HC Deb 27 February 1891 vol 350 cc1833-5
MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwick)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a paragraph in the Manchester Guardian, of the 21st instant, headed "Disgraceful Scene at a Midnight Interment," which states, that on the occasion of the funeral, at midnight, of the late Colonel Richard Dyott, some time a Member of this House, the public houses in the district had been granted an extra hour's extension; that during the ceremony there was a scene of wild excitement; that there was a rush of some thousands to gain admission to the church; that 40 members of the county police force were present; that the doors of the edifice were closed to prevent the place from being stormed; and that in the mêlée a Police Inspector had one of his fingers nearly bitten off; whether he will ask for a Report from the Chairman of the Local Bench upon the circumstances; and whether he will instruct the Magistrates as to the impropriety of extending the hours for the sale of intoxicating liquors on such an occasion?

MR. COGHILL (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

had the following question on the Paper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention had been called to the following paragraph in the Globe newspaper, of Saturday, 21st February, under the heading "Midnight Funeral of an ex-M.P.:" The public houses in the district (Lichfieldr had been granted an extra Hour's extension fo the occasion, and the vast assembly viewed the affair as some fête day. Directly the coffin was conveyed into the church there was a rush by some thousands to gain admittance. Some members of the county police force made an endeavour to keep back the crowd, and for some time intense excitement prevailed. Eventually the doors of the edifice were closed in order to prevent the place being stormed. In the mêlée; one of the Police Inspectors had a finger nearly bitten off. It was long after midnight ere the crowd dispersed, but no further disorder occurred; and whether he will communicate with the Magistrates of Lichfield as to the impropriety of granting an extra hour's extension to the public houses on that occasion?


I will answer this question and that of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme at the same time. It is not the fact that the public-houses of the district had all been granted an extension. One hotel only, opposite the church, was allowed an hour's extension for the accommodation of persons coming from a distance to see a very unusual ceremony. Everything was quiet and orderly at this hotel. The Chief Constable informs me that the accounts of what took place have been mush exaggerated. There was a rush of persons to gain admittance when the procession passed into the church, and it was necessary to close the doors. Beyond this there was no disorder, and all passed off quietly. The Magistrates inform me that in granting the extension to one house they considered the convenience of the public, and that they were justified in so doing. I see no reason to doubt the propriety of the way in which they used their discretion on this occasion.