“Parrot Swore at Police”: Blaengarw Club Raid Incident

The following story comes from the South Wales Echo of  7/4/1937

A parrot, which was alleged to have been kept in the bar of the Blaengarw Workingmen’s Club was stated to have sympathised with the members of the club when Police raided the premises, and to have sworn at the Police. Following the raid, application was made to the Bridgend Magistrates today for the club to be struck off the register on the grounds that it was not being run properly; there was frequent drunkenness on the premises, and that persons that were not members were habitually admitted.

W.M. Thomas solicitor, of Bridgend prosecuted for the Police and Mr Forbes, barrister of London, instructed by L.J. Davies & Son of Pontyclun, defended.

After dealing with various objections about the club, Mr Thomas stated that the management committee  of the club appeared designed for one object only – the sale of beer. On Saturday the 30th of January the day of the raid there were alleged to be only 61 men on the premises, but none of them, according to the subscriptions book had paid their subscriptions for that quarter. The raid was carried out by Inspector David Richards of Ogmore Vale and 8 or 9  police officers who were posted at various points in the club.  When Inspector Richards walked toward some of the men in the bar, they became offensive.

Mr Thomas added that a parrot kept hung in the bar seemed well trained in the atmosphere of the club. It did not conceal its disgust at the Police who raided the club, but expressed its sympathy openly with the members – for every time the police passed the cage, the parrot said  “Bugger you”.

Mr Thomas stated that the secretary Mr David Hughes was sent for, and he appeared to be very much under the influence of drink. When the warrant was read out to him, he asked “Who is this Inspector Richards? Where is he?” after the Inspector told him, he said  “Well let’s have a pint before we start then”.

Mr Thomas stated that the Police then took possession of the club’s books, which showed that the total bar takings for the year 1936 were £2,659.9.2p There were 56 gallons of beer on the premises at the time of the raid – and the books showed that the average consumption per member for the past 6 months was 17 pints per week, but that did not include the amount consumed by casual visitors.

Mr Thomas said that there were no newspapers on the premises but there were 370 books, all covered with dust, and with the exception of one book called “The Maid of Cefn Ydfa”, there were no other books being read at the time.

The Club avoided being struck off and the police application failed, but the club was placed under close observation for 12 months.

The parrot got away scot-free.

Excerpt taken from “Blaengarw Workingmens Club 2, The First fifty Years” by Arthur Davies

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