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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

A HISTORY OF CARTERS' KNOTTINGLEY BREWERY
VOLUME TWO: THE PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY, 1892-1972

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION: THE NEW COMPANY

Late in October 1891, George William Carter, sole owner of Carters' Knottingley Brewery Co., took the first active steps to relinquish the proprietorship of the business established by his paternal grandfather almost a century earlier. (1)

The business was a prosperous one comprising the freehold site of the brewery and the adjacent residence of the Carter family, Lime Grove, occupying about eleven acres of land, and 66 tied public houses besides additional lands and properties. (2)

The factors prompting Carter's decision to sell the long established business are unrecorded but one may conject that the well educated, substantially wealthy Carter was influenced by the myriad socio-economic changes which had occurred during almost two decades of his proprietorship and was becoming somewhat alarmed by the rapidly increasing pace of change and its attendant costs.

An increase in the consumption of beer from the 1860s had resulted in a corresponding increase in plant capacity and the number of retail outlets to cater for the rising demand. (3) However, a significant decline in consumption was discernible during the 1880s as changes in lifestyle amongst the labouring classes made demands on limited income. The mass manufacture of garments and of consumer goods saw the introduction of cheap ready to wear garments and packaged foodstuffs of guaranteed quality. In tandem with such developments were improvements in the supply and quality of domestic water supplies and sanitation which not only promoted the standard of public health but also generated a more optimistic psychological outlook among an element of the public which had to a great extent sought solace in drink as the only perceived escape from the grim realities of daily life. Developments in other areas of social life such as the advent of regularised sporting fixtures, cheap railway excursions, together with public entertainment's such as music hall, theatre, travelling circuses and fairs and public access to parks, gardens and pleasure grounds, presaged the appearance of the gramophone and cinematograph and vied with public houses as centres of relaxation and entertainment. The effect of the Education Act of 1870 and the spread of elementary education was seen in the establishment of mechanics institutes, public libraries and the growing public demand for reading material and generated a movement for self-improvement amongst an element of working class people. By the 1890s the developing trends had combined to undermine the dominant position hitherto held by public houses as centres of social recreation and entertainment. In addition, the long established and relentless, increasingly strident but effective campaigning of the Temperance Movement at national and local level, drew attention to the often dismal and insalubrious nature of inns and the injurious effects of intoxication, undermining the attraction of the pub and diverting revenue from licensed premises. (4)

From a purely economic perspective, there was a growing need for commercial appraisal. The last quarter of the nineteenth century was a period of increasing deflation and while Carters' Knottingley Brewery Co. returned a healthy annual profit throughout the period the potential profit margins were increasingly endangered by the deflationary effect on prices. The potential threat could only be nullified by the expansion of market share via the acquisition of further retail outlets, either leasehold or freehold. However, given the scope for such expansion, a fact by no means assured as business competitors pursuing the same course boosted property values, an increase in market growth demanded a parallel increase in the volume of production. The desired consummation therefore depended upon improvements and additions to existing plant.

Such measures in turn were dependant upon adequate capital the procurement of which placed increasing strain upon the financial resources of individual proprietors such as George William Carter. Furthermore, the fluctuations and uncertainties of market forces constituted an increasing risk for capital investment in plant and was slow to yield dividends while, ever present, lurked the spectre of insolvency. Nor could wage reduction be applied to offset capital expenditure for while in real terms basic earnings provided greater purchasing power than hitherto, attempts to reduce wages carried the risk of provoking industrial conflict as the spate of trade disputes in 1892-93 testifies.

