The year is 1906, Publicans are under stress from the Government, Churches and new Social Clubs opening throughout the country.
A long lost book from J. George Luff, “The New Publican” gives us a personal view of a publican in these troubled times. “In placing my booklet, “The New Publican,” into the hands of the British public, I trust I’ve done something to bring about a much desired change”. Mr Luff had written this book in hope that the members of the license trade would rally together to help save their livelihoods.
The book’s vision would be a future for the Publicans of Britain in which they would be better trained and know how to manage their staff. “This new publican is a living reality in my brain and before 20 years have passed Great Britain will possess a class of highly trained men able to work, to fight and defend their legalised position”. These days there are a lot less staff running a pub as workers are trained to a much higher standard as well as the publicans being able to run more than one aspect of the business.
The Government was constantly passing legislation to force public houses in Britain to close. “The publicans have allowed themselves to be belittled by any loud-spoken temperance advocate. The New Publican will put his foot on him and the brewer and distiller will assist”. The only way to save public houses at this time would be to stand up to the government together with the brewers and distillers.
The New Publican touches on ways to improve the public houses of Britain by creating aesthetically pleasing establishments. “Handsome exteriors are only signs that we worship beauty, consciously and unconsciously in our everyday life”. This points out that customers are more inclined to visit an establishment if the exterior/interiors are more inviting.
J. George Luff, along with all Publicans in Britain were angered by the Government introducing Social Clubs that were in direct competition with public houses. “They brought shebeening to a fine art. They made a law that a Publican should pay £30.00 a year and allow any man to plant a club at his very door upon a miserable payment of five shillings, Viz., Registration fee”. You can imagine the frustration of publicans at this time. Why should Britain’s oldest businesses be punished for being opened to the public, whereas members only clubs available to Britain’s wealthiest were not being charged a lot of money to serve alcohol.
The New Publican is a fantastic insight into the public houses of Britain in the early 1900s. J. George Luff was a wise man that had great visions for the future of his trade, many that we use today. Public houses are once again experiencing stress, this time mainly from the recession. Publicans now have the biggest competitions they have ever had to face… Supermarkets and customers drinking in their homes.