Ovingdean Village Hall

Beer and Biscuits

By Bill Hollis

 
Photo:The original Ovingdean Village Club

The original Ovingdean Village Club

From the private collection of Jennifer Drury

The licence had lapsed

Not long after it opened there was a liquor licence granted for the Village Club in Ovingdean. Unfortunately it had lapsed and nobody bothered to reapply or extend it. This meant that if you wanted a drink you had to go to Rottingdean or Brighton so club visitors were not very happy about that. So some of us got together to see if we could get the licence back, because even though it had lapsed, it had not been taken away from the club.

My great idea

In those days we used to open a lot more evenings than they do now, and so we applied for the licence to be reinstated.  Unfortunately, when we got the first beer delivery the licence had not yet come through. But of course people wanted to have a drink, but I had to say ‘I can’t sell you a drink’. Eventually I came up with what I thought was a great idea. I took in packets of biscuits and said ‘If you want to buy a biscuit for two shillings I’ll give you a beer with the biscuit’; and that is how I got around our licensing problem. 

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That takes the biscuit

One night two policemen walked in; they knew we did not have the licence and they asked if we were selling beer. When I said that I was not, they said ‘Well what’s that on the shelves?’ To which I rather cheekily replied, ‘That’s free – I’m selling biscuits’. Of course they were both rather incredulous and so I explained to them if they gave me two shillings for a biscuit I would give them a bottle of beer.  The policeman said ‘Well I thought I’d heard it all - but if you’ll pardon the pun – that takes the biscuit!’

Extract from 'In Living Memory:an oral history of Ovingdean Village' by Jennifer Drury. Available in the Jubilee Library
This page was added on 23/09/2014.

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