Despite countermeasures by brewers and publicans to stay the decline in the consumption of alcohol, such as the formation of local licensed victuallers associations and social and extra parliamentary representation and propaganda by regional brewers' associations and allied interest groups, (5) the eventual settlement in the level of consumption was considerably lower than that of previous decades and was the prologue to an increasingly difficult period of trade as year on year consumption fell by an average of 14% between 1899 and 1909. (6)

Nevertheless, the trade done by small provincial breweries remained generally profitable throughout the above period. It has been calculated that the production of a mere 25 barrels per week would return a profit of £237 while five additional barrels would provide £352 and 35 barrels would produce a profit of £500. Yet despite holding 70% of the overall trade, few provincial breweries had a productive capacity of 40,000 barrels per year, a minimum of 10,000 being the threshold of profitability. (7)

It was against this background that G.W. Carter made his decision to sell. The most significant factor was, perhaps, the realisation that the long-term viability of his business was dependant upon the injection of a large amount of capital which could only be obtained by conversion of the business from a privately owned to a public limited company, or, alternatively, by the absorption of the existing company into a group of breweries through the process of amalgamation.

Following a tentative but abortive merger attempt with the Wakefield & Leeds Breweries Co., it was decided in 1892, to establish a new limited company. (8) The negotiations which preceded the formation of the new company are, unfortunately, not a matter of record. It is not known, therefore, when discussions first commenced nor why the project had such an influentially Sheffield bias in its composition, although the geographical proximity of the Midlands brewing industry and the long established links of the Carters with the city of Sheffield may provide indications. (9)

The new company was specifically formed to acquire, continue and extend the old established brewing, malting and wine and sprit business, including management of its licensed hotels, public houses, beerhouses and off licence premises, and proposed to trade under the title of Carters' Knottingley Brewery Company Ltd., thereby ensuring for itself the benefit of the social and commercial reputation developed by three generations of the Carter family.

The agreed purchase price was £170,000 of which the sum of £70,000 was to be obtained by mortgage of a portion of the company's freehold properties at 4% interest per annum. The balance of £100,000 was to be obtained by the issue of Preference Shares at 6% per annum interest and an equal sum was to be raised by means of an Ordinary Share issue.

Allotment of the Preference Shares was on the basis of payment of £1 per share at the time of application, a further £4 upon allotment and a further £5 per share to be paid by the 15th June 1892. It was proposed to call up £5 per share of the Ordinary share capital with 10 shillings per share payable upon application, £2 upon allotment and £2-10-0 by the following June, thus leaving an uncalled capital sum of £50,000 in reserve for the further development of the business.

Dividends on the Preference Shares were to be paid half yearly and an annual dividend was to be paid in respect of Ordinary Shares, albeit with provision for the declaration of an interim dividend if desired. Additionally, the interest on Debenture Stock was to be paid twice yearly.

The directors of the new company were three in number. John Charles Harvey of Eccleston Hall, Prescott, was the designated chairman of the company and was scheduled to join the Board following the share allotment. Harvey, formerly of P & R Phipps Brewery Co., Northampton and Towcester, was to apply his practical knowledge of the trade by assuming personal responsibility for the brewing department of the Knottingley Brewery, residing on the site in the adjacent Lime Grove premises, the soon to be vacated residence of the Carter family.

The financial affairs of the new company were to be under the supervision of William Henry Camm, chartered accountant. Camm was a senior partner in the firm of Camm, Metcalf & Co., which had offices at 17, Bank Chambers, Fargate, Sheffield and also at Coleman Street, London. (10) In addition Camm was also a director of Strouts Brewery Co., Sheffield and thus held an extensive knowledge of the brewing trade. (11) The third Director of the new company was Charles Edward Jeffcock of Sharrow Grange, Sheffield. (12) A mining engineer and a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, Jeffcock was associated with the Sheffield Coal Company of which he was Managing Director. Jeffcock was also on the boards of the Dinnington Main Coal Co. and the Aston Coal Co. and also had interests in the Rhodesian Town Purposes Co., South Africa. (13)

Solicitors to the new company were named as Smith, Smith & Elliott of Meeting House Lane, Sheffield, a company which together with Camm, Mecalf & Co., was destined to make a significant contribution to the composition of the Board of the Knottingley Brewery Co. Camm, Metcalf & Co. were the proposed auditors of the new concern, their premises providing a temporary location for the registered office of the Knottingley company, together with Joseph Arthur Darwent, an employee of the auditors, serving in a temporary capacity as company secretary to the new brewery during the formative period of the firm. The company bankers, the Yorkshire Banking Co., had approved a £15,000 overdraft in the form of a special loan account at 4% interest, per annum, with the Company's property being held as security. In addition a £12,000 casual overdraft, charged at 5% interest per annum was made available via the Company's Current Account. (14)

