The Temperance Movement

3 Feb, 2022 340 Law

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the momentum behind teetotalism in 19th Century Britain, when calls for moderation gave way to complete abstinence in pursuit of a better life. Although arguments for temperance had been made throughout the British Isles beforehand, the story of the organised movement in Britain is often said to have started in 1832 in Preston, when Joseph Livesey and seven others gave a pledge to abstain. The movement grew quickly, with Temperance Halls appearing as new social centres in towns in place of pubs, and political parties being drawn into taking sides either to support abstinence or impose it or reject it.

The image above, which appeared in The Teetotal Progressionist in 1852, is an example of the way in which images contained many points of temperance teaching, and is (c) Copyright Livesey Collection at the University of Central Lancashire.

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  • Annemarie McAllister No other episodes
    Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central Lancashire
  • James Kneale No other episodes
    Associate Professor in Geography at University College London
  • David Beckingham No other episodes
    Associate Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of Nottingham

Reading list

  • The Licensed City: Regulating Drink in Liverpool, 1830-1920
    David Beckingham (Liverpool University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • From Inebriety to Addiction: Terminology and Concepts in the UK, 1860-1930
    Virginia Berridge, Jennifer Walke and Alex Mold (Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, 28: 1, 2014)
  • Drink and the Victorians: The Temperance Question in England, 1815-1872
    Brian Harrison (Keele University Press, 1994) Google Books →
  • The place of drink: Temperance and the public, 1856-1914
    James Kneale (Social & Cultural Geography, 2:1, 2001)
  • Crusade against Drink in Victorian England
    Lilian Lewis Shiman (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988) Google Books →
  • Demon Drink? Temperance and the Working Class
    Annemarie McAllister (Kindle e-book, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Alternative World of the Proud Non-Drinker; Nineteenth-century public Displays of Temperance
    Annemarie McAllister (Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, 28: 2, 2014)
  • Picturing the Demon Drink: How Children were Shown Temperance Principles in the Band of Hope
    Annemarie McAllister (Visual Resources, 28:4, 2012)
  • Temperance battle songs: the musical war against alcohol
    Annemarie McAllister (Popular Music, 35: 2, 2016)
  • The Politics of Alcohol: A History of the Drink Question in England
    James Nicholls (Manchester University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Alcohol in the Age of Industry, Empire and War
    Deborah Toner (Bloomsbury, 2021) Google Books →
  • What Did the British Temperance Movement Accomplish? Attitudes to Alcohol, the Law and Moral Regulation
    Henry Yeomans (Sociology, 45: 1, 2016)

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, in 1832 in Preston, Lancashire, seven men signed the pledge to abstain from all liquors of an intoxicating quality, whether ale, porter, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicines.