Women banned from UK pubs - Birmingham 1902

BANNED: The women barred from Birmingham's pubs - in 1902

25 Jun 2013 07:09

Holt Brewery, helped by the local council, produced a blacklist of banned regulars after it became an offence to serve “habitual drunkards”

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Scarred, toothless and tattooed, this formidable
bunch made criminal history – by becoming the first women barred from www.birminghammail.co.uk/all-about/birmingham%20city%20centr

The rag-tag group fell foul of legislation in 1902
that made it an offence for landlords to serve “habitual drunkards”.

To make sure they didn’t get a warm welcome in any
of their pubs, Holt Brewery, helped by the local council, produced a blacklist
of banned regulars.

Details of the 83 undesirables – a staggering 37 of
them women – has recently been published on family tree website ancestry.com

If nothing else, the formidable group prove ‘skin
art’ is not a new phenomenon among the city’s fairer sex. Alice Tatlow’s list
of tattoos are described as: “Prince of Wales feathers, back right hand; heart,
clasped hands, true love K.B, back left hand.”

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Tough they may have been, but the women were not
down and out. Almost all held down jobs, their professions ranging from
bedstead polishers, hawkers, grease merchants and one “plays tin whistle
outside licensed premises”. Some supplemented their income through

According to Holt’s black book, all but ten of the
women had aliases – suggesting criminal careers, 31 had scars or physical
handicaps, ranging from Kate Kibble’s one eye to cut marks on faces, broken
noses and missing fingers.

Many, however, lived perfectly respectable lives –
until they walked through the door of their local. Mary Bayliss, aged 46, and
39-year-old Susannah Booton, had homes and worked as charwomen.

Holt’s document proves that, just like today,
Victorian women were capable of getting half-cut and troublesome on a
night-out. They just didn’t make a spectacle of themselves in high-heels and
skimpy dresses.

But there’s one big difference. Back then, it
wasn’t the younger generation who tottered, worse for wear, along Broad Street.

Just two of the women in the brewery’s black book
were under 25. The rest were aged between 30 and 40, with only five over 50.

A spokesman for ancestry.com said: “If Eliza
Doolittle had followed in her father’s more intemperate footsteps (and if the
family had lived in Birmingham), she might have been the “flower seller” who
found her way into Birmingham’s Black List of habitual drunkards.

“If you find a member of your family here, you’ll
discover a marvelous snapshot of an individual at a moment in time – albeit a
difficult moment.”