Thursday, 23 February 2012

Licensed premises in Scotland 1945 - 2009

Every so often I make a little mining expedition to the number-heavy regions of my library. The precious numbers I hew from the rocks are then carefully packaged up into tables. Which I take out and admire periodically.

Or if I'm feeling generous (or abusive, depending on your point of view) I'll show them to family and  friends. "Ooh, isn't that fascinating." Is what they never say. Usually it's "Dad, I'm trying to watch Pointless." "I'm not interested in that crap, Ronald." Though often it's more negative than that.

I'm particularly proud of this table, documenting as it does Scottish on and off licences for the whole postwar period. Well, at least as far as 2009. Taking it any further could be a problem.as the Scottish Executive has stopped publishing the statistics in 2007. Bastards. Don't they realise what an inconvenience to me that is? They did the same once in the past. The figures for 1981 to 1990 are the British Beer and Pub Association's guess.

You may notice something slightly surprising in the numbers:

Licensed premises in Scotland 1945 - 2009
Year Public houses Hotels Pubs & hotels Restricted Hotels Restaurants Restricted Hotels & Restaurants Registered clubs Off licences Total
1945 4,080 1,506 5,586 681 2,188 8,455
1946 4,084 1,565 5,649 740 2,204 8,593
1947 4,103 1,646 5,749 773 2,257 8,779
1948 4,111 1,690 5,801 834 2,313 8,948
1949 4,115 1,709 5,824 884 2,342 9,050
1950 4,118 1,740 5,858 912 2,366 9,136
1951 4,123 1,768 5,891 944 2,380 9,215
1952 4,111 1,770 5,881 966 2,387 9,234
1953 4,134 1,800 5,934 990 2,409 9,333
1954 4,156 1,826 5,982 1,021 2,424 9,427
1955 4,162 1,821 5,983 1,056 2,426 9,465
1956 4,176 1,846 6,022 1,132 2,434 9,588
1957 4,201 1,872 6,073 1,169 2,444 9,686
1958 4,181 1,893 6,074 1,219 2,482 9,775
1959 4,177 1,942 6,119 1,245 2,499 9,863
1960 4,186 1,987 6,173 1,297 2,580 10,050
1961 4,206 2,056 6,262 1,326 2,782 10,370
1962 4,218 2,096 6,314 60 44 104 1,379 2,961 10,758
1963 4,212 2,138 6,350 111 106 217 1,421 3,131 11,119
1964 4,222 2,196 6,418 142 148 290 1,497 3,242 11,447
1965 4,213 2,265 6,478 149 175 324 1,554 3,385 11,741
1966 4,222 2,319 6,541 170 201 371 1,607 3,384 11,903
1967 4,230 2,404 6,634 184 221 405 1,686 3,555 12,280
1968 4,198 2,449 6,647 212 274 486 1,793 3,630 12,556
1969 4,111 2,509 6,620 226 307 533 1,890 3,644 12,687
1970 4,190 2,565 6,755 227 358 585 1,938 3,766 13,044
1971 4,176 2,609 6,785 250 406 656 2,073 3,819 13,333
1972 4,064 2,646 6,710 270 431 701 2,148 3,872 13,431
1973 4,086 2,769 6,855 304 501 805 2,214 4,021 13,895
1974 3,923 2,745 6,668 319 540 859 2,306 4,019 13,852
1975 4,002 2,755 6,757 317 587 904 2,404 4,182 14,247
1976 4,132 2,871 7,003 345 670 1,015 2,398 4,365 14,781
1977 4,192 2,865 7,057 365 713 1,078 2,600 4,446 15,181
1978 4,309 2,990 7,299 393 775 1,168 2,671 4,625 15,763
1979 4,363 2,928 7,291 419 853 1,272 2,594 4,712 15,869
1980 4,472 2,959 7,431 438 921 1,359 2,723 4,899 16,412
1981 7,450 1,400 2,750 5,000 16,600
1982 7,450 1,450 2,800 5,100 16,800
1983 7,450 1,500 2,850 5,200 17,000
1984 7,450 1,550 2,850 5,300 17,150
1985 7,450 1,600 2,825 5,400 17,275
1986 7,450 1,650 2,825 5,550 17,475
1987 7,450 1,700 2,800 5,600 17,550
1988 4,472 2,959 7,450 1,750 2,775 5,650 17,625
1989 7,500 1,800 2,750 5,700 17,750
1990 7,550 1,850 2,700 5,800 17,900
1991 4,828 2,731 7,559 570 1,314 1,884 2,668 5,912 18,023
1992 4,831 2,712 7,543 573 1,333 1,906 2,631 5,933 18,013
1993 4,847 2,665 7,512 564 1,383 1,947 2,594 5,994 18,047
1994 4,880 2,649 7,529 563 1,399 1,962 2,558 6,112 18,161
1995 4,978 2,622 7,600 549 1,446 1,995 2,521 6,268 18,384
1996 5,070 2,616 7,686 581 1,488 2,069 2,484 6,365 18,604
1997 5,267 2,612 7,879 542 1,507 2,049 2,448 6,386 18,762
1998 5,152 2,562 7,714 521 1,500 2,021 2,492 6,337 18,564
1999 5,094 2,524 7,618 532 1,490 2,022 2,501 6,397 18,538
2000 5,080 2,491 7,571 506 1,476 1,982 2,556 6,368 18,477
2001 5,084 2,455 7,539 475 1,473 1,948 2,513 6,336 18,336
2002 5,082 2,424 7,506 484 1,453 1,937 2,526 6,249 18,218
2003 5,122 2,384 7,506 470 1,474 1,944 2,349 6,104 17,903
2004 5,184 2,338 7,522 453 1,489 1,942 2,347 6,341 18,152
2005 5,150 2,261 7,411 422 1,506 1,928 2,338 6,378 18,055
2006 5,177 2,249 7,426 399 1,529 1,928 2,285 6,332 17,971
2007 5,186 2,174 7,360 356 1,514 1,870 2,242 6,232 17,704
2009 16,639
Sources:
1945 - 1959: Statistical Handbook of the BBPA 1988, page 52.
1960 - 1979: Statistical Handbook of the BBPA 2011, page 75.