To suit the convenience of prospective purchasers the share allotment was handled jointly by the Yorkshire Banking Co. and the Sheffield Union Banking Co. There was no shortage of applicants for notwithstanding the difficulties experienced by the licensed victualling trade in general, the profits of the privately owned Knottingley Brewery Co. for the three years prior to the public flotation were:-

1889 £7,791
1890 £9,999
1891 £11,792

and the rising trend was maintained during the first quarter of 1892. (15)

In stressing the potentiality of Knottingley Brewery in terms of ease of communication and urban development the promoters of the concern reinforced the economic viability by issuing comparative figures quoted by the Sheffield Stock Exchange concerning undertakings of a similar nature, viz:-

Truswells Brewery Co., Ltd £11 shares £28-0-0
Tennants Brewery Co., Ltd £20 shares £24-0-0
Strouts Brewery Co., Ltd £10 shares £7-10-0
Strouts Brewery Co., Ltd £10  6% Preference Shares £11-10-0  (16)

The recommendation of the proprietor of the Pontefract Advertiser that "Our readers who are disposed to invest may do well to thoroughly consider the offer of the promoters." was fully heeded. (17)

The public reaction was encapsulated by the Advertiser editorial which stated: "Either money is particularly plentiful just now or the public recognise a sound investment when they see it for we hear that a great many more than the full number of Ordinary shares in Carters' Knottingley Brewery Co., Ltd., have been applied for .....It is satisfactory to note also that the Preference Shares are largely in demand." (18) By mid May, the shares were fully subscribed and the contract of sale ratified, signed and sealed following investigation and approval by independent financial advisors.

With the completion of the contract pre-arranged measures were effected. In compliance with the terms of a letter written by George William Carter, dated 25th April, 1892, the previous manager of the Knottingley Brewery, Edwin Lawson, was offered and accepted, the additional position of company Secretary at a salary of £325 per year. (19)

For reasons of financial expediency the purchase of Carters' Knottingley Brewery Co., had been undertaken in personal capacity by J.C. Harvey who had paid £10,000 of his own money as the deposit, subject to contract, and a further £20,000 prior to completion of the sale. (20)

The initial list of shareholders shows Harvey in possession of 3,712 Ordinary shares and 14 of the Preference stock. The Carter family, although relinquishing ownership of the business nevertheless retained a financial stake. Apart from the long-term mortgage loan of £50,000 made by George William Carter to ease the transition of the Company to public status, his wife purchased 169 Ordinary shares and 51 Preference shares, whilst his father's widow, Hannah Martha Carter, held 109 Preference shares. A further 50 Preference shares were held by George Carter's sister, Jane Jackson, being transferred to her name by Carter's wife, E.M. Carter. (21)

In compliance with the demands of the Companies Act 1867, the initial meeting of the shareholders was held within the space of four months following the registration of the Company, being held on Wednesday, 3rd August, 1892, at Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield. The meeting revealed that a financial hiccup had occurred due to reconsideration by the Yorkshire Banking Co. of the degree of collateral security offered by the new company in return for funding by the Bank. The Company's solicitors reported that negotiation with the bankers was deadlocked. Aware of the likely damage, in both a practical and psychological context, the Board instructed the Company solicitors to seek immediate acceptance of their terms and if rejected to seek an accommodation with the Sheffield Union Banking Co. (22) Failing to reach an agreement with the Yorkshire Banking Co., the legal representatives of the new company approached the Sheffield bank who accepted the proffered securities with the addition of two further properties, the Royal Oak Inn, Knottingley and the Pine Apple Inn, Pontefract. Consequently, the account of the new company was transferred to the Sheffield based bank with the exception of £5,000 which was retained at the Pontefract bank for contingency purposes.

