My Great Grandad Arthur 1879 – 1937

A couple of excerpts from my mini biography of Arthur Turner Huddlestone spent most of his life as a publican 

“I am not sure that Arthur’s trade would be greatly affected by the First World War. Farmers played an important part during the war, in particular arable farmers which helped to stave off famine in Britain, despite a food shortage and it is therefore doubtful he had a shortage of customers. In fact the national trend was an increasing concern as to the level of drinking during the early part of the First World War due to increasingly demanding work and increasing wages. Public houses had traditionally been the place for men not women, but interestingly because more women were working to support the war effort (with so many men away at the front) women found themselves with more disposable income and freed from many domestic restraints. In increasing numbers, they flocked to pubs and drank alcohol in greater quantities than before. This national trend did lead to changes in licensing laws which would have affected Arthur’s business.
In 1915, the then Minister for Munitions, Lloyd George, declared that; “We are fighting Germans, Austrians and drink, and so far as I can see the greatest of these deadly foes is drink”. The concerns were that this increase in alcohol consumption would have a negative impact on the war effort. New licensing laws were therefore introduced restricting opening hours for licensed premises to lunch (12:00 to 14:00) and later to supper (18:30 to 21:30). Before this, public houses could open from 5 o’clock in the morning to 1230 at night!

There were also restrictions regarding alcohol content; Beer in particular was ordered to be ‘watered down’ to make it less potent and reduce drunkenness. Additionally it became illegal to buy drinks for other people, thus ending the tradition of buying alcohol in rounds. Interestingly there were no measures specifically targeted at women despite there being a moral outrage among regarding women drinking in public houses.

Arthur managed to avoid conscription in the First World War, with only his younger brother, Albert, joining up. The Military Service Act was introduced in 1916 and initially he would not have been eligible because he was a married man, although that rule changed in June 1916. The Act thereafter made all men aged 18 to 40 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. There was a system of Military Service Tribunals to adjudicate upon claims for exemption upon the grounds of performing civilian work of national importance, domestic hardship, health, and conscientious objection and it may be that Arthur and his siblings became exempt because of they were farmers. Although Arthur was a publican, in the 1911 census he was also listed as a land owner and farmer and he continued to own farm land throughout his life.”

dav    Jolly Miller Station Hotel as was
The Station Hotel c.1920 the pub Arthur ran from c. 1922 until his death
Later re-named the Jolly Miller


I imagine the pub would be quite a bustling place given the trade that would have been passing at that time on the canal and railway. The opening of the canal coincided with the opening of new docks at Goole on 20 July 1826. The new section of canal was 18.7 miles (30.1 km) long, with locks at Ferrybridge, Whitley, Pollington and Goole. Goole became an official port in 1827, when it gained its own Customs facilities. The transportation of coal was one of the main cargos on the canal. Although by the time Arthur was running the Stain Hotel the railway was probably much busier than the canal. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway had the largest fleet of all the railway companies in the early 1900’s before railway companies began amalgamating. Amongst others, in 1905 they took over the Goole Steam Shipping Company. By 1913, among others, they not only ran the trains passing through Whitley Bridge to Goole by also ran steam ships between Goole and many continental ports including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Rotterdam.

I have not been able to find out at this stage which brewery the pub belonged to, possibly Bentleys Yorkshire Brewery’s Limited. There were two other local pubs at the time, The Horse and Jockey at Hut Green, Eggborough which was and remains a Tetley’s Brewery pub and the George and Dragon at Whitley was and remains a John Smiths Brewery pub.
The Station Hotel must have been a successful business because by 1927 Arthur was also listed in Kelly’s trade directory as a “motor engineer; petrol, oils, tyres & accessories stocked; repairs a specialty”. He had bought the Station Garage across the road from his pub, where he also continued to be the publican. I am told by family members that the pub was known for “lock ins” which were often with the full knowledge and participation of the local police. This may explain an article I have found in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 15 October 1924 stating

“Arthur Turner Huddlestone, licensee of the Station Hotel Whitley Bridge, appealed against a conviction at the Snaith Court for supplying beer during prohibited hours. The appeal was dismissed with costs”

This is also the period in history when women were given the right to vote. It would be interesting to know what Arthur and his family thought of the suffragettes and whether, being a business women as landlady, Annie supported the movement or was part of any local movement. The right to vote was given to certain women, those over the age of 30 who either owned property or was married to a man who did, in 1918, in the first general election post the First World War. In 1928 the voting right was extended to all women over the age of 21. Annie was amongst those women who qualified and I have found Annie listed on the West Yorkshire electoral register in 1918.

This was also a time when the punishment of hanging was still available for the severest of crimes and I am told that the infamous hangman Thomas Pierrepoint (hangman from 1906 to 1946) was a regular guest at the Station Hotel. Thomas assisted at 35 executions and carried out 203 civilian hangings in England and Wales and four in Scotland. And was the official executioner for Irish Republic after it gained independence from England in 1923 carrying out 28 executions at Dublin’s Mountjoy prison between 1921 and 1944, plus four in Belfast.

He was also appointed by the US Military in Europe, being responsible for the hangings of 16 US servicemen at Shepton Mallet prison during World War II, assisted by his nephew, Albert in at least six of the hangings at Shepton Mallet. He was flown over to Normandy in France in August 1944 to hang a US serviceman, who had been convicted of rape.”

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