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New Clause—(Fixing Of Notices On Church Doors)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1949

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Any provision of the Act of 1910 requiring a notice, or a copy of a notice, to be fixed on the door of a church or chapel shall have effect as if it required the notice or copy to be fixed either on the door of the church

or chapel or on some public and conspicuous place near the door thereof.—[ Mr. Baker White.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The position as I understand it is that, under the Act of 1910, licensing notices must be affixed to the church or chapel door and that even if there is a notice board nearby the people fixing the notices are diffident about affixing notices there, because they fear that they may be breaking the law if they do. The result is that some valuable church doors are being badly damaged. Someone sends round a small boy with a large hammer and a pocket full of three inch nails to put up a licensing notice. Instead of the ancient studs being in the doors, a lot of church doors are now studded with other ugly nails. The purpose of this Clause is to make it legal to fix notices in some suitable place adjacent to the church or chapel door.

It is appropriate that the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White) should bring this semi-ecclesiastical matter before the House. I know that there is in his constituency outside the cathedral city one very ancient church which I have no doubt Members of the House have visited from time to time with great interest. I refer to the Church at Reculver where I understand damage has been done to an historic church door by the undue observance of the strict letter of the law. There is a fear, of course, that when these matters are sternly contested in the courts it may be alleged that the law has not been complied with because a notice was not actually affixed to the church door. All other notices—notices in relation to elections, excise notices and so on—are now allowed to be placed on a properly provided board adjacent to the church door. It would seem reasonable that the same rule should apply to these notices under the Licensing Acts. Therefore, I have much pleasure in advising the House to accept the new Clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.