The properties offered as security were held in the name of the Debenture Stock holders who appointed two of their number, Mr Sydney Smith and Mr Colin Mackenzie Smith of Smith, Smith & Elliott, as Trustees to liaise with the board of directors in matters pertaining to the mortgaged properties.

The financial accommodation afforded by the Sheffield Banking Co. enabled clearance of outstanding debts, thereby sealing the purchase of Knottingley Brewery and its associated properties and stock.

Of the creditors, £8,400 was paid to George William Carter in respect of the sale of his brewery interest and the Lime Grove property, whilst a further £50,000 was set aside in lieu of repayment of Carter's loan to the new company. J.C. Harvey was owed £30,000, comprising £10,000 paid as the deposit on the purchase of Knottingley Brewery Co., and a further £20,000 which was money due from the new company but unavailable at the date fixed for completion of the sale because of the delay in obtaining funding by the Yorkshire Banking Co. Minor creditors were Charles Carter and John Ramsey Monkman, both of whom had minimal association with the former private company through relationship with G.W. Carter, receiving £1,600 between them. (23)

Having cleared the financial hurdle, the new Board structure was formalised with J.C. Harvey as Chairman, Managing Director and Brewer at an annual remuneration of £600., with residence at Lime Grove. Of the co-directors, Camm and Jeffcock, the former was designated Financial Manager at an annual remuneration of £250 with the stipulation that he spend one day per week at the Brewery as from the date of the completion of the purchase. Camm had in fact, already entered upon his duties for at the time of his formal appointment he reported the purchase in his own name but on behalf of the Brewery, of the Star Inn, Lofthouse, Wakefield for the sum of £1,800. (24)

The nature of Jeffcock's functional duties is somewhat obscure and he appears to have played an active but minimal role in the affairs of the new company. Not only does he feature less in company records than his fellow directors but he received substantially less than them in directors' fees, receiving £50 when fees were paid in March 1893, compared with Camm's £125 and Harvey's £150. (25) Jeffcock's expenses incurred in undertaking company business and for attendance at Board meetings were also minimal, suggesting that his role was more that of an influential figurehead and advisor than one concerned with routine duties. (26)

At a Directors' Meeting held on the 27th August, 1892, the day following the formal appointment of the Board, the deed of conveyance of the Brewery, properties and the goodwill from G. W. Carter to the new company, together with the transfer document from Harvey to the company, were signed and sealed. A balance of £6,081-16-9 was released for payment to Carter, enabling the company to take immediate possession of the Brewery and its effects in accordance with the contract of sale. (27) It was not, however, until the 1st January 1893 that the registered office of the new company was transferred back to Knottingley Brewery from its temporary location. (28)

The appointment of Edwin Lawson as secretary of the public limited company freed J.C. Harvey to become chairman of the board of directors and take direct charge of the brewing operations and fulfilled Carter's desire to see Lawson suitably recompensed for his loyal and efficient service prior to the formation of the public Company. However, if the position of Edwin Lawson had been safeguarded in the negotiations resulting in the sale of the brewery, no such provision had been made in respect of Mr Gillatt, the brewer, who was given notice to quit with immediate effect, receiving four weeks' wages in lieu of notice and thereby becoming the first casualty of the policy of the new regime and a sad reflection of the diminished status of the head brewer compared with only a few decades earlier. (29)

Gillatt's post was taken by J.C. Harvey who, as noted above, took up residence at Lime Grove, the former home of the Carter family, located adjacent to the brewery. (30) A vestige of the Carters remained for during their years in residence a fine stock of wine had been laid down in the cellars and this was the subject of a private agreement between Harvey and G.W. Carter whereby the stock was allowed to remain for the space of one year while Carter made arrangements for its eventual removal. (31)

Upon taking up possession of Lime Grove Harvey paid £75p.a. rent and assumed personal responsibility for its maintenance but when he relinquished the post of managing director and chief brewer in November 1893, it was decided that as he had spent so much money on repairs and improvements he should continue in occupation as long as he remained a company director and that henceforth the rates would be paid by the company. (32)

