100-YEARS-AGO: DRUNKEN TORIES BEHAVING BADLY IN SALFORD
Hard to believe but the Conservative Party once held sway in Salford and held the majority of seats on Salford Council and their members were considered to be the respectable, upstanding pillars of the community.
This story from January 1920 shows some of them in a somewhat different light and obviously not all Tories behave like this.
The steward of the North Conservative Club in Broughton was having his usual quiet night, serving members and was preparing to close for the night when his reverie was rudely shattered by the arrival of six men led by Frank Nolan.
They marched to the bar and demanded to be served beer, it goes without saying that all of them were under the influence of drink and used threats of violence to members of the club and bar staff, some people were so alarmed that they ran upstairs and hid.
The steward tried to reason with the men, saying that the bar was closed and if they didn't leave he would be forced to summon the police.
Sadly this appeal fell on deaf ears as they demanded to be served and once again threatened him with violence if they didn't get their drinks, he became so scared that he fled from the club and went looking for a constable.
When he returned a few minutes later with a passing beat bobby, to his horror he found six empty beer glasses with dregs floating in the bottom, the bounders had helped themselves!
He demanded to know who drawn the beer only to be told by Nolan, "Me"
His chum Richard Laithwaite then casually chucked a half crown coin onto the bar and said,
"I'm paying for it, keep the change"
I love a generous drunk.
Laithwaite strolled into the lobby and saw the policeman and told him.
"I am in charge of this gang, Fall in: right turn, quick march"
They marched out of the club and into a waiting taxi and drove off into the night.
Detective Sergeants Cheetham and Birds were assigned the case, they soon tracked down the good companions at their home addresses and arrested them.
They appeared at Salford Magistrates Court before, Mr P.W. Atkin with Major Parker Morris prosecuting, and Mr Gilman Jones acting for their defence.
They were charged with, "Consuming beer on the premises of North Salford Conservative Club in contravention of Section 2 of the Central Boards Control"
I think that means that they nicked their beer after time,
Mr Gilman Jones in their defence said that it was a "silly escapade" for which all the men have apologised and deeply regret.
Major Morris pointed out that Laithwaite has been earlier expelled from the club and Nolan had been refused membership of the club.
The Stipendiary fined Laithwaite £10 and the other accused £5 each saying.
"There is nothing a political club is as jealous as, as it's good name"
I get the impression that Laithwaite and Nolan had been earlier hooved out of the club and they had returned drunk making a nuisance of themselves in some form of petty revenge.
Tories don't you just love them.