Lighting prosecutions at Hertford

Hertfordshire Mercury, 6th November 1915


The first batch of cases under the Lighting Regulations were dealt with at Hertford Borough Sessions on Thursday, when thirteen residents, chiefly tradespeople, were proceeded against for infringing the new lighting Order.

The first defendant was Frederick G. Roser, of the Saracen’s Head Hotel, Ware Road, and he pleaded not guilty to an alleged breach of the Order on October 30.  PC Read said that at 8.50 p.m. on that date he noticed a bright light shining from the stained glass windows of the billiard room at the Saracen’s Head.  The top part of the windows were shaded, but the bottoms were uncovered.  He pointed out to the defendant that there was a bright light shining out into the road, which could be seen from a considerable distance.  The defendant said he had done all he could.  As the witness came out of the door he said ‘You have gone potty over the lighting now.  It’s a pity you didn’t do so before’.  PC Wright gave corroborative evidence, and said that when he passed a soldier and two young women were trying to look through the billiard room window to see who was inside.  PC Knight spoke to warning the defendant about his lights on October 27.  The defendant called Pte. John George Wilkinson, of the Hertfordshire Regiment, who proved buying some black curtains which were put over the top of the billiard room window, some brown paper being put over the bottom.  Blinds and curtains were also put up at the other windows.  Mr S. S. Squires said he lived beyond the Saracen’s Head, and had not seen any lights there to complain about.  He could not particularize as to any evening.  Mr G. Pollard, who also lives in Ware Road, said he had never seen any excessive light from the Saracen’s Head.  The defendant remarked that he could unhesitatingly say that anyone who said that a ray of light had fallen from his house across the roadway for the last two months was a liar.  At a meeting at which the Mayor was present recently he invited anyone to come to his place and see how the lights could be obscured, and he asked the Mayor if that was not so?  The Mayor: ‘I don’t remember you inviting me, but I know you said a great deal at that meeting’.  The defendant: ‘Well, that is so,  I don’t see why you should be dumb because the police are running about.  I have always tried to assist the police’.  The Mayor said the case was proved, and the defendant would be fined £1 and 4 shillings costs, or in default 14 days.  The defendant: ‘That is very clever of you’.  The Mayor: ‘You are liable to six months or £100’.  The defendant: ‘I know I am.  You had better take me away to St Albans at once’.

William Scott (35), manager of the International Stores, Hertford, was summoned for an offence under the Order, on October 29, which he admitted.  PC Hadder said that at 8.20 p.m. on that date the door of the shop was fixed wide open whilst a van was being unloaded, and there was a glaring light being thrown right across the road on to the Shire Hall.  There were also lights showing from the windows where the blinds did not fit closely.  The windows upstairs were also showing lights, and had no covering at all.  The defendant said the lights were painted black and shaded.   Four lads and he were unloading the van to get it done quickly.  PS Hadder replied that the defendant was not helping.  He was half-way up the shop near the desk lighting his pipe.  In reply to the Mayor, Supt Pear said the defendant had not been warned.  A fine of 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs, or seven days was imposed.

Mary Ann  Taylor (55), widow, of 32 Railway Street, was summoned for a breach of the regulations on October 29.  Supt Pear said that at 8 p.m. he was in Fore Street, and received a complaint as to lights from the defendant’s premises.  He was given permission to view them from the top storey of a building.  They were shining through a skylight.  The witness went to the house and the light was then put out, but next day he went and saw a skylight composed of 15 panes of glass, and there was no screen on it.  The defendant, who said she quite forgot it, was fined 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs, or seven days.

Thomas C. Bird (60), licensed victualler, of the Dimsdale Arms Hotel, Hertford, pleaded not guilty to a similar offence on October 30.  Supt Pear said that at 7.30 p.m. on October 30 he visited the defendant’s premises in consequence of a complaint.  He went down the yard and saw an unscreened window from which the light shone into the yard.  Several other windows had been partly screened, but there was light showing in places.  The Mayor: ‘Are the windows all right now?’  Supt Pear: ‘No, they were not last night’.  The defendant admitted he had been previously cautioned, and said he had done his best to obscure the light.  He could not buy any material in the town.  Fined £1 and costs 4 shillings, or 14 days.