Following the death of Harvey in 1905 the property was vacated by his widow and remained unoccupied for a number of years although part of the property continued in use as the brewery office. (33) In May 1911 Mr Arthur Hartley, a Castleford based architect, was asked to undertake a survey of Lime Grove and its grounds and present a development plan to the board of directors. (34) Little came of the proposals, however, until May 1913 when a ten year lease of the house and the lodge at the estate entrance was signed by Mr Tom Jackson, a founding partner of Jackson Bros., glass manufacturers of the Headland Glassworks, Knottingley. Under the terms of the leasehold rent of £45 was payable for the year ending 30th September 1914 and £55 per annum for the remaining term. (35)

Despite its general profitability the financial structure of the brewery company was weak. Reliance on commercial and private loans at fixed interest rates rendered the company vulnerable to financial crisis arising from market fluctuation.

From the time of John Carter's assumption of control in 1836 an increasing number of private loan agreements with fixed rates of interest and secured by mortgaging land and property had supplemented the profitability of the company and resulted in the acquisition of real estate in cases of defaulted repayment. (36) The number of such transactions had decreased considerably under the proprietorship of George William Carter as legislation was introduced to control banking and assist the development of the commercial infrastructure occurred and the trend was only discernable within the new company as an inherent feature arising from the transfer of aspects of the business of the former company to the new one.

Thus, in September 1900 the company obtained seven cottages situated at Little Reedness in consequence of a debt default (37) while repayment of mortgaged loans in respect of the Jolly Sailor Inn, Knottingley, which had commenced in the mid nineteenth century continued long after the establishment of the new company. (38)

Under the new regime capital was obtained from the investment of hundreds or the low thousands of pounds by members of the public. The capital was invested for a stipulated period of years but usually of short duration and subject to repayment in full or in part by minimal notification. (39) While repayment of relatively small sums posed no threat to financial stability the company was aware of the potential danger arising from the withdrawal of large amounts of invested capital. Such was particularly the case with regard to George W. Carter who, as noted above, had lent the sum of £50,000 to facilitate the launch of the public limited company in 1892. The loan had been repaid the following July but the money had subsequently been reinvested at 4% per annum. Temporary suspension of interest due to Carter in September 1896 pending "further arrangement" indicates Carter's prior notification of the withdrawal of his investment (40) and although an accommodation was reached which staved off a financial crisis at that time renegotiation of the loan brought only postponement of the problem for in October 1900 Carter gave further notice of withdrawal of the loan. (41)

The company directors instructed their solicitors, Messrs Smith, Smith & Ellott to endeavour to obtain the transfer of the brewery mortgage through their London agents or by any other means and meanwhile Camm and Lawson were delegated to visit Carter at his Scarborough home to try to obtain an extension of the period of investment or failing that, seek favourable terms for the repayment of the company debt. Carter acceded to the plea of the delegates, agreeing in principal to a temporary extension of the loan at an enhanced rate of interest and staged repayment, thus helping to avert an immediate crisis in company affairs. (42) Subsequent correspondence between the parties reveals that the interest on the loan was increased to 4½% from the date of expiration of the notice of withdrawal with the first of a series of staged repayments taking place as soon as possible thereafter. (43) Meanwhile, the board commissioned a prospectus for a further issue of debenture shares to the value of £50,000. (44) It was further decided to seek an accommodation loan of 25,000 from the Sheffield Union Bank to back up the issue. (45)

Following securement of the loan Carter received £25,000 in June 1901 and a further £5,000 in September, paid out of money raised by the sale of the debenture stock which at that date had raised £32,000. (46) A further sum of £5,000 was repaid to Carter in September 1902, followed by another £5,000 in March 1903. (47) The outstanding balance of £10,000 was cleared on 27th July 1903. (48)

While no other loans or investments were of the magnitude of George William Carter's, the experience had revealed the fragility of the company finances and the difficulty in countering such a situation.

The leasehold agreement was one of several decisions taken by the brewery directors in an effort to raise money to obviate an immanent financial crisis which had threatened the company almost from the start of its establishment. In this connection a somewhat puzzling event occurred in November 1894 when the directors agreed to transfer the company trade mark, first registered by Carters in 1877, to the firm of John Sanderson & Sons Ltd., Heymarket Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne. (49)

The circumstances concerning the proposed transfer are unrecorded but it is not improbable that the Board regarded the trade mark, a Talbot dog above the monogram J C & Co., which had been adapted from the Carter family coat of arms, was too personalised and outdated for the image of the new limited company. The Knottingley Brewery Company may therefore have regarded the trade mark as a disposable asset which could be sold to boost the cash flow at a time of immanent financial crisis. For their part, Sandersons may have regarded the ownership of the trade mark a conferment of status and an enhancement to their business, hence their desire to purchase the same. The question of how the Newcastle firm became aware of the availability of the trademark or why it was considered more desirable to re-register an established trademark rather than obtaining one newly designed remains a mystery but whatever motivated the two companies the plan never came to fruition for there is no record of any abridgement or transfer of ownership of the mark. (50) The probable reason may lie in the rapid process of amalgamation within the brewery trade at that time, particularly in the north east of England.

Established in 1850, John Sanderson & Sons Ltd., flourished and by the mid 1890s in addition to the Heymarket Brewery, owned the Hotspur Hotel and adjacent shops plus 26 tied public houses, making the company an obvious target for business predators. Following the death of the founder, John Sanderson, in 1896 the assets of the company were acquired by the recently established amalgamation known as the Newcastle Breweries for the sum of £206,000. The ensuing loss of independence by Sandersons presumably resulted in the curtailment of the negotiations to purchase the Knottingley Brewery trade mark. (51)

The state of the company's finances was raised by W.H. Camm at a board meeting on the 25th July 1904. A proposal that a call of £1 per ordinary share be levied on shareholders, payable at the Pontefract branch of the London City & Midland Bank the following month, engendered a long discussion as a result of which it was decided that Camm and Jeffcock should confer with Mr F. Smith and seek his advice as to whether to implement the proposal or seek further financial assistance from the said bank or some other banking company. The proposal appears to have been adopted for on the 1st October 1904 a call of £1 per share was made, (52) the measure having been approved by the debenture holder Trustees in a memorandum dated 27th August 1904 containing their consent to the demand on the uncalled capital. (53)

The financial crisis does not appear to have undermined public confidence in the company and the strength of its market position was reflected in the dividend of 9% tax free paid to ordinary shareholders in November 1904. (54)

A further source of income accrued to the company through the sale of land, property and mineral rights regarded as surplus to requirement and therefore disposable. As early as 1896 the company sold 1,089 square yards of land adjacent to the Bradley Arms, Featherstone, to George Pflister, the licensee. The sale excluded the mineral rights which had been the subject of a conveyance in 1891, indicating the need of George Carter to raise money in an increasingly competitive commercial climate and providing an insight into the developing situation which resulted in the establishment of the public limited company and the financial pressures to which it was heir. (55) Similarly, in 1899 land alongside the Half Moon Inn, Reedness, was sold to one John Dixon for £45. (56)

The sale of defunct inns and their hereditaments was a regular feature from the late 1890s as the company sought to replace old, run down public houses with new, modern licensed houses on greenfield sites in proximity of developing urban areas. Anchor Yard, Knottingley, containing two dilapidated cottages was sold for £8 to Mr. J.H. Bentley in Autumn 1896 (57) and a cottage in the nearby Wagon & Horses Yard was sold to Mr. J. Wray in 1908 following a decision by the board to sell off all company owned unlicensed properties. (58) Arising from a survey undertaken that year by Camm and Lawson in conjunction with the Knottingley auctioneer and valuer, J.H. Bentley, the Rising Sun Inn together with seven adjacent cottages was sold to Mr. F. Howdle for £580. (59)

In November 1905 Edwin Lawson negotiated terms with the Featherstone Main Colliery Co., concerning the sale of coal measures underlying the Sun Inn, North Featherstone. (60) Conversely, in 1908 a report was commissioned by the company from A.S. Denton & Co., regarding coal deposits under the Old Hall Inn, Great Houghton. Unspecified recommendations by the surveying company were subsequently approved by the brewery directors. (61) However, no immediate action was taken until July 1911 when the brewery agents began negotiations with the Marquis of Crewe and others, culminating in the purchase by the company of 6 acres 2 roods 1perch of land on the site of and adjacent to the Old Hall Inn.

