It was the late 1860s when the licence of The Turk’s Head public house in Leeds, West Yorkshire, was granted to John Lupton Whitelock, an innkeeper from the small town of Armley, around 150 years after the very first licence for the building was granted. A music licence was also granted for Whitelock to keep a piano on the premises, in order that the instrument be “nightly played for the delectation of the assembled company.”
The Turk’s Head soon became known as Whitelock’s First City Luncheon Bar, serving food to an enthralled public, who had never before experienced such a revolutionary establishment. John Lupton Whitelock installed some of the ornate decor that is still on show today, such as the long marble-topped bar, and it wasn’t long until the old public house was fitted with electricity, including a spectacular revolving searchlight over the entrance to the yard to attract the attention of passers-by. Even the original prices are still preserved in the etched glass that covers the bar.
“Sausages & Potatoes 3d.” it proudly declares, and “Cheese and Biscuits 1d. or Pies 2d.”
Whitelock’s received much custom during the 19th century, particularly Tuesdays and Saturdays, as these were the days when the market at Briggate was held. Prince George, who later became the Duke of Kent, even visited when he entertained a party of people.
The pub stayed in the hands of the Whitelock family for many years. John Lupton Whitelock passed the ownership on to his son when he moved to the Black Lion Hotel on Mill Hill, Leeds. And that was when all his troubles began!
Not only was he fined for watering down his gin, John Lupton Whitelock, the landlord of the Black Lion Hotel, was further charged at the Borough Police Court on 17 Feb 1888 under the 14th Section of the Licensing Act of 1874 with having knowingly permitted his premises to be “the habitual resort and place of meeting of women of suspicious character”!
On the evenings of 18th, 19th, 20th, 27th, 29th, 30th and 31st of January 1888, Detective Sergeants Easby and McKinnon visited the hotel, and on each occasion they discovered “women of loose character” there.
“And what’s more,” the detectives reported, “these women often stay in the house longer than is necessary!”
The whole affair was reported in the Leeds Mercury on 18 Feb 1888. The newspaper stated that on one occasion the defendant had said:
“I have not had so many women in the house before, but I swear I will keep them out as well as I can in future, as both the police and the Vigilance Society have it in for me!”
Several witnesses were called for the defence, who provided evidence that the pub operated certain strict rules concerning these women, including:
1. The women were not to be supplied with more than one glass of liqueur.
2. They were not allowed to be in the house for more than ten minutes.
Obviously both of these rules had been breached!
The bench retired, and after much consultation, the defendant was fined £5.
Despite all the trouble, John Lupton Whitelock stayed at the Black Lion Hotel with his wife until his death in 1896. His estate was valued at £1,386 7s. 3d. – which would have been quite a sum today.
To find out about the lives of your ancestors, contact Ancestry by Heir Line, the professional genealogy company that works on family history projects from all over the world.