See what I mean? Apart from a blip in 1974 and 1975 (pretty tough years in the UK - one of the reasons I went to university) the number of pubs and hotels rose slowly but steadily from 1945 to 1980. Since then, the number has been very stable at around 7,500. The increase between 1945 and 1980 was 33%. Which way outstrips any population growth. In 1945 4,640,000 people lived in Scotland. In 1969, 5,180,000.

Why surprising? Because the talk is always about how much pub numbers have declined. Which isn't at all what these numbers show.

Obviously the growth in pub numbers in Scotland postwar is insignificant compared to the surge in off-licence numbers, which nearly trebled in the period covered by the table. That, and the new categories of restricted hotels and restaurants helped to double the total number of licences.


Not all what I would have guessed.

5 comments:

Steve Lamond said...

but a drop of over a thousand between 2007 and 2009? Ie, right at the time of financial slowdown. I guess some categories may have been omitted from that total though.

Barm said...

We need to bear in mind that 1945 is not necessarily a good starting point. Prohibitionists like to use 1945 as a basis to “prove” how drinking has rocketed, probably because it was a 20th century low point in alcohol consumption. We need to go further back for a true picture.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, I'm aware of that and will have another post covering 1900 to 1945. The only reason that I started with the later period is that I already had all the numbers. I'm still trying to pull together the pre-WW II figures.

It's a classic way to manipulate figures, picking the start and end dates carefully. That's why I like to have very large sets of data covering long periods of time. So the figures are represented fairly.

Ron Pattinson said...

Steve, the problem is that the real figures haven't been published for the last few years. Making it pretty well impossible to really see what's going on.

Martyn Cornell said...

The rise looks to be down to the Licensing Act 1961, which made it easier for supermarkets to get licences, and in particular the ending of resale price maintenance for drink in 1966, which encouraged even more supermarkets to get licences and enter the "off-sales" market.