Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Stories behind the book ........ No 5 ......... the challenge and an if of history

So here was the challenge .............. what if in 1830 the Government had not passed the Beer Act which made it possible for almost anyone to brew and sell beer?

Now I am not a fan of those what ifs of history but Peter’s question intrigued me, mainly of course because without the explosion of beer shops in the 19th century many of which morphed into the pubs we know today there may not have been as many public houses in the city.

Which of course, would have deprived generations from drinking the stuff, wiped away the vast wealth of the brewing families and made sure the Temperance Movement focused their campaign entirely on wine and spirits.

And of course it would also have meant that our book, Manchester Pubs would instead have become Manchester Gin Palaces and no doubt featured Hogarth’s well known print reinterpreted by Peter.

At which point even I have to pause and mutter that “this is an outrageous bit of self promotion” but I think wins the second challenge which was to work the new book into the story.

But there is an element of truth here because the Beer Act was designed to weaken the hold of Gin Palaces and pretty much seemed to have done the trick.

The old phrase about gin which runs “drunk for a penny, blind drunk for tuppence and straw thrown in for free to sleep it off” had pretty much run its course by the late 19th century.

Now I am hoping someone far more scholarly than me will wade in with a detailed historical analysis of the economic and social implications of the Beer Act leaving me to mention instead the Beer Festival organised by the Campaign for Real Ale which will be at the Central Convention Centre (GMex) from January the 19th to 21st and will feature me, Peter and a shed load of the books along with some interesting beers.

Nor is that all because just down the road there is the Briton’s Protection, the Peveril of the Peak and a few more iconic Manchester Pubs which are in the book.

But of course the stories of these and the other pubs and drinking places can only be revealed by buying the said publication.

My old friend Andy had the said publication for Christmas and tells me “Hi Andrew,

I have just finished your book and I must say well done, it really is a masterpiece.

I have done a tally and have been to 46 of them, mainly in the 70s. That is 59% so a comfortable pass. 

When is the Chorlton/Didsbury one coming out? I expect a higher score on that one!”

An endorsement unprompted by either Peter or me, and in answer to the question we are beginning work on that Chorlton/Didsbury book very soon.

You can order the book from www.pubbooks.co.uk or collect it by prior arrangement from Chorlton, and that is all you are getting for now.

Location; Manchester

*A new book on Manchester Pubs, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20Pubs

No comments:

Post a Comment