Drink Maps in Victorian Britain

Drink Maps in Victorian Britain

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A fascinating exploration of the history of alcohol in Victorian Britain via the “drink maps” that were made to promote sobriety.

What is a “drink map”? It may sound like a pub guide, yet it refers to a type of late nineteenth-century British map designed to shock and shame people into drinking less.

This book explores how drink maps were published in cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London, and Norwich to fight increasingly rampant alcohol consumption. Featuring red symbols to indicate where alcohol was sold, these street maps were posted in public places, submitted as evidence, sent to Members of Parliament, and published in newspapers to show just how inebriated a neighbourhood could be. They promoted the message that having fewer places to buy alcohol was the answer to reducing widespread crime, poverty, and sickness. And they worked—at first. After consulting a drink map in one town, judges decided to close half the licensed shops because even then no one had to walk more than two minutes to buy a beer.

Illustrated with original maps, advertisements, and temperance propaganda, their brief history is told amidst a tangle of licensing laws, rogue magistrates, irate brewers, ardent temperance organizers, and accounts of the complex role alcohol played across all levels of Victorian society.

          Author: Kris Butler

          Publisher: Bodleian

          Format Hardback

          Pages: 208

          ISBN: 9781851245789

          Publication Date: 2024