Emily Webb (45), of 32 Fore Street, who appeared after her case had been settled, was similarly summoned.  PS Palmer said that on October 30, about 8 p.m., he saw a naked electric light in the defendant’s shop, which was shining across the street.  There were also other lights upstairs which shone into the street.  He called Mrs Webb’s attention to them, and she said they were working under-staffed, and she knew there was too much light.  She had been previously warned on three occasions.  Fined £1 and 4 shillings costs.

Charles Eyles (51), licensed victualler, of the Angel Inn, Railway Street, was also summoned for breaking the regulations on October 30.  PC Bushnell said he called the landlord’s attention to a light shining through a skylight at 8 p.m. .  At 8.25 p.m. the light had not been covered up, so the witness called again, and the defendant covered it this time.  Fined 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs or 7 days.

Thomas Ellis (37), hairdresser, of Bull Plain, was fined 10s. and 4s. costs or 7 days for showing too much light on October 30.  PC Read said the light from the defendant’s door flashed like a searchlight as people went in and out.  The defendant said he would do all he could to stop it, but he must have a light to carry on his business.  The defendant assured the Bench that he took every precaution, but he forgot the doorway.

William Brown (60), licensed victualler, of the Woolpack, Old Cross, was also fined 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs for a breach of the regulations on October 31.  PS Palmer said that at 8 p.m. lights were coming from the defendant’s house which lit up the buildings opposite.  There were lights in the bedroom which had no blind.  In the bar downstairs some thin tapestry had been put round which did not screen the light sufficiently.  The witness told him to put some cardboard up, but he had to go in twice to get him to do it.  The defendant said he had endeavoured to do the best he could.

‘I turned the light on to go to bed’ was the remark which Frederick Vines (63), plumber,of St. Andrew Street, made when summoned for a similar offence on October 31.  PS Hadder said he was with PC Knight near the Red Lion at 11.10 p.m. when he saw a light shining across the road.  He went towards it, and saw two of the defendant’s upstair windows with the blinds up.  The defendant was standing in front of the looking-glass drinking from a glass.  The defendant: ‘I had some lemonade because I had a sore throat.’  The witness, continuing, said he shouted to the defendant to pull down the blinds.  The defendant: ‘I had no time to pull the blinds down’.  The witness: ‘You had time to get the drink’.  The defendant: ‘My house is covered up better than any in the town’.  Fined 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs.

Frederick G. Brient (42), manager of Messrs Simson & Co., and a member of the Town Council, pleaded guilty to a breach of the regulations.  PS Palmer said that on Monday at 6.30 p.m. lights were shining from the window of Messrs Simson & Co. into the road and also from the workshop in Parliament Row.  He called Mr Brient’s attention to it and the lights were switched out.  The witness called attention to the office lights, and the defendant promised to get some material and cover them.  The defendant said that on this occasion the lights at the back were undoubtedly alight as they had to stay later than usual to complete an urgent military matter.  Clause 4 of the Order would, he thought, come into operation in his case, but he did not want to press it.  They had voluntarily altered the hours of working so that the people could be out of the place by 5.30..  PS Hadder said he had previously warned someone in the office, but the defendant said he knew nothing about that.  A fine of 10 shillings and 4 shillings costs was imposed.

David Dunnett (32), manager of the Home & Colonial Stores, Maidenhead Street, was fined a similar amount for a like offence on November 1.  PC Starkey said that when told that lights were shining across the road the defendant attended to them at once.  The witness had previously warned an assistant on Saturday.

Otho Wigginton (66), grocer, of Maidenhead Street, was also fined 10 shillimgs and 4 shillings costs for a breach of the Order.  He pleaded not guilty.  PC Starkey said that on Monday last lights were shining from windows at the side of Mr Wigginton’s shop, and there was a skylight which was not screened.  He drew the defendant’s attention to the matter and he promised to see to it.  The witness reminded him that it was the third time he had been to tell him about his lights.  He saw the cashier twice and Mr Wigginton once.  The same lights were on again last night.  Mr Palmer: ‘The skylight?’  ‘Yes’.  The defendant denied that he had been cautioned three times.  The police all the way through seemed to judge from the light inside the premises, but that was not an offence.  His shop was as dark as anyone’s outside.

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