The second in a series of articles about the history of brewing and the licensed trade in and around Cambridgeshire during the last 100 years. The series features personalities, events, pubs and beers that made the news and outlines the histories of some of the many local breweries that were taken over and closed down.
Nearly 80 years ago in November 1900, the following letter from three prominent members of the Cambridge and District Licensed Victuallers' Protection Association appeared in the local press under the heading "Sober Cambridge".
SIR, As much has been said and written lately on the drink traffic
in Cambridge, will you permit us the use of a short space in your
columns to call attention to the remarkable sobriety of the town?
Speaking as members of the Licensed Victuallers' Committee, we
entirely repudiate the aspersion so often cast upon us that we are
the friends of drunkards; they are, on the contrary, our greatest
enemies, and by all means let the action of the law be swift and sure
on those of our trade who encouage such men. To appreciate thoroughly
the sobriety of Cambridge, we give a few comparative figures. In the
official return recently issued we find that in Cambridge, with a
given population of 37,000, only 51 persons were proceeded against
for drunkenness during the year ending July 31st, 1900. The
percentage is thus 1.37 per 1000 inhabitants. Of these but seven were
females. Now Oxford, perhaps, most nearly represents Cambridge in
size, and the special circumstances connected with a University town,
and its figures for the same period read:- Population 45,700; persons
proceeded against for drunkenness, 162 (31 females), which gives a
percentage nearly three times as great as Cambridge, viz, 3.57. ...
Nor is this all. It is usual, in many towns, to lock up those who are
inebriated only for the night, and release them in the morning,
whereas we believe that in Cambridge everyone locked up is proceeded
against in the police court. ... All things considered - the large
number of public houses and the extra vigilance of the police - we
think any unprejudiced person must admit... that publicans in
Cambridge conduct their houses with marked success. Yours etc., W.E.
PEGG, Chairman. G.E. MORGAN, Vice-Chairman. F. MODEN, Hon.
There are, as they say, lies, damned lies and statistics...
A price list from a B. & T. advertisement in 1908 makes appetising reading nowadays:
|Strong Ale||1/8 per gallon||Bottled Strong Ale||4/- per doz. pints|
|XXX||1/- per gallon||Brandy||36/- per gallon|
|Stout||1/2 per gallon||Whisky||21/- per gallon|
Early in 1925 the brewery and its 40 to 50 tied houses were bought by Greene King and Sons "for over £100,000". Brewing continued and most of the staff were retained but the founders both retired from business and Alderman Bailey died in October of the same year. The brewery buildings eventually became a Greene King depot and were still standing in the late 1960s.
Well-known pubs in and around Cambridge that belonged to Bailey & Tebbutt at one time included The Green Dragon, Chesterton; The Granta, Cambridge and The Barley Mow at Histon.