Cheers it’s Sunday Opening.
In the NEWS 1976…
It’s “Yes” to opening Scotland’s pubs on Sundays. The breakthrough came today when MPs voted in favour of the principle of Sunday opening.
The decision was taken by the committee considering the new Scottish Licensing Bill.
The voting was 10-4… and this represented a major defeat for the Government. Scottish Office Minister Harry Ewing opposed the move, but three Labour MPs, all from Glasgow, supported the reformes.
They were James Craigen (Maryhill), Tom McMillan (Glasgow Central), and James White (Pollok). Two other city MPs, Richard Buchanan (Springburn) and Tory front bencher Teddy Taylor (Cathcart), backed the Government.
Mr Taylor was the only Conservative to do so. He warned MPs that opening some of our wretched hell-hole pubs on Sunday won’t necessarily lead to more civilised drinking.
Mr Taylor believed that Sunday opening would make Scotland’s drink problem, already serious, even worse.
And he told the committee it would be shameful to force Sunday opening on areas where most people were against it.
Mr White, however, doubted whether opening the pubs on Sunday would make the problem of alcoholism any worse.
Mr Craigen told MPs, “If we don’t do something now to try and transform the attitudes to drinking in Scotland it may be a very long time before we get another opportunity.”
Mr Ewing argued that opening the pubs on Sunday would add to the drunk-driving problem and lead to a further breakdown in family life.
He also believed that there was no general demand in Scotland for Sunday opening. But Shadow Scottish Secretary Alick Buchanan-Smith said, “The time has come for us to have the courage to cut through the jungle of controls and regulations.”
The Scottish Police Federation welcomed the news on several counts. A spokesman said, “In the cities there is a limited number of hotels open for Sunday drinking and they become vastly overcrowded. “If they are sited in s residential area the local people are put to a great deal of inconvenience by the influx of drinkers.
“We also feel Sunday opening would cut down on drinking and driving, rather than motoring to the nearest hotel people could quite simply leave the car in the garage and walk to the local pub.
“And those people who travel to hotels on public transport occasionally cause trouble.”
Not only does the federation favour Sunday opening, they would also like to see Continental-type cafes where families could spend a social afternoon.
The spokesman went on, “Sunday drinking shouldn’t necessarily mean having to visit pubs with sawdust on the floor. It should be a family affair. “We can’t see any harm in a man taking his wife and children into a suitable pub or hotel lounge.”
The Church Scotland voiced misgivings about the decision which is seen as a victory for the strong Sunday Drinking Lobby.
Dr. Andrew Heron, Clerk of the Glasgow Presbytery, said, “In many ways we regret this decision. “Apart from anything else there are a great many people in the trade who are anxious to have one day a week when they can shut their doors.”
Dr. Heron added “Many people who do not will take exception to pubs being open on a Sunday because it means the end of peace and quiet around public houses in their neighborhood.”
But Dr. Heron admitted that there were also reasons for Sunday opening. “There is a great deal of drinking in hotels on a Sunday in Glasgow.
“When people travel to drink in hotels they tend to make a day of it, whereas if their local public house was open they might just pop in for one drink.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Licensed Trade Association today welcomed the committee’s decision.
He said “We are delighted. We have been campaigning for years for the right to allow pubs to open on a Sunday.” But he warning, “This decision was made at committee level, the bill still has to go through Parliament and the House of Lord’s.”
In the NEWS 1977…
The First Pub in Scotland to get a Sunday Licence.
Happy pub manager Jim Maitland today at the Cowie Tavern when it became the first to be granted a licence for Sunday opening.
A small village pub in Stirlingshire made history today when it became the first to be granted a licence for Sunday opening.
And immediately after the licence being granted at Stirling Licensing Court 21 year-old Jim Maitland, manager of the Cowie Tavern, said the doors would probably be open this coming Sunday.
The small pub is the only one which serves the village, which on a Sunday has at present two clubs offering facilities to drinkers. But from now on Jim and his staff of six, which includes his wife Mary (20), will be throwing open their doors to their regulars.
Jim, who has been manager at the Cowie tavern, a Tennent Caledonian pub, for just three months, said, “It’s great news.
The regulars in here have told us they’d prefer to come here for a drink on Sunday. I think they’d prefer to have a quiet drink in here.”
Jim, modestly accepting congratulations on creating history, said he didn’t envisage any staff problems. He said: “It will just mean another day off during the week for staff.”
For Jim, however, it means an extension of the gruelling hours he puts in starting 9 in the morning when he opens for cleaners coming in until midnight.
With the pub being such a family affair Jim doesn’t seem to mind. He said: “When I want to get some time off along with my wife my father-in-law usually helps out. It all works very well.”
The Sunday licence for the Cowie Tavern was second on the list of applications at today’s court. But since it was the first with no objections it was granted immediately.