The Temperance Bill

I can’t quite imagine this happening today, but in 1913, the inhabitants of Blantyre and beyond had a choice in whether the area should continue to be permitted to sell alcohol. The Temperance (Scotland) Act 1913 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom under which voters in small local areas in Scotland were enabled to hold a poll to vote on whether their area remained “wet” or went “dry” (that is, whether alcoholic drinks should be permitted or prohibited). The decision was made on a simple majority of votes cast.

In April 1913, the inhabitants the village of Auchentibber, High Blantyre had more of less made their choice. They took particular interest in the Temperance (Scotland) Bill which by then had been laid before the House of Commons, and two petitions against the measure were promptly forwarded by them to J. H. Whitehouse, M.P. for Mid- Lanark.

At the time, Auchentibber consisted of ninety houses, and out these eighty eight householders had signed in favour of pubs remaining open, the other two having been from home from which the petition had started. An interesting feature of this protest however was that the petition was also signed wholly by total abstainers, 82 in number, who appended their signatures showing utmost support for their community with the following declaration :—

“We, lifelong total abstainers, dwelling in Auchintibber, having read the above petition heartily endorse all that is written therein, and add further that have never found our local public house be any kind of “trap” whatever; that several of us have enjoyed its shelter in the winter and its beautiful grounds in the summer, and we would indeed consider it an evil day for village should disaster befall it. The public house to which such a high tribute is paid is the Auchintibber Inn, belonging Mr J. B. Struthers, who conducts it upon lines which have earned for him the respect and popularity of thew wide area. The grounds are beautifully laid out with summer houses, rustic bowers, statuary, and a quoiting green, while plunge and spray baths have recently been fitted up. In the winter time a very successful social and educational club is carried on.”

The fact that so many people, who didn’t take part in drinking activities signed this, shows the tremendous support Struthers had, and dare I say it reflects hugely on the pride Auchentibber residents had in their community and who lived there. The Inn is pictured just a few years earlier than this story, a building now sadly demolished. There’s a vacant piece of land at the corner of Auchentibber Road and Parkneuk Road where it once stood.

1908 Auchentibber Inn

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  1. It is so sad that these buildings no longer exist. With its quoiting green and Italian gardens Auchentibber seems to have been a lovely place to live, this makes me so happy as my dad was born and lived there as a young boy. While his family didn’t have much I’m glad he got to live in such a lovely place. x

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