle League was held at the Market Street vaults, Tamworth, on Wednesday evening. Mr. J.
Harris presided. Mr. A. C. Cumbley was elected secretary in place of Mr. J. Tildesley, who resigned. It was announced that the following clubs would join the League
: Wolferstan Arms, Dog Inn Lichfield Street, Working-men's Club, White Lion, Prince of Wales, Market Street Vaults, Tamworth Working-men's Club,
Glascote Working-men's Club, and Dolphin. The closing date for entries is October 12th. Messrs. F. Godfrey and C. Hunt were appointed auditors. The balance
sheet, shewing a balance in hand of £2 10s. 2d., was passed."
"Tamworth and District Air-Rifle League"
Tamworth Herald : September 26th 1914 Page 8