• Belfast Between The Wars

BELFAST DANCE HALL SCENES: MAGISTRATE TAKES STERN VIEW, FINES IMPOSED

Northern Whig, Tuesday 7th June 1938


Disorderly scenes outside the Ivy Dance Hall, Ravenhill Road, led to the appearance in Belfast Custody Court yesterday of William Jones, Clermont Lane; John Johnson, Dufferin Street; and William Johnston, Dufferin Street, who were charged with disorderly behaviour on Saturday night. Albert Close, of Westbourne Street, who was charged along with the others, did not appear. His mother said he had got to work after being off for some time, and that he would lose his job.


Mr. J. H. Campbell, R.M., imposed a fine on 20s for failure to appear on his mother, the bailee.


Constable Fleming said on Friday and Saturday there had been trouble outside the hall, caused by groups of young men partly under the influence of drink shouting and cursing the police and acting in a disorderly manner. There had been several very serious assaults with knives in this dance hall. On Saturday the four boys came out of the Ivy, three of them under the influence of drink. They were arm-in-arm. There was a crowd of over 100 gathered outside. This was a usual occurrence. The night before there had been a bad row, bottles through windows on the road. The accused used filthy language towards the police, and he had to call reinforcements to have them arrested.


The Johnstons and Jones denied the offences.


Mr. Campbell said it was quite apparent for some time that this Ivy Dance Hall was a plague spot in the city. It was attended by various crowds of well-dressed black-guards, who were a nuisance and an annoyance to people in the vicinity. “I have determined,” he continued, “for some time past that I would not deal as leniently as I have done in previous cases from this dance hall.”


John Johnston, who had a record, was sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment with hard labour, and ordered to enter into bail at the termination to be of good behaviour for twelve months. The other three were fined 40s and ordered to enter into similar bail.