Recently we launched online what has become one of my favourite collections ever! A collection of records detailing drunkards whose behavior resulted in them being barred from Birmingham pubs at the turn of the last century. The Birmingham Pub Blacklist was compiled by the Watch Committee of the City of Birmingham which was created by the police as a way of enforcing the Licensing Act of 1902 – passed in an attempt to handle inebriates who would make a drunken nuisance of themselves in public. This act meant that police could apprehend these people.
These Edwardian ‘habitual drunkards’ were then photographed and the photos were compiled into the Blacklist, along with descriptions of them. Both the photos and descriptions are extremely interesting to read because they are so subjective and ‘un-PC’ by today’s standards. One lad called ‘Richard ‘Dirty Dick’ Flemming’ is listed as ‘Dick the Devil’ and 5 foot 2 inches with a ‘slim build’ and ‘pug nose’ – hardly the most flattering of descriptions. He was sentenced on the 20th February 1903 for being drunk and disorderly and received 21 days of hard labour!
Another interesting point to make is the fact that licensing laws have changed very little since 1902, meaning that we still adhere to Edwardian licensing laws today, 108 years later!
The records are fully name searchable, but even if you don’t have any ancestors from Birmingham then I still suggest you have a look through these records as they are fascinating and are definitely worth a visit.
Click here to access the records and let me know what you think of this fascinating collection – I’d love to hear your thoughts.