Western Daily Press article 6th June, 1871 – Disturbance in the Avonmouth Music Hall

Scan of Western Daily Press article text 6th June, 1871 - Disturbance in the Avonmouth Music Hall

Transcript: LAWFORD’S GATE PETTY SESSION. THURSDAY. — Before Mr H. C. HARFORD, Dr. GOODEVE, Mr W. SOMMERVILLE, and Mr B. SMITH DISTURBANCE IN THE AVONMOUTH MUSIC HALL. John Hill, a youth, was charged with being disorderly in the Avonmouth Gardens, and refusing to quit when requested. Mr White, the manager of the gardens, stated that on June 10th he noticed the prisoner and two others behaving in a disorderly manner in the hall, and creating a disturbance there by whistling, shouting, and moving the chairs, to the great annoyance of persons in the room, who numbered from 150 to 200.  Whilst the band was playing a selection of music, the prisoner and his companions made such a noise that the band had to stop.  The disturbance continued for about three hours, and as the prisoner refused to leave, witness at length gave him into the custody of a policeman sent for from Shirehampton.  Mr Lovell, band conductor, and Mr Randall, violinist, corroborated the above evidence. P.C. Stephens stated that after he came to the hall the disturbance continued, notwithstanding he told the prisoner to desist.  The prisoner denied taking any part in the disturbance, and a witness named Emily Vincent stated that she saw the disturbance, but the prisoner was not engaged in it. She did not consider the disturbance disgraceful, and the music stopped, she believed, because of two young men dancing together.  Mary Ann Griffiths said she was present in the hall and did not see any disorderly conduct.  The music stopped because of two young men dancing, one of whom was the prisoner.  A young man named Oxley stated that he was with the prisoner all the time, and did not see him behave in a disorderly manner.  Chas. Parfitt, another visitor in the hall, said there were not enough females in the hall to dance with the men, and when two men got up to dance together the manager stopped them. The only disturbance he saw was caused by some navvies being brought to stop the dancing, and he did not see the prisoner do anything out of the way. — Uriah Parfitt and Robert Wills were charged with the same offence.  The evidence was to the same effect as in the last case.  In regard to the dancing, Mr White stated that he told the prisoners that the dancing of men in the hall without females was not allowed, and another witness said he heard the prisoners express their intention to knock gainst the males and females who were dancing together.  Mr Essery, who appeared for Wills, characterised the charges as very trivial, and said it was no very heinous crime that in the absence of sufficient ladies they should dance together. They had been quite enough punished as it was through being in custody, and he thought it would be sufficient for them to give a promise not to create a disturbance in the hall in future.  The bench considered that the prisoners had acted in a disreputable and improper way, and fined them each 21s and costs, or in default of payment  a month’s imprisonment.