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100 years ago: Publicans and prelates

05 July 2024

July 4th, 1924.

IT IS a novel and almost exciting experience for us to find ourselves in agreement with Lord Birkenhead and the Bishop of Durham. In his speech in the House of Lords during the debate on the Bishop of Oxford’s Liquor Control Bill, Lord Birkenhead properly pointed out that the only road to true temperance is to make public houses agreeable clubs where men and their families can go without loss of self-respect; and we are glad to note that, in a speech at Sunderland, Dr. Henson advocated the policy of improved and better managed public houses. We need not repeat our criticism of Dr. Burge’s well-intentioned Bill, essentially a bad example of class legislation, but we would point out that, while famous physicians are emphasizing the beneficent effect of a moderate use of alcohol, the brewers themselves are moving along the road of real reform. Messrs. Barclay Perkins have recently opened what they call the Fellowship Inn in one of the outer London suburbs, where families can sit together at comfortable tables, eating and drinking like Christians and listening to pleasant music. The inn is indeed a valuable Christian institution, to be cherished and improved, and to be defended by the religious-minded from the assaults of the fanatic and the ill-informed. We confess that there is one new development in public-house amenities that we cannot approve. On Sunday evenings in a public house at Brentford the company can sit and drink their beer and smoke their pipes — and listen to a broadcasted sermon. There is a place for everything, and we trust that the people of Brentford will first attend their parish church and listen to the sermon, and afterwards discuss it in the local tavern.

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