In January, 1916,  the Craven Herald explored how the introduction of licensing laws shortly after the outbreak of the First World War sparked outrage and claims that it was an infringement of the liberty of every Englishman then fighting on the Western Front. It didn’t take long for the long arm of the law to ensnare one of the first law breakers.

THE bacchanalian booze-up at the Black Bull, in Colne Road, Cowling, on April 2, 1916, a beautiful spring day, so shocked the Petty Session bench in Skipton when the 14 offenders rolled-up to face the music that the presiding magistrate told them that it was the most flagrant breach of the law he had witnessed.

In the dock were the inn keeper John Yates and his wife Francis accused of serving intoxicating liquor during prohibited hours and 12 of their customers charged with consuming alcohol during prohibited hours.

One wiseacre, Wilson Pritchard, a weaver, was done for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty. He had probably read the Craven Herald earlier in the year and was awakened by the "call to arms" by local licensed victuallers who had made an appeal to the men of Craven to fight the introduction of pub drinking hours.

He took it literally and bloated with boozy courage he incited the other men to "get stuck in", bawling "are we going to stand for this men, let's rush 'em". Needless to say, nobody took up his invitation.

Instead, most of them attempted to get rid of their beer and whisky, throwing glasses under seats, knocking over whisky tots and trying to tip up the glass sample bottle being used by the police officer to collect liquid evidence.

When eventually rounded up for interview and asked for their names and addresses, Pritchard and five others gave bogus information. Still the comedian, Pritchard said he was Ernest Rothschild from New York and when this was later revealed in court it sparked roars of laughter among the public and the bench.

One character claimed he had simply called in for a sandwich and was not the owner of the pint standing on the bar in front of him. Others insisted they were drinking ginger ale.

Mr Yates himself had a plausible excuse and he was backed up by his wife. He said he had been "out back" feeding the chickens and had not served any ale all afternoon.

Incredibly, they all denied the offences but it took the bench only 15 minutes to reach a verdict of guilty and come back with "heavy penalties", declared the Craven Herald.

Mr and Mrs Yates were each fined £25 - the equivalent of about £2,300 today - and the rest were told to pay 40 shillings for breaching the licensing rules. Pritchard found himself having to fork out £3 - £300 today - punishment for the other offences and five others had an additional 10 shillings to find for giving false names and addresses.

The bench had earlier heard that the Black Bull was known as a "season house" as it was not often visited during the winter months because of its out of the way location, but in summer it was a magnet for the mill folk of Lancashire who trundled over the tops in motor coaches to enjoy the beauty of Yorkshire. This was just such a day.

Police had arrived at 4.50pm and the passageway into the pub was crowded - later it was estimated between 50 and 60 people were present.. There were men in the tap room and pint pots and glasses on the tables and several men holding glasses of beer. The smoking room contained both men and women with glasses.

Upon spotting the police officer, Mrs Yates was seen to attempt to take back a pint she had just served but the customer said: "I've paid for it, I'm going to sup it!" and putting the glass to his lips glugged away finishing with a flourish.

Later police went on to find nine men and three women all quaffing away in the snug and the police officer proceeded to attempt to take samples of what was being drunk. It was at this point that glasses were thrown under the tables and knocked over and Pritchard struck out twice at the police officer challenging him to a punch up.

Meanwhile, as the police were trying to sort out the drunks in the snug, the others in the remainder of the building took the opportunity to run off as fast as they could.

Summing up, the chairman of the Bench said: "The Bench have never had before them a worse case than this. It is a most flagrant breach of duty on the part of the landlords and landlady and a very bad offence on the part of the other defendants."

Before 1914, landlords who were licensed to sell alcohol, could more or less serve when they wished. But come the war the Government, through the Defence of the Realm Act, introduced a series of restrictions. Broadly they allowed drinking only between noon and 2.30pm and from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Today, the building no longer serves alcohol. It closed as the Black Bull ten years ago when it became the location for hand-crafted furniture Dovetail.

From the outside the building remains structurally unchanged and even inside the rooms are essentially the same, says manager Chris Jardine.

"Dovetail as it's now known has been manufacturing and installing beautiful bespoke kitchens and furniture for over 30 years," he said.

"The Black Bull offered everything we needed from plenty of floor space, individual rooms, large car park and offers our clients a relaxed out of town shopping experience."