In an effort to enforce the 'Licensing Act of 1902', the Watch Committee of the City of Birmingham started compiling information about local drunks in order to distribute it to the 250 pub landlords managed by the Holt Brewery.
Habitual boozers were placed on the list after receiving four convictions under the ‘Inebriates Act of 1898’ – for misdemeanours that included being ‘intoxicated to the point of complete incompetence’ (back then that was a ‘crime’, rather than a lifestyle choice) and ‘being found in a shebeen’ – pubs selling alcohol without a licence.
Each entry includes two photographs (front and profile), their name, alias, residence, employment, physical description, distinguishing marks, nature of conviction and the sentence received.
Thanks to the Holt Brewery’s efforts (and Ancestry.co.uk’s researchers for redistributing the list for interested parties in the 21st century), we now have a pretty comprehensive list of Brummie boozers from the turn of the last century. (Well, the working class ones, anyway...)
Whilst the details aren't always fun to read, it is interesting to look at faces that - under normal circumstances - would not have been photographed.
Name: James Doyle.
Occupation: Bricklayer's Labourer.
Peculiarities or marks: Two scars front of right forearm; crossed right eye.
Date and nature of conviction – 1st February, 1904. Drunk on Licensed Premises. Placed upon the blacklist. *
Name: Richard Flemming.
Aliases: ‘Dirty Dick’, ‘Dick the Devil’.
Occupation: Hawker and Newsvendor.
Peculiarities or marks: Pug nose.
Date and nature of conviction – 20th February, 1903. Drunk and disorderly. Twenty-one days hard labour.
Name: Minnie Osbourne.
Occupation: Japanner** and Charwoman.
Peculiarities or marks: Nose broken at the bridge; subject to fits.
Date and nature of conviction – 22nd June, 1903. Drunk and disorderly. Placed upon the blacklist.
Name: Walter Harrison.
Occupation: Boot manufacturer (retired).
Peculiarities or marks: Ruptured. ***
Date and nature of conviction – 19th June, 1903. Drunk and disorderly. Placed upon the blacklist.
Name: Alice Tatlow.
Occupation: Polisher and Prostitute.
Peculiarities or marks: ‘J.S.H.G. Nell’ - tattooed back right forearm. Prince of Wales’ Feathers – back right hand. Heart, clasped hands, and ‘True love, K.B.’ back left arm; star – back left hand.
Date and nature of conviction – 30th January, 1904. Drunk and disorderly. Placed upon the blacklist.
Name: Matthew Moran.
Occupation: Tube Drawer.****
Peculiarities or marks: Scar across cheek bone, scar across nose, two dots tattooed on back of right wrist.
Date and nature of conviction – 21st September, 1903. Drunk and disorderly. Placed upon the blacklist.
* - Entrants on the 'Birmingham Pub Blacklist' were no longer allowed to enter public houses in the city.
** - Someone who makes a living by varnishing wood, metal or glass.
*** - Sounds bad.
**** - Uncertain quite what this involves. For a list of possibilities, click here.
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