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Demon Drink? Temperance and the Working Class

Demon Drink? Temperance and the Working Class

The Temperance Movement, in which people took the pledge not to drink alcohol, effectively began in the North West and played an important part in the lives of many in the region. Despite this, it is a little remembered aspect of our history.

30 June 2012 — 24 February 2013

Strong drink is not nourishing! © Livesey Collection, UCLan

Demon Drink? draws on local and national collections and focuses on the everyday experiences and concerns of working people and their families around drink and abstinence.  Combining unique historical artefacts, archive film footage and oral histories this often forgotten story is brought to life.  Visitors will be able to explore this fascinating movement, take part in social activities that those involved would have enjoyed and even teach a temperance lesson.

Thematic displays explore the perceived need for the Temperance Movement, how society viewed it, its key messages and how people were encouraged to join.  The exhibition highlights the importance of children and social activities in promoting the movement’s message; providing an alternative to the public house by looking at temperance sporting events, parades, lessons, games, quizzes and children’s entertainments.

Visitors can take part in a whole host of activities, play on a human-scale temperance-related snakes and ladders game and tell their own families’ stories.  A fantastic range of public events accompany the exhibition, including illustrated talks, themed City Centre Trails, craft and family activities and a Magic Lantern Show.  Check out the What’ s On section of our website for further details.

This exhibition is part of a research project lead by Dr Annemarie McAllister from the University of Central Lancashire.  If you have personal memories of temperance movements (such as the Band of Hope, Rechabites, Orders of Good Templars or Phoenix, or church-linked Temperance societies) or you have family traditions or stories, please contact Dr Annemarie McAllister on email amcallister1@uclan.ac.uk or ring 01772 893799.

Follow the progress of the research project on Facebook and Twitter.  The exhibition will also be accompanied by a virtual exhibition that is available for the public to access via the internet.

Exhibition updates:

  • The museum commissioned photographer Tony Richards, who specialises in wet plate photography, to take shots of significant temperance spots around Manchester.  These photographs are displayed in the Demon Drink? exhibition.  Follow Tony’ s blog to see some of his amazing images.
  • If you’re a teacher, why not download the resource packs below for information and activities to enhance your groups’ visit to the Demon Drink? exhibition.  Take a look at our other Resource Packs and find out more about other subjects covered at the museum
    KS2 Demon Drink? Resource Pack
    KS3 & KS4 Demon Drink? Resource Pack

This exhibition has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.