The Leicester Chronicle Saturday, 19th August 1893, p11
Local and District News: Leicester Temperance Society
A week’s temperance mission, under the auspices of this society, was inaugurated on Saturday evening by Mr. Jonathan Smith, of the British Temperance League….On Sunday afternoon Mr. Smith addressed a meeting of men in the Christ Church schoolroom….On Monday night Mr. H. Bedford took the air at the open air meeting at Queen’s Road, Clarendon Park, Mr. Smith again being the speaker, and the Carter family singing selections.
Temperance was an important movement in Victorian Britain. Upper and middle class folk were keen to keep the lower classes respectable and working hard, and drink was seen as an evil. They did have a point (though the upper classes certainly enjoyed a drink or two themselves of course) – beer houses, pubs and gin palaces abounded and drunken brawls were a feature of every town and village.
There were many different Temperance societies. The British Temperance Society was a northern, teetotal and Christian group. It still exists under the banner of the British National Temperance League, but I can’t quite envisage an open air meeting on the Queen’s road being a success in 2010. A condition of the sale of land to the Clarendon Park Company was that no pubs, etc should be erected, but it didn’t seem to stop the good people of Clarendon Park lifting their elbows. There were several beer shops and off licenses in the 19th century and the last tram to Clarendon Park back from the city centre was notoriously drunken! And as soon as the caveat was lifted on drinking establishments, bars began to spring up on the Queens Road.
As an interesting aside, I wonder how many Clarendon Park residents are not allowed to open a beer shop in their home? My house has a deed of covenant which states that I am not allowed to, and nor am I permitted to burn bricks in my back garden. Which is why I have had to turn my hand to historical research, I guess. How else is a gal to make a living? Regards, Elizabeth.