Britain's public houses - or drinking taverns - continued business as usual on Tuesday (December 5), apparently unaffected by proposed new drinking laws which would break four hundred years of public drinking tradition.
Britain's public houses - or drinking taverns - continued business as usual on Tuesday (December 5), apparently unaffected by proposed new drinking laws which would break four hundred years of public drinking tradition. Under the proposed new laws, published on Tuesday, drinkers would be allowed more time in the establishments variously known as taverns, inns, or - most popularly - 'pubs', short for public houses.
The proposed laws, if adopted, would bring Britain into line with the more liberal laws in Europe. Britain joins the European Common Market next month (January 1973).
Under the new recommendations, made by a Government commission, the hours allowed for public consumption of alcoholic beverages would be extended, and children - currently severely restricted in entry to public houses - would be allowed more freedom to join their parents. Currently, public sales and consumption of beer and spirits is limited to a few hours over the mid-day period, with a compulsory shut-down for two hours in the middle of the afternoon, and night-time closing at 11 p.m. at the latest.
The new laws proposed by the commission would - if passed by Parliament in the face of strong opposition from temperance groups, and the drinking trade which oppose longer hours - comes into effect in late 1973. In its report, the Commission, headed by Lord Erroll, envisaged a type of establishment on European lines which would cater more for families and serve light refreshments and beverages like tea and coffee - rarely served in British pubs.
Drinking shops in Britain have required an official licence since 1552, and hours have been restricted since World War One, when it was argued that long drinking hours might divert munitions workers from the task of winning the war.