Crow Trees Workmen’s Club wins appeal - 1913

Crow Trees Workmen’s Club wins appeal - 1913

County Durham Advertiser 11th July 1913 , page 8


WEDNESDAY, July 8. – Before His Honour Judge Greenwell (in the chair), Alan Hutchinson, Esq., and Sir Frank Brown.



Considerable interest attached to the appeal raised by Matthew Cruddace, the steward of the Crow Trees Workingmen’s social Club and Institute Ltd., against a conviction by the Durham County Justices sitting at Durham Petty Sessions.

Mr. Simey and Mr. Elgar (instructed by Mr. G. Carpenter, D

Mr. Meynell stated that Cruddace was convicted under Section 93 of the Licensing Consolidation Act. He and 3 or 4 others were summoned under that section and were all convicted but Cruddace was the only one to appeal, which technically was in order to raise the question of the club’s validity. Cruddace was fined by the Rev. F.W. Glyn and Ald. Galbraith, the County Justices, the sum of 10s anourse the registration of a club was purely ministerial. The Clerk to the Justices was bound to register any club which presented itself for registration, and accordingly the Crow Trees Club was registered.

His Honour: What does he register it on?

Mr. Meynell: Merely certain requirements of the Act. If these are complied with he registers it.

His Honour: The question I think is whether the club was entitled to be registered?

Mr. Meynell: That is what it comes to.

The club, added Mr. Meynell, possessed the same title except that the word Bowburn has changed into Crow Trees. The former club, he believed, was convicted in January 1912, and struck off the register. An order was made that the premises should not be used as a club for six months. This period passed, and then the Crow Trees Club was registered. It had been held that when a club was once struck off the register it could not be re-registered. The only qow Trees Workingmen’s Social Club and Institute, Ltd. was merely an analysis for the Bowburn and District Workingmen’s Club.

His Honour: Or as to whether this is the same club as before?

Mr. Meynell: Yes. If it is, the registration is undoubtedly invalid, and the defendant guilty of the offence.

Mr. Meynell said he would endeavour to show that the clubs were exactly the same except for the change of name. The premises were the same.

His Honour: The premises are all right if they are outside the six months.

Mr. Meynell: Yes.The furniture of the club was the same and the members were substantially the same, but out of 93 members, 85 were members of the Bowburn Club.

Mr. Simey (interposing): My friend should say that the Bowburn Club had 200 members.

Mr. Meynell, proceeding, said the Crow Trees Club took over the liabilities of the Bowburn Club, and paid 7s 6d in the £ to the creditors. In imposing the fine, the Justices made the following statement:— “Having regard to tnon-user of a club on conviction, for re-registration we have considerable doubt as to the law. We feel bound, however, to convict on the evidence and under the law as laid down in the case of Lees v. Lovie.”

Supt. Waller was then called.

Mr. Meynell: I don’t think you made any charge of misconduct against the Crow Trees Club? — None whatever.

His Honour: It is simply a question as to whether they come within the decision of Lees v. Lovie? — Yes, purely that.

Supt. Waller added that when he raided the Crow Trees Club he was told by the officials that the present club took over the liabilities of the former club and agreed to pay 10s in the pound, but finding this was going to be too expensive they met the creditors, and the result was they

Mr.Simey (Cross-examining): You made the raid for the purpose of testing the point? — No, I was satisfied that they were committing an offence. You are making it a test.

This case now tests the point as to whether or not the registration of the Crow Trees Club is a good one? — I agree.

The club was registered on September 4th? — Yes.

And the raid took place on April 6th? — Yes.

Why did you not make your raid earlier? — I waited to suit my own convenience. I was not waiting for a job you know (laughter).

Have you any complaint against Cruddace? — No, he’s a decent chap.

His Honour: That clears the air, Mr. Simey (laughter).

For the appellant, Mr. Simey said the premises belonged to the old club, and were mortgaged. When the conviction took place, the mortgagees entered into possession, and sold the premises by auction to a man named Storey, a grocer. The latter meant to extend his premises, but held off, and eventold club.

His Honour, following a point of law raised by Counsel, said he did not see why some individuals connected with a club which had been struck off the register should not start again after the original body had been destroyed.

Mr. Meynell: The only difficulty is that they can move next door and start again the next day.

His Honour: Are you prepared to say, Mr. Meynell, t

Mr. Meynell: Oh no.

His Honour: Well it comes to that.

Mr. George A. Carpenter, of Durham, said the old club was struck off on Jan. 17th 1912. On behalf of the mortgagees of the premises, Lloyd’s Bank, he was instructed to sell the property by public auction, and this was bought [by] Mr. Storey. He then gave evidence as to the winding up of the old club, and the liquidation of the new club.

His Honour: It seems to me the Bowburn Club, although dead, is not buried (laughter).

Mr. Meynell: It is dying.

His Honour: I put it lying-in-state under the care of the liquidator, and there’s another club started under a different name.

Mr. Meynell:

His Honour: It is composed to some extent, or to a large extent, of different members, if you take the original membership, which was 200, and the present membership 93. Is it the same club?

Mr. Meynell: I say yes, and my friend says no.

His Honour did not consider that the case was covered by the Lees and Lovie decision. Was that the same club, and if it was what authority was there for saying it was?

Mr. Meynell: There’s no authority: it is a question of fact.

His Honour said his friend, Mr. Frank Brown, was of the same opinion as he that the Crow Trees Club was not the same club as the Bowburn Club, which was struck off the register, and therefore the appeal would have to be allowed.

Mr. Simey asked for costs.

Mr. Meynell said he did not think they had any power to grant costs, because the justices were the respondents.

Costs were not allowed.




Matthew Cruddace of 6, Clarence Street, Bowburn, had been treasurer of Bowburn and District Workmen’s Social Club for 15 months, when it was raided on 22 Dec 1911 and taken to court on 17 Jan 2012.

Supt. Waller was in charge of the police application to strike Bowburn Club off in Jan 1912.

John Henry (“Bacon Jack”) Storey, was living at 3, Ash Terrace, Bowburn, in 1911. From the above, it is clear that he bought the club premises (which had previously belonged to the club [and its mortgagee, Lloyds Bank]) after the club was struck off. His address subsequently (e.g. in probate of will in 1929) was the Old Club House, Bowburn. That was presumably after Crow Trees WMC had its own new premises, in Durham Road West back street, and he had moved into their old premises.