Pubs Look Back To The Past To Save Their Future

In these tough trading times, more than ever, it seems, pubs need to diversify if they want to survive. That’s the thinking behind the White Hart Inn in Spilsby Lincolnshire deciding to bring the joys of the cinema to pub goers.

The pub, which is a 35 minute drive from the nearest cinema in Skegness, is thought to be the first granted a licence to show films coming to the end of their general release, but crucially before they are released on DVD.

Licensee Angela Morgan-Knight explained: “We have a really big function room with a 9ft screen and projector and we can have 100 people in there.” There are plans for a Sunday matinee incorporating meal deals and family tickets. There is some irony here as many pubs are in a similar situation to cinemas when they reached their low point and could do worse than look at how cinemas adapted to bounce back.

Of course pubs have a long history of incorporating technology to attract punters. Currently 3D is leading the chase, but before that we had satellite TV and before that, good old vanilla television. And going back even further, there was the miracle that was radio.

Yes back in the 1920s, when the BBC was still the British Broadcasting Company, pubs up and down the land were rushing to install the latest “wireless entertainment”. The picture shows locals in the Lion & Lamb in Hoxton enjoying a broadcast from Marconi House.

However, as benign as it may seem to us, the installation of radio in public houses did not pass without controversy. The debate centred on the question as to whether, legally, a wireless set was an instrument for the reproduction of music by purely mechanical means.

This led to a somewhat confusing licensing situation. In many areas, licensees were encouraged to apply for music licences as the wireless was seen in keeping with the mood for reform and improvement of the public house. However, in some areas, music licenses were opposed by teetotallers on the grounds that children might be attracted to the novelty.

Of course, as usual, London had to go its own way. Applying licensees here were told that it was the opinion of the licensing justices that such issues lay beyond their scope. Thereby neatly sidestepping having to rule on whether a licence was required or not and saving themselves a lot of subsequent work. Crafty sods those Londoners.


Paul Bailey said…
It's a shame the PRS (Performing Rights Society), don't follow suite, and stop harrassing licensees and shopkeepers for having the radio playing on their premises.
RedNev said…
It's that Feargal Sharkey who has given the PRS its current hard-nosed approach. Perhaps he doesn't feel he got enough royalties for "You Little Thief" ~ and was inspired by the lyric.
Paul Bailey said…
Thought his only hit was "A Good Heart"?
Anonymous said…
hi i work at the lion and lamb in hoxton is there somewhere i can get a copy of that picture for the pub,cheers
Tyson said…
I found the picture in a book from the 1920s so I'm not sure where else could get a copy.

Popular posts from this blog

The Kimberley Club

British Guild Beer Writers Awards & Camden Brewery

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Suke Quto Coffee IPA