Row over the Cambridge Bar

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'just like an old-fashioned beer shop where customers spit on the floor'

By Sybil Cavanagh

Customers of the Cambridge Bar, Addiewell, hit back this week at allegations by the chairman of the licensing court that the pub was “just like an old fashioned beer shop where customers spit on the floor.”

They described as “ridiculous nonsense” his claim that the pub badly needs decoration and said he could not judge the standard of a pub after just one five minute visit.

At a meeting of the West Lothian District Licensing Court last week, the chairman, Mr William Griffith, told Mr Richard Stinton of Ushers Brewery, who own the pub, that the firm would “be in trouble” if the premises were not “brought up to the standard we want in West Lothain by March”.  Mr Griffith told Mr Sinton, “You  are still shovelling coal on the fire as if it were an old bothy.  We are extremely dissatisfied with the state of this pub.”

 But the clear message from the regulars at the Cambridge is simply: “We are NOT.”  Mrs E. Bajai, 26 Meadowhead Crescent, Addiewell, had this to say: “As a customer of the Cambridge Bar, I strongly resent Mr Griffith’s defamatory remarks regarding this pub, and I know I echo the opinion of all other regulars.  “What kind of people does he think we are, who would go out for an evening to sit in a place where we can spit on the floor if we feel inclined, or in the company of others who do so?  The idea is ludicrous.”

 “As for badly needing decorated, it must be only four or five months since the painters were in.  This is completely misleading and conjures up a totally false picture of what is really a clean, decent, well-run pub, frequented by clean, decent, respectable people.  It is made to sound like a veritable black hole of Calcutta, patronised by beer-swilling morons.”

Mr John McGinty felt the same: “I don’t know how that man Griffiths can say things like this.  I have never seen anyone spit on the floor.  Everyone in the village is angry about this.  It casts a slight not just on the pub and brewers but upon the people of the village who use the place.”

Mr Myles Conway said: “I’ve been coming here for 25 years and never seen this pub in anything like the condition that was described.”   

Mr Hugh McGarvie was adamant about the good behaviour of the customers.  He said: “There has never been a fight in here for years.  The police will tell you that.”

Mr Peter Bannon said: “People can bring their wives here.  There is a very good sing-song on a Saturday night.”

And the manager of the Cambridge, Mr Peter Crossan (39), was equally amazed and angry at the chairman’s attack.  He told us this week: “I run a respectable bar and lounge here in Addiewell.  Most of my clients are older men and at weekends we cater for married couples in the lounge.  They are not the sort of people who go around spitting on floors. … His complaint about shovelling coal on the fire is ridiculous. The customers all welcome a bright coal fire, especially as the cold winter months are drawing near.”

 West Lothian Courier 7 Nov 1975, p1

This page was added by Sybil Cavanagh on 02/12/2015.