Worried about Drunkenness 1875

raggedly-childrenAs miners descended upon Blantyre in search for employment, a sharp number in the opening of public houses was seen to be taking place. However, it soon reached the stage that some members of the public had to intervene, like this gentleman from Blantyre Village Works, worried about drunkenness in Blantyre.


“Sir, The results of careful inquiry regarding the intemperance of our country have went to show that drunkenness in any locality was just in proportion to the licensed facilities and temptations to drinking. With these results before us, we cannot regard with indifference the extraordinary number of applicants for a certificate to sell intoxicants in the parish of Blantyre. Men from all parts of the country, eager in the pursuit of riches (even if they should be obtained by the ruin of their fellows), are so clamorous for a certificate, that one would almost imagine that an effort us being made to reduce the moral stamina of the inhabitants of our parish.

Be that as it may, one thing is certain; we have an abundance of houses licensed to sell intoxicating liquor, and more in proportion to the population any other parish in Lanarkshire. The approximate estimate of the population of the parish of Blantyre, as stated in your issue of the 20th is 3,472, and the number of licensed houses is 21; this gives one licensed house to every 165 of the population in the aggregate; but that would not be a correct representation of the proportion of licensed houses to the population. As, for example, the village of Blantyre Works, with a population of 1200 inhabitants, has only one licensed house, leaving 20 licensed houses to a population of 2,272; so that while the proportion at Blantyre Works is one licensed house to 1200 inhabitants, the proportion elsewhere in the parish is one to the 113 inhabitants. Every individual with a spark of humanity within him will admit that to increase the number of existing licenses would inflict an injury upon the community. Your insertion of this letter will greatly oblige. Yours, &c., J. M.—Blantyre Works, April 14th, 1875″

On social media:

Daniel Anderson it in oor genes

Alan Lappin That letter was about ma Da.

Anne Brennan I would imagine that a wee drink was probably the only pleasure the miners had to look forward to. A hard life which we could not even contemplate nowadays.

John O’donnell More choice than we have today and we have a larger population could do with a few more

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