The transaction included the sale of the mining rights to the underlying coal measures known as the Shafton Seam together with all other mineral deposits but excluding the underlying Barnsley Seam. The cost to the company was £1,800. (62) Given the company policy of easing its cash flow by the sale of extraneous items of land and property, the purchase of the land at Great Houghton with its accompanying mineral rights can only be regarded as a move undertaken as either a short term investment or to acquire ownership of the land to facilitate eventual development of the site of the Old Hall Inn. Amongst minor assets disposed of by the brewery company was the sale of ten shares in the Castleford Conservative Club which raised the sum of £100. (63) The holding was doubtless a legacy from the Carter era as indeed, was the acquisition of the Knottingley Conservative Association as sitting tenants in rooms forming part of the Aire Street Hotel, Knottingley. (64) Under the new regime the Association seems to have enjoyed a less accommodating relationship than that applicable under G.W. Carter for despite the allegiance to the political ideals of the Association by the board and management of the new company, it was decided in March 1897, to give three months notice to the Association that non payment of arrears of rent would result in the issuing of a warrant for distraint of goods. (65)

The disposal of land and property increasingly characterised the early years of the twentieth century. At Knottingley the Anchor Inn with two cottages was sold to Mr. J.H. Taylor for £270 in 1908 (66) and the following year the Ship Inn and a pair of cottages together with numerous outbuildings was sold to Mr. Benjamin Braim for £290. (67) A freehold plot at Castleford, one acre in extent, was sold to Ann Kear in January 1910. The plot, situated in Ings Lane, had been the subject of a mortgage entered into by G.W. Carter in July 1892 and was sold following the discharge of the liability or £112. (68)

Two dwelling houses at Beal, formerly public houses, were sold in 1912. One, the defunct Ancient Shepherds Inn, was sold together with an accompanying cottage and 1 rood of garden, to Mr. William Scholey for £100. George Beanie bought the former Punch Bowl Inn together with its stables, barnyard, garden and outbuildings for £162-10-0 (69) The following year, a cottage and warehouse at Low Valley, Darfield, were sold for £100 to Mr. Charles Buckley of Worsboroughdale. (70) The property consisting of cottages, warehouse, stables and outbuildings had been purchased from the Barnsley Permanent Building Society in September 1901, having belonged to one Tom Bedford, a failed businessman, and was located in Pitt Street, adjacent to the Sportsman Inn. (71) The company had originally purchased the property intending to provide a retail outlet, one of the cottages, used as a shop, having an off sales licence. (72) The remaining property being of little benefit to the company other than the rent paid by the tenants, it was decided to dispose of the same. Ironically, many of the cottages and miscellaneous properties belonging to the brewery company had been purchased of necessity in order to obtain licensed premises forming part of the sale. The Pitt Street off licence was merely an updated variation on a theme.

Not all surplus properties were sold, however, some were the subject of leasehold agreement, such as that appertaining to Lime Grove. The former Blue Bell Inn, Back Lane, Knottingley, was leased to James Walker in 1896 and became a common lodging house. (73) The premises served in this capacity for several decades becoming so well established that long after the premises had been closed by order of the local council, being classified as unfit for human habitation, Back Lane was commonly referred to as Lodging House Lane. Similarly, part of the premises at Goole which housed the George Hotel was leased as a photographic studio early in the twentieth century. (74) A further leasehold was granted to Mr. Herbert Poppleton in respect of a house and shop owned by the brewery company at Aire Street, Knottingley, in 1914. (75)

Thus, by the advent of the Great War in 1914 the company, in common with the prevailing trend within the licensed trade, was well embarked upon a policy in which necessary modernisation was subsidised in part by the disposal of surplus property holdings.


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