Three Penny Pint

Three Penny Pint

I was amazed to hear someone at work last week referring to a pint in London costing £7. It was of course very different one hundred years ago, as a small incident that I read about in a 1916 edition of the South Western Star newspaper shows. Despite being well-catered for on the local hostelry front, its very likely that some of the Summerstown182 would have frequented The Castle, just a short tram ride down Garratt Lane to Tooting High Street. Indeed it is still going strong today and currently having a bit of a facelift. However back then, according to a report from the South Western Police Court, the licensee was in trouble for selling intoxicating liquor to a member of HM Forces on the sick-list on 3rd February 1916. A police sergeant recalled how he had gone into the pub that afternoon and seen Corporal Turner of the North Lancashire Regiment dressed in blue hospital uniform. He went to the counter, put down three pennies and called for a pint of ale. The barmaid duly obliged and the thirsty soldier began to drink. The policeman challenged first the barmaid, then the licensee and accompanied the soldier back to Springfield War Hospital on Wandsworth Common. In court, the barmaid, Charlotte Cornet, admitted having received instructions not to serve soldiers in blue uniforms but stated that because Corporal Turner had his collar coat turned up to the neck and she didn’t notice his blue trousers, she hadn’t been able to tell he was wounded. The judge said he was sure there was nothing approaching moral turpitude on the defendant’s part, but he could not overlook the offence. A fine of £5 was imposed. Extremely hefty for the time, but still probably not enough to buy a pint in central London in 2014.

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