7 MARCH 1896, Page 3

An interesting experiment on the licensing system, in - the Bishop

of Cheater's sense, has been made within the Corporation of Birmingham. The Corporation opened, in September, 1894, a public-house in Elan village for the purpose of trying how strict regulations, all made in the interests of temperance, in combination with the supply of refreshments that are not intoxicating, as well as wholesome stimulants, would affect the population of the village,— the profits being spent in providing innocent amusements for the people, namely, a good reading room and a recreation room, with a bagatelle-table, and, we suppose, draughts and chess and other such games, for the benefit of the village, in a building separate from the public-house. This place of refreshment has had to compete with an ordinary public- house of older standing, and has gained rapidly upon it, so that the Gothenburg experiment has proved to be quite popular with the people of Elan, in spite of its strict regulations for the securing of temperance. The experiment has been con- ducted by Mr. Lees, the secretary to the Water Department of the Birmingham Corporation, and he gives it as his final opinion, after more than a year and a quarter's trial, that though he is himself, individually, a total abstainer, "he is per- fectly certain that we are serving the interests of temperance far better in providing wholesome liquor, under proper regula- tions, than we should be, did we attempt to prohibit the traffic altogether, leaving it to be conducted in the usual way." From an earnest teetotaler that is an opinion which should carry weight.