JBH Struthers Interview, 1910 (Part 1 of 3)

During an Auchentibber Garden Party in June 1910, reporters got a chance to interview Inn and Quoiting Grounds owner, Mr. J.B.H Struthers. What they wrote spans three parts which I’ve transcribed fully:

“At the present time [June 1910], when press and platform are ringing with ideas and proposals for creating a more sober people, it is interesting and refreshing to find a man actively engaged in the “Trade” translating his ideas into tangible form, and endeavouring thus, in his own vicinity at all events, to create a more reasonable and healthy opinion on the subject of temperance reform.

As the form which Mr J. B. H. Struther’s ideas have taken are of much more than local interest, the history of his scheme is worthy of note. In conversation with our representative, Mr Struthers remarked that although born into the “Trade” he early formulated somewhat advanced views on the licensing question, and particularly with regard to the frequently dismal and unattractive appearance of Scottish country inns and public houses. Of an artistic but nevertheless highly, practical turn of mind, Mr Struthers sought an opportunity of embodying his ideas in actual form, which briefly are, that the village Inn should be the centre of the social life of the locality, and not a place to be frequented for the purchase solely of intoxicating liquors, and where men may indulge their appetite for the forgetfulness of drunkenness.

About ten years ago, [1900] the Auchentibber Inn came into the market, the only licensed premises in this mining community and Mr Struthers, realising in the subject a favourable place to work out his policy, purchased it. The building is an old and unpretentious one, and while Mr Struthers has modernised, so far possible the interior, he has not altered its original outside features. In the spring of that year be turned his attention to what he intended to be the strongest feature of the place, viz., the garden and recreation ground. At the baok of the Inn was an old abandoned quarry, extending to about two acres. “The condition of the place” said Mr Struthers, “was about as wild as one could imagine, a veritable howling wilderness, with briars, nettles, and dockens all struggling for the mastery, and all abundantly fertilised with the hetrogenious mass of strange material which usually finds its way to the village free coup.”

The Inn is shown on this 1898 map, just prior to Struthers buying it. As can be seen the whole local area was surrounded by old quarries and one can imagine the brambles and nature which had overtaken them as Struthers describes.

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