Arrogance or just a good business decision

Dusty Miller, Hove Edge, Brighouse. Lessee 1997 to 2002. Quaint pub in upmarket part of town serving real ale and food.

Run the pub more of a hobby than business as had no financial liability. Great times, fabulous people but spoilt occasionally by petty minded souls and officialdom. Found out when you have a successful venture some get jealous and cause mischief. At the height of our reign was taking £7 to 8,000 per week with nearly a third of that coming on a Friday. Tetley Bitter served from a hogshead via a hand pump was the hostelry’s best seller with Stella larger coming close second.

From day one I had a policy of ‘Open All Hours’ meaning if a customer wanted an alcoholic drink any hour of the day I would serve it. But due to a law introduced during the Great War of 1914/18 to encourage the munition workers to get back to work drinks containing alcohol could only be served on Mon to Fri between the hours of 11am and 11pm with Sunday Noon to 10.30pm. It was a Criminal Offence to drink a pint of beer outside these so called ‘permitted hours’ and the Police had the unenviable task of applying this law. So come 11pm all the doors would be shut with many customers inside for what was known as a ‘Lock – In’. I would serve until the last customer went home happy.

But the Police had to be seen doing their job so three times I was prosecuted for selling alcohol outside these hours. Some may say I deserved this, call it arrogance if so I am guilty which I pleaded was fined £300 which I paid immediately from the £30,000 I had made from opening all hours. Arrogance or just a good business decision. The Police then decided as I had ‘three strikes’ to revoke my license. After several months in Dec 2001 it came to court. I conducted my own case and brought along a customer of many years Keith Moore and next door neighbour Ann Vaughan. Both gave the Dusty full marks for being well run. The bar supervisor my elder daughter Deborah told the bench how the well pub was run. The Police offered no witnesses. The bench threw out the application awarding me £3,550 costs praised how I had conducted my case suggesting I meet up with the Police to try to iron out things.

Sounds all doom and gloom but there were far more good days than bad and Christine and myself pleased lots of folk along the way many who we have as Facebook friends.

The Dusty unlike many other pubs still thrives under new stewardship.