Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume One - Into the Victorian Age - Some newspaper reports from the 1890's

• 1897 - The Hotel de Marl - In 1881 Parliament passed a law banning drinking in Wales on the Sabbath which was not taken very kindly to by the drinking classes of the locality. The First Report of the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing Laws published during 1897 implicated Penarth Dock within its pages and commented upon the state of the law with respect to 'clubs': - 'On Sundays a number of persons would meet together in a field, and throw pennies into a hole in the ground, till there was enough to purchase a 4½ gallon cask of beer from a wholesale dealer ;  they would then drink it, and repeat the process. Prosecution failed, because it was held that there was no sale, but merely distribution, and what was known locally as the "Hotel de Marl." Parties of men took barrels of beer to a piece of ground on which marl had been tipped from the Penarth Dock. They drank in the manner described from 7 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. on Sunday. Sometimes there were 350 men and lads drinking, and 2,000 spectators. Great disorder arose, but prosecutions again failed. At last, with the co-operation of the owner of the ground, the police succeeded in driving the people away, and the practice was suppressed. The final effort of this system of clubs was taking liquor out in a boat, and drinking it in the Bristol Channel. Even this, apparently, was a properly constituted club.'

Illustrations from a report 'Sunday at the Hotel de Marl' taken from the Evening Express [135] [361] 29th May 1893.

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