1936 Referendum

August 1936, Sheffield saw one of few local referendums regarding licenced premises. Tenants on each of the nine largest of the new council housing estates which were replacing inner-city slums were asked by Sheffield City Council (SCC) if they were ‘in favour of licensed premises being provided on the estates.’ Turnout was low. There seemed to be a view on the smaller estates that as licensed premises were relatively close, there was no point in voting. Of the 34,204 electorate, only 7,275 voted (21.3%). Woodthorpe had a 61% turnout, the next highest was 26% (Arbourthorne) with five estates having a turnout of less than 20%. In favour were Arbourthorne, Manor,  Shiregreen,  Woodthorpe and Wybourn with High Wincobank, Longley and Norwood, Stubbin and Brushes and Wisewood voting against. In 1938, SCC approved the granting of leases to six brewery companies for the building of public houses on municipal estates:  Arbourthorne, Manor, Parson Cross, Shiregreen, Woodthorpe and Wybourn, each on 99-year leases. Parson Cross was not involved in the 1936 ballot. The total building cost was given as £55,000. The six Sheffield breweries concerned were: Carter, Milner and Bird Ltd., Duncan Gilmour and Co.Ltd., William Stones Ltd., Tennant Bros. Ltd., Truswells Brewery Co.Ltd. and S.H.Ward and Co.Ltd. Construction, the responsibility of the brewery companies, commenced later in the year. Pubs involved included the Arbourthorne Hotel (closed ~2015), the Manor Hotel (1990), the Parson Cross Hotel (~2016) and the Shiregreen Hotel (2008). There have been other similar local referendum, over the question of whether buildings which had originally been built as coffee taverns (ie. pubs in all but the sale of alcohol) should become licensed premises. These include the Bridge Inn (Port Sunlight) where a 1903 vote saw over 80% voting for a liquor license and the Skittles Inn (Letchworth). Thanks to Andrew Davison, Thelma Griffiths, and Jamie Thompson for responding to my earlier request for further information. Dave Pickersgill

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