Pubs have played a big part in Glasgow’s history. The majority of Glasgow’s men would visit their local every day! As a result of this, there was many attempts to stop alcohol consumption.
There has been bans on buying your friends a drink known as NO TREATING and there has been bans on alcohol consumption all together. This resulted in a multitude of unlicensed premises (Shebeens) all over Glasgow.
In 1894 some Shebeens would charge up to 3 or 4 pence a pint! That was a lot of money back then. The Shebeens were mostly in ordinary living rooms caravans or sheds. They had sophisticated equipment for distilling and brewing. The shebeener’s would hire an array of people to be “Shebeen Watchers”. These would range from old women hanging out of their windows keeping an eye out for police, also ordinary men and women would follow undercover police coming out of the station.
There was constant raids from police looking for the “distillers”, but these were often well hidden in the surrounding homes. Hidden under the floorboards, hidden in the walls, anywhere that they thought would fool the police. On one occasion, the police knew where people were getting illegal liquor and even knew the tenant’s of the flat. After nearly a year without proof and 8 raids later the police finally got them.
Two floors up the close there was a vacant flat which was used as a shebeen with all the mod cons and copper piping running straight down the inner walls and through the chimney flue, with a tap on the tenants fireplace. All they had to do was just turn on the tap.
Sometimes the police would have successful raids. This did not always mean that there would be arrests, as “Herb Beer” was sometimes sold in place of real alcohol. Herb beer had the same taste, same smell and same look as real beer, without the alcohol.
The one thing I have learned from this is that Glaswegians will never give up
I would like to thank John jun for his input and research on this subject. Cheers John jnr.