19 September 2019

Taking the pledge: the Temperance Movement in Victorian and Edwardian Bristol

From the 1830s until the First World War, the temperance movement was one of the most powerful and visible lobby groups in the country.

It never realised its goal of abolishing the trade in alcohol, but it exerted a strong influence on national politics, particularly the Liberal Party, and on local magistrates whose job it was to approve or reject applications for drinks licences.

In Bristol, a city with strong links to brewing and the wine trade, there were over a hundred temperance societies of one sort or another by the end of the nineteenth century, and they made their presence felt in a variety of ways, from mass evangelical rallies at the Colston Hall to ‘Happy Evenings for the People’ in local church halls, featuring tea and temperance homilies. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverage to this exploration of the age of coffee taverns, temperance hotels and pledge-signing missions.

Speaker: Alan Clarke is an independent researcher and was recently awarded a Master’s degree in History for work on the temperance movement.

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk.