Illegal Whisky Concealment, 1916


Here’s an interesting wee story. On Saturday 30th September 1916, Mr Robert McKenzie of 56 Hall Street, Dixon’s Rows walked into a licensed Blantyre grocers not knowing that he was being watched.

That evening, outside Alexander McCluskey’s licensed grocers shop were two policemen watching carefully who was going in. Inspector John Syme and Detective Sergeant Kemp observed Robert McKenzie going into the shop, then coming out.

They approached him and asked if he had any liquor on him, to which Robert answered “no”. It was illegal that year to buy alcohol from shops on a Saturday and Sunday, so the question was a valid one. However, seeing his suspicious reaction, they decided to search him, which uncovered….one pint of whisky.

They all went back into the shop intent on confronting shopkeeper Mr McCluskey and his wife, both of whom resided at Mayberry Place. However, before questions could be asked, Robert McKenzie quickly spouted a story about how he had bought the whisky from the licensed grocers the day BEFORE and that he had it on his person heading to his friends house and had only popped into the shop for matches. It was a story that the McCluskey’s were keen to agree with.

The officers were not satisfied and brought forward a charge for both Mr & Mrs McCluskey and Robert McKenzie to appear in court. Later that week, Mrs McCluskey was found not guilty, but the judge decided that Mr McCluskey was guilty of selling whisky illegally that Saturday night fining him £10 and McKenzie got a fine of £5 for making up the story.

From the forthcoming book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2020.
Photo: For illustration only.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Jiae Jiae My mother went to school with a Robert McKenzie and I went to school with his son also Robert.

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