Mrs Watford’s pub

york hotel king street sydney

The York Hotel, King Street Sydney in the 1937.


Mrs. Alexandrina Lillian Jean McKinley Watford, York Hotel publican.

ANOTHER chapter in the eventful history of the  Hotel York, King Street, City, was begun at the Quarter Sessions Appeals Court last Monday.The hotel is to have a new licensee. Or rather, the old one is to come back again.Back over the door will go the name of Mrs. Alexandrina Lillian Jean McKinley Watford.

It will replace the name of her son,Frederick William Watford.This is how it all came about: In January, 1944, while there was pending against her a charge of having permitted prostitution on her premises in November, 1943, Mrs. Watford transferred the licence to her son. Police Opposition last July, Mrs. Watford sought to regain the licence. The Full Licensing Bench refused it, on the ground that while she held the licence her conduct of the hotel had been injurious to public morals and decency.

The police opposed her application then on the ground that in February, 1944, Mrs. Watford had been convicted and fined £10 for having permitted the premises to be used for prostitution.It was stated at those proceedings that police had found several girls in bed with soldiers in the hotel. Mrs. Watford had said she did not know the women were there, but admitted she had had trouble with them and American servicemen before.

Against her conviction, Mrs. Watford later appealed. Judge Clancy – dismissed the appeal, but set aside the conviction, under the First Offenders’ provision. Judge Clancy said there were extenuating circumstances, in that whenever Mrs. Watford applied for additional labor to run the hotel properly she was refused it because it was not essential work.

At the Quarter Sessions Appeals Court last Monday, before Judge Holden, Mrs. Watford appealed against the Full Licensing Court’s refusal last July to transfer the licence back to her. The police admitted that since the last application the Hotel York had been adequately staffed and properly conducted, and Judge Holden found for Mrs. Watford.

Mr. Brian Clancy, K.C. (instructed by Mr. Warren, of Messrs. Smithers, Warren,and Lyons), for Mrs. Watford.

– The Truth (Sydney) Sunday 23 December 1945.


CHARGED with permitting the York Hotel (Sydney) to be used for the purpose of prostitution, Mrs. Alexandrina Lillian Jean McKinley Watford, former licensee, was fined £10 in Sydney last week.

Mr. Scobie, S.M., said that evidence of police witnesses of finding women in bed with Allied servicemen on November 14 and November 26 were not seriously contested. He was satisfied that the men and women had resorted to the premises for immoral purposes.

– Worker (Brisbane, QueenslandMonday 14 February 1944.


US. Servicemen were told when booking in at the York Hotel, king Street, city, that women were not to be brought in.

This evidence was given in a Petty Sessions Court yesterday when hearing was resumed of the charge against Mrs Alexandrina Watford of having as licensee, permitted the hotel to be  used for the purposes of prostitution between November 13 and 27.

Miss Gertrude Crawford gave evidence that she was manageress during the absence of Mir Watford and Mrs Bundy who managed at other times. When she saw two women in a bedroom about 7 p.m  said witness she ordered them out.There was liquor in the room, but the girls said they were just waiting for “the boys” to take them to a show.

Mrs Anna Mabel Bundy said she was in charge during Mrs Watford’s absence. On the five or six occasions when she had found women in the rooms she had told them to go, and had seen them off the premises. At  these times the men and women would be sitting in the bedrooms having drinks and they would be merry. The women were fully dressed.

Mr. Brian Clancy, KC (for Mrs Watford) submitted that the evidence did not show that the premises were used for purposes of prostitution.  

The hearing was adjourned until next Monday.

– The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 18 January 1944.

Categories: NSW hotels, Publicans

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