Following a chat at the bar on the above subject it was suggested that the drinking time restrictions in the UK were in place at the request/for the benefit of, landlords who insisted there be a break so they could re-use the same bar staff after they had had their rest. I think that was the gist of it but my attempts to advise the chap he may have been misinformed fell on deaf ears.
To begin with this is not a situation where health and safety restrictions would be implemented (there being none in place during the 18th and 19th centuries) but more so, why would any landlord willingly kick out paying customers at any point during the day/night?
The licensing laws were simply introduced in Britain during the height of the Gin epidemic when everyone was getting mortal on "Mother's ruin" and then modified during the war to ensure factory workers and soldiers weren't too pissed up to manufacture goods/weapons or to fight.
It took several decades before new licensing hours were introduced (2005) and England threw off its "binge drinking" culture...