Changed days but some of the same issues

By Gillian McKenzie

THE more things change, the more they stay the same – it’s a phrase that has come to mind often in recent months as the SLTN team has trawled the archives for our special 50th anniversary supplement, out later this month.
The landscape of Scotland’s licensed trade has changed immeasurably since the first issue of SLTN was published in 1964.
Back then, stories included an Aberdeen bar introducing a ‘ladies snuggery’ where females could “chatter cosily” while “the men are busy with darts and pints”; and the launch of a campaign to change Sunday drinking hours. There has been further change since – from licensing legislation and the smoking ban to the style of venues and drinks.
But while so much about the trade has changed, many of the issues and challenges facing operators have not.
Take the front page story from January 7, 1966, which reported that publicans had “lost thousands of pounds” over the festive season because whisky was being sold “much cheaper” in supermarkets. Or the May 22, 1964 issue which highlighted, long before Challenge 25, that one of the major problems facing licensees was “teenage drinkers”. The report said a test case at the High Court had established that “provided due and diligent inquiry was made by the licensee or his servant about the age of the customer, he or she was fulfilling the requirements of the Act”.
Don’t miss the special SLTN 50th anniversary supplement with the November 27 issue.