Ever thought about giving up the booze? stopping drinking for good? For a lot of people drinking alcohol is a way to relax, to wind down, to forget everything, to get silly and dance around like a maniac, right? Britain has an ongoing problem with alcohol consumption in young people and adults, leading to the term ‘Booze Britain’ being coined to refer to the binge drinking lifestyle adopted by a large percentage of the British population. These alcohol related problems are nothing new.
The Temperance Movement: In 1847 the Band of Hope was founded in Leeds with the aim of saving working class children from the perils of drink. The Temperance Movement set out to save the working classes from the ‘devil drink’ to enable them to sober up, increase productivity and secure the vote. The members had to pledge to abstain “from all liquors of an intoxicating quality, whether ale, porter, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicine” A trend which soon caught on and saw 1 in 10 adults ‘taking the pledge.’ Temperance Bars such as FitzPatricks’ popped up all over the place and were a fashionable place to hang out, play games and share in a sweet delicious tonic.
A while ago I watched my favourite T.V cookery personalities ‘The Hairy Bikers’ visit FitzPatrick’s Temperance Bar, the last standing temperance bar in Britain. After seeing the show I was dying to organise a visit, to relive the rich temperance heritage and sample some of those freshly brewed tonics. For those of you unfamiliar with ‘The Hairy Bikers’ here’s a clip from the show i’m referring to. It gives you an incredible insight into the history of the temperance movement and features some great historical video footage:
Visiting FitzPatrick’s: This morning I finally made it to FitzPatrick’s, the rain was pouring as we made our way to a damp and grey Rawtenstall in Lancashire in the north of England. My Dad remembers the FitzPatrick’s from his childhood as they owned as many as 30 bars including one in Burnley, Lancashire where my Father grew up. The FitzPatrick’s were friends of our family so my Dad remembers playing at their home in summer. We headed into the bar to for a trip down memory lane and to sample some of The FitzPatrick’s legendary drinks. The staff were very helpful and the selection of traditional drinks and confectionary were perfect. My favourite drinks were Dandelion & Burdock and Sasparilla. As you can see I got high on sugar and laughed my way through the entire selection…
Why aren’t there more bars like FitzPatrick’s? Seems to me like Britain could do with introducing a few more Temperance bars for young people and adults to hang out in. The owner of FitzPatrick’s said that back in the day the Temperance Bars used to have juke boxes and games for customers to play, team that with the almighty plethora of non-alcoholic drinks available and that sounds like an ideal scenario.
I say bring back the Temperance Bar!