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Temperance

Enel

proper brummie kid
Does anyone on the forum have any recollection of temperance lessons in school? I remember having a certificate, although nothing of the lessons leading to the award. This would have been in around 1960, when I was nine, and had just moved to St Silas’ School in Lozells. All quite meaningless to me at the time I’m sure, since neither of my parents were drinkers, and the only booze in the house would have been the Christmas bottle of Cyprus sherry!
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i used to attend the salvation army in nursery road which was just round the corner from silas...came out one sunday afternoon with a pledge certificate after i had taken the oath not to drink...

lyn
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
I was persuaded to join a Temperance Club in the mid-1940s when I lived in Knowle Road. It was held in a hall somewhere between the College Arms and Hall Green proper, either on Stratford Road, or within a few yards from it. I was quite shy at that time and definitely not a mixer, and it turned out to be playing just a few indoor games, which certainly didn't appeal to me. I quit after the second visit. I don't remember there being any indoctrination to keep us from drinking, and I would have only been 9 or 10 years old. Nothing of that sort at school.

Maurice
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I have never signed any temperance pledges and have never been invited to do so. I can understand why such a viewpoint is held - many men and some women neglect their families due to excessive drinking expenditure. That probably is an attitude 'as old as the hills', as they say.
Given that beer was usually a much safer beverage, in moderation of course, than water in the past I do wonder what the statistics re death are, for instance, during the 18th. and 19th. centuries.
Were more deaths due to alcohol or more due to serious illnesses, usually contagious, from contaminated water? I am sure it would be the latter.
Wine is produced in a great many countries, not just the warmer sunnier ones. British wines are reported very good on the whole. Again wine was a much safer bet than water in past times and still is in many areas of the world.
Apart from a sip of communion wine I rarely drink alcoholic beverages of any type. I made a rule, in 1965 when I joined the Fire service never to drink and drive. I maintain that stance today, but now and again, usually in the evening when I know I will not be driving, I might have a small ale, stout or a glass of wine with a meal.
 

Enel

proper brummie kid
I can’t remember having made an oath, and as a child, surely I wasn’t expected to make one, was I? In any event, I have broken it since regularly. I now wish that I had kept that certificate, but I think that it was probably discarded long ago.

N
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
I don't think that the cops would have accepted it as evidence of innocence though, Enel! :cool:

Maurice
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
well mine signing of the pledge did not last long maurice...i did however sign it again just over 3 years ago this time sticking to it :D :D

lyn
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
I have never signed any temperance pledges and have never been invited to do so. I can understand why such a viewpoint is held - many men and some women neglect their families due to excessive drinking expenditure. That probably is an attitude 'as old as the hills', as they say.
Given that beer was usually a much safer beverage, in moderation of course, than water in the past I do wonder what the statistics re death are, for instance, during the 18th. and 19th. centuries.
Were more deaths due to alcohol or more due to serious illnesses, usually contagious, from contaminated water? I am sure it would be the latter.
Wine is produced in a great many countries, not just the warmer sunnier ones. British wines are reported very good on the whole. Again wine was a much safer bet than water in past times and still is in many areas of the world.
Apart from a sip of communion wine I rarely drink alcoholic beverages of any type. I made a rule, in 1965 when I joined the Fire service never to drink and drive. I maintain that stance today, but now and again, usually in the evening when I know I will not be driving, I might have a small ale, stout or a glass of wine with a meal.
Good point. Death from contaminated water was not really too much of a problem until 1831 when cholera arrived in the UK. Linked in with urbanisation, and the growth of the industrial revolution the problems with water were resolved over a short period of time. Cholera was sevear and swift, there were several cholera outbreaks, but the provision of an orgaiised water supply put an end to the big epidemics by around 1865. Clean water and effective sanitation also added around twenty years to the average life expectancy.

I don't know if temperance added to life expectancy or if drinking was a problem. Illness caused by drinking tend to take many years to develop, so it may be hard to pin it down as a specific cause. saying that its something worth looking into.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Morturn
Certainly contaminated water became more of a problem after 1831, but Pamela Sambrook in "Country House Brewing in England 1500-1900" states that "for centuries before the arrival of tea and coffee in the 1650s, and for a good 140 years after, most men and women in England depended on neer for the greater part of their liquid intake" as "to drink plain water might invite typhus or dysentery". Of course this would have been very weak beer, and the same effect might have been had by just boiling the water before drinking, but I guess that a weak beer tasted a lot better than just boiled water. "Licensed to sell" by Geoff Brandwood et al also say that "ale was a dietary medieval staple drunk in quantity by all classes of society and providing a safe drink when hygiene was poorly understood". As I understand it, the main social problems arose when distilled liquors became available.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Thanks Mike

I did think about the weak beers and ales, and have wondered about the state of knowledge relating to germ theory and water. Pamela Sambrook and Geoff Brandwood published their books in 1996 and 2004 respectively. I think they maybe making assumptions relating to boiling water in that we know this now, therefore its such a simple idea that we must have known about it forever. Saying that, I do agree that it may have been a problem arising out of distilled liquors. With no control or regulation, they may have been brewing and distilling some real nasty stuff that did have a significant impact on health.

Do you know when distilled liquors became popular?
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Brandwood states that in 1684 600,000 gallons of Netherlands gin was consumed in England, and in 1690 an act legalised the distillation of gin by anyone who wanted to without a licence
 

JohnWish

master brummie
The nearest I ever got to the temperance movement was on May Day, Whit Sunday or something similar when there was an excuse for a parade. The temperance Band of Hope had a girls marching band. There must have been a drum or two but most played kazoos. Not just 'soprano' ones but perhaps 'baritone'. Their uniforms were made from blue and white shiny material.

This must have been in the 1950's in Muntz St, Small Heath.
 

sandrada

knowlegable brummie
The Temperance movement in Aston had a cycling club and that made it a popular social group to belong to in the 1930s. Later in the 50s and early 60s it was a way of meeting up with friends and just socialising, and their jumble sales were good. The lodges were part of an International Society
 

Radiorails

master brummie
One thing is certain for BHF and that is if temperance were widespread there would not be many threads about pubs, beer houses, bars etc. :laughing:
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Pete,

All my late wife's family and relations were members of the S.A. and many in their bands and songster brigades. My late father-in-law and a few others did keep to their pledges about not drinking or smoking, but many of them nipped outside for a quiet cigarette and quite a few did drink. None of them were struck by lightning, but my father's sister was when young and became a heavy whisky drinker from middle age onwards. Make of that what you will! :)

Maurice
EdithSheppardBDP26061891.jpg
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Pete,

All my late wife's family and relations were members of the S.A. and many in their bands and songster brigades. My late father-in-law and a few others did keep to their pledges about not drinking or smoking, but many of them nipped outside for a quiet cigarette and quite a few did drink. None of them were struck by lightning, but my father's sister was when young and became a heavy whisky drinker from middle age onwards. Make of that what you will! :)

Maurice
View attachment 138083
beyond the shock..i like it maurice.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I have a long standing friend (a G3 radio Ham) who has belonged to a strict Protestant church all of his life - of a great many years. I know he is teetotal and has always been so, even when in the National Service within the RAF. To my great surprise, his brother who is also a leading light within that same church, is not, and was quite happy to tell me about all the wine he brought back earlier this year after visiting France.
As they say, "you can't judge a book by its cover". :laughing:
 
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