“I hope that now Peace has come, we shall maintain our War-time sobriety”

Opponents of heavy drinking hoped (in vain) that wartime restrictions on alcohol would stick.

Church of England Temperance Society

A Meeting of the Local Branch was held at 8 pm, on Friday, July 25th, at the junction of Denmark Street and Cordwalles Road. Two excellent speakers – Capt, Hutchinson, of the Church Army, and Mr Harold Lawrence – gave us stirring addresses. I venture to hope that now Peace has come, we whall maintain our War-time sobriety, whether at home or in club [sic].

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

“War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”

An army doctor was a leader in the temperance movement.

An Open-Air Meeting in connection with the St Luke’s Branch of the CETS was held in the Vicarage Garden, on Tuesday evening, June 10th, under the Presidency of the Rev. T H Thurland, the Vicar being away on holiday. The Chief Speaker was Dr Harford, General Secretary of the CETS, who first distributed the certificates, etc, won by the Band of Hope members, the handsome Challenge Banner for the Maidenhead Band of Hope competition having been won by North Town.

Dr Harford, in his address, spoke chiefly to interest the large number of juveniles present. He told them of his service for nearly four years as an eye specialist in France, and related many incidents and told of the scenes of destruction and military activities. He next quoted the remark of M. Clemenceau, French Prime Minister, that “War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”. This meant that when at war we had got but one thing to do – to see we got it through; but in Peace everybody began to fight everybody else we had first to make a good Peace, not only in Paris, but also at home. He urged the young people to do all they could to fight against the evils caused by drink, one of the greatest curses of our land. The Doctor related an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury relative to the coming big campaign of the CETS, the “Merrie England” Movement, in which the Society would send cinemas and lecturers around the country to give an impetus to better housing and or enlightened action as to food, health and thrift. The Society was anxious that everybody should have happy homes – not only good, decent houses, but real happy homes. As to cooking, the Doctor had a severe shock when, on asking a little boy if he liked nice puddings, and taking for granted the inevitable “Yes”, the little boy frankly replied “No, sir!” The Doctor’s point was that if the wives would only give their husbands plenty of sweet puddings, the men would not care for so much beer, in which they found the sugary element. In the new homes of Merrie England the children must be taught to play games.

Dr Harford later told some experiences as a missionary for many years in West Africa, where he was nearly eaten by cannibals. An effort was being made to suppress the use of gin out there, this spirit being the buying and selling “coinage” of the country. – (Laughter). As part of the “Merrie England” Movement, every parish was being asked to arrange a little pageant play already published as part of the local Peace celebrations; and he hoped the Maidenhead CETS would carry this out.

Reprinted from The Maidenhead Advertiser.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Reorganising the Band after the Crisis of the War

Newbury United Temperance Band was one of many organisations to close down during the war. The meeting on the 29th was inconclusiv, and the band was never re-formed.


A Trustee meeting of the Band was held in the Lwecture Hall on Thursday evening the 15th May at 8 pm….

The meeting was called with a view of reorganising the Band after the Crisis of the War, which had necessitated the breaking up of it for that period. After a good deal of consultation it was … carried that the Band be reformed & that all previous members & musicians who are Total Abstainers be invited to meet the trustees on Thursday evening, May 29th, at 7 pm on the Lecture Hall. This to be done by letter to all previous members & by advertisement in the Newbury Weekly News.

The secretary was instructed to write to Mrs E L Michell a letter of sympathy for her bereavement.

Newbury United Temperance Band Committee minutes (N/D58/1/2)

Our hearts are all lighter because the War is, we hope, finally closed by this Armistice

Great challenges faced the country after the war.

Dear Friends and Parishioners

The past month has been one of much Parish festivity. Our hearts are all lighter because the War is, we hope, finally closed by this Armistice. Still there are great difficulties to face, and we must pray for courage and wisdom to tackle them in the right spirit and with the right methods. Our interest and our prayers should be enlisted for the Statesmen assembled in Conference in Paris that they may be granted wisdom to re-order and re-establish the Countries of Europe on just and wise lines.

And in the case of our social problems at home, we all need to pray (for practically all of us now have some voice and some responsibility) for the wisdom, industry, and patience needed to realise our present hopes and ideals. We all want to maintain the increased sobriety of the Nation, we all want better homes for the poorer members of our community, we all want to retain a decent wage for all sections of our workers, whether with brain or hand; we all, as Church people, are keen on improving our Educational system, and developing the religious and moral side of it on all Schools; we are all resolved to maintain the sanctity of Christian marriage, and to promote that purity of life which alone will provide an A 1 population (to use the Prime Minister’s phrase), for the working of the great Empire which we hold in trust for God and man.

All this is easy to discuss, but to bring about is a work of almost overwhelming difficulty. Nothing but the Grace of God is sufficient for its accomplishment. Let us remember our hopes and ideals in our prayers, and then do our best in a spirit of comradeship that thinks first of the Church and Nation as a whole, and only secondly of party or class.

The next few weeks are a general time in Church life; we can use them for the study of great questions affecting Church and Nation before the special period of Lenten discipline begins.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Help the people in the countries on the Continent devastated by the enemy

The plight of civilians in the countries where the fighting was taking place touched the hearts of Reading people.

November 1917
Brotherhood Notes

Sunday, December 9th, is to be a big day with the society. On that day we are to have an open meeting, to be held in the Palace Theatre, at which meeting one of the leaders of the movement will speak – probably the International Secretary, Brother W. Ward. Our Musical Conductor, Brother W. Wynton-Turner, is making the arrangements, and we can look forweard to a great time on that day.

The object of the meeting is to stir up interest in the National Brotherhood Scheme for relief in the countries devastated by the enemy, and a collection for this fund will be taken.

December 1917

Sunday, December 9th is to be a great day with our Society. An open meeting for men and women will be held at the Palace Theatre, to be addressed by Brother William Ward, the International Brotherhood Secretary. The meeting will start at three o’clock, and the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Reading, F A Sarjeant, esq., JP, will take the chair. The Reading Temperance Band will play selections, and special hymns will be sung. Brother Wynton Turner is putting in superhuman efforts to make this meeting a great success, and looks for the support of all our brothers.

The object of the meeting is to collect funds for the relief of the destitute peoples in the countries devastated by the enemy – a worthy object and one heartily recommended to our members. Be sure and keep that date free, and talk about it, and come in your hundreds to fill the Palace.

January 1918

The outstanding event during the past month was undoubtedly the very successful mass meeting which was held on Sunday December 9th at the Palace Theatre. The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Reading (F A Sarjeant, esq., JP) presided, and Brother William Ward, the International Secretary of the Brotherhood, gave a most vigorous and inspiring address, bringing before our notice the great need of help to the peoples in the countries on the Continent devastated by the enemy. A collection was taken up at this meeting which amounted to nearly £14, and in addition Mr Tyrrell most generously gave £40 for a hut. The meeting was an unqualified success, both as regards attendance and organisation, and for the latter the whole of the praise is due to Brother J. Wynton Turner, who worked most indefatigably.

Brother William Ward gave some valuable suggestions, and one amongst them was that a central depot be opened in the town, and old clothes be collected for the sufferers. This matter will be carefully considered by our committee.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1917-January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The influence which temperance groups must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life

Anti-alcohol campaigners wanted the wartime restrictions on pubs to act as a springboard for a new sober public life after the war.

The Church of England Temperance Society

On Thursday, June 21st, 1917, the Open-Air Meeting of the CETS was held on the Vicarage Lawn, the Vicar in the Chair. There was a fairly good attendance, about 150 adults and 70 children. The Maidenhead Band was present.

The Chairman presented the speaker, the Rev. B Long, Rector of Wokingham, whose speech was full of interest. Points to be remembered were: The importance of Temperance work in view of Government action, and possible changes in the management and sale of alcoholic drinks; the influence which CETS branches must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life…

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“If we waste bread, we are helping the Germans to win the war”

Newbury people were urged not to waste food, particularly bread.

The King has issued a Proclamation on food saving, which is being read, by Royal Command, in Church, but it would perhaps be also as well to put the case in plain language:

1. The stock of bread in the country is not sufficient.

2. The German submarines may make it still more in-sufficient.

3. Therefore we must save all the bread we can.

4. We must not catch horses with bread.

5. We must not give crusts to birds or pigs.

6. We must not throw bread into the street, canal, or dust-bin.

7. We must not cut the crusts off toast.

8. We must eat as little bread as is consistent with health.

9. If we do otherwise, we are helping the Germans to win the war.

The Soldiers’ Club is moving on June 2nd, to “the King’s Arms” in the Market Place. This Hostel must now resign itself to the provision of temperance drinks only. The ladies in charge will be glad of any help in money or kind.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

A Christmas spirit in defiance of all the might of Central Europe

The vicar of St Luke’s, Maidenhead, urged hope.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

Christmas is come and gone, and the New Year looms up before us doubtful and uncertain, yet we hope full of promise. We know all things are in God’s hands, and if we are faithful, God will bless mightily all our honourable prayers, wishes and deeds. Let us hope that no faint-heartedness may, as a Nation or individuals baulk us of a goal half-won. But let us pray for a righteous Peace on Earth, as in Heaven, so soon as ever God may see fit to let us be given this great Grace.

As regards Christmas, we had a few more Communicants than last year, which is a very good sign, as the strain of the War affects the Parish much more this year than last. Thanks to many kind ladies, both St Luke’s and St Peter’s were beautifully decorated, while the excellent singing showed the hard work Mr Garrett Cox and Mr Snow, and St Luke’s and St Peter’s Choirs, must have put in, often under circumstances of considerable difficulty…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar


Future Festivities

Owing to the War everything will have to be on a quiet scale, but we must do something to show a Christmas spirit in defiance of all the might of Central Europe. The two things for which I ask subscriptions and donations are firstly: the Band of Hope Tea and Prizes, to be held on Jan. 8th. We must keep up the children’s interest in Temperance, especially in War time; secondly the Sunday School treat and prizes.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“Every man in uniform (or in bits, alas)”

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph from her temporary home in Windsor, with more details of the tragic accident which killed their friend Desmond FitzGerald (1888-1916). Desmond was the younger brother and heir apparent of the Duke of Leinster, Ireland’s leading peer, a mentally ill bachelor. Youngest brother Edward (1892-1976), who eventually succeeded to the title in 1922, had rashly married a chorus girl. Maysie had also recently met a number of friends on leave. Their mother Lady Mary Glyn also wrote to Ralph with the story of a new recruit.

March 20/16
Elgin Lodge

My darling R.

Yes wasn’t Desmond [FitzGerald]’s death tragic. He’s a real loss from every point of view, it seems too one of those ghastly unnecessary things. The RC parson – one Lane Fox, incidentally poor General Pereira’s brother in law, he is too, was playing about with these bombs. Some say it was his fault, others a pure accident no one could have avoided, but the thing went off, killing Desmond & 2 or 3 men, & wounded others including young Nugent, a desperate body wound. He’s had a fearful operation, but they say will live. The wretched man himself has had ½ his face blown away & ½ his hand. A gastly [sic] thing. Poor old Freddy. They say master Edward is already bitterly regretting his wife who is a perfect terror & drinks. However I doubt her letting him divorce her now that he must be a Duke. It’s too dreadful.

We went to London for Sat night & to the Hippodrome. Really a funny show. Harry Tate being sea-sick too priceless, it nearly makes one sick too. Rather to my surprise we met Arthur & Amy there. He went back yesterday after a week’s special leave, he looks ill… We also saw old Wisp. He looks pretty well & I saw no signs of the lost stone – which he’s reported to have lost as a result of Flu – but he’s got 6 weeks leave, which is nice for him. John saw Jerry Sturt yesterday. Poor boy – he’s no better apparently, though they still say he will be. He can’t even stand yet though. He showed John an interesting letter he’d had from Beeky. In it he says the French at Verdun put all their Colonial troops in front & their losses were heavy, also at the 1st push they ran, which gave that 1st small Hun advance, but since then they have been alright. He also said Master Bosch used no gun smaller than a 5 pt 7 during all that fighting – no one seems to know why, unless to save their smaller ammunition for the “advance”.


The nation is living on its capital

Newbury people opposed to drinking alcohol heard how expensive the war was for the nation.

The Rev. Dr A J Carlyle, Vicar of All Saints Oxford, and lecturer on economics, gave a most instructive and inspiring lecture in the Temperance Hall on January 20th, his subject being: “Total Abstinence During The War”. He pointed out the urgent need for the nation and all its members to practice economy, and especially in the matter of those things which are unnecessary, and he informed us that, in spite of the apparent present abundance of money, the Nation is now living on its Capital, and is likely to have spent between one fifth and one quarter of that, if the war continues another year.

Newbury parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Self-denial: a challenge we cannot ignore

The temperance movement – opposing alcohol consumption – was small but intense in pre-war England. The national crisis gave the campaign a new impetus, especially when King George V led the way with a public pledge to abstain during the war, and October 1915 saw renewed efforts to discourage drinking. The Reading parishes strongly suppported the movement:

Reading St John

The most important Meeting which has been held for a long time in the interest of the great temperance cause is to be held in the Large Town Hall on Monday, October 11th, at 8 p.m. The specific object of the meeting is to further the taking of the pledge of total abstinence during the period of the war. This pledge called originally ‘The Emergency Pledge’ has been rechristened ‘The King’s Pledge,’ since it was taken by His Majesty himself at the time that he banished all intoxicating liquors from the royal household.
The speakers on this occasion will be the Bishop of Oxford and Principal Childs of University College, who have both followed the King’s example. Let us recall the words of the Bishop’s Pastoral issued last May. They justify and define the purpose of the Meeting:-

‘Brethren,- That the King should have banished from his household and from his own use all alcoholic liquors for the period of the war is a challenge to us all which we cannot ignore. He has taken this step because in his position of unique responsibility he believes that it is the right step to take in the interest of the country generally and of his forces by land and sea, and because drink is acting as a serious hindrance to the production of the materials of war. Lord Kitchener has done the same.

At an earlier period the Archbishops had invited us all to take a pledge of total abstinence during the period of the war. I daresay that there are people who cannot follow these impressive examples and respond to these exhortations on serious grounds of health. But for the vast majority of us in all classes this is not the case.

I have no doubt that we hold different opinions as to the general necessity or desirability of total abstinence, and as to the relative magnitude of the havoc wrought by the sin of excessive drinking among the various sins of our nation. But I do not think that we can deny the weight of the appeal now made to us. In particular the King’s example, expressing his deliberate sense of the urgency of the present need, ought to make a great impression upon us. I have myself felt bound to follow his example, and I am writing to encourage all to whom I have a right to appeal as their bishop, to do the same.

If it involves, as to some of us it undoubtedly does involves, a real and sustained act of self-denial, this is exactly what we who cannot be combatants should desire to make, on behalf of our soldiers and sailors who are training, fighting and suffering wounds and death on our behalf.’


The King’s Pledge

The Bishop of Oxford is to speak at a public meeting in the large Town Hall on Monday Oct 11th at 8pm on behalf of the “The King’s Pledge” of total abstinence during the war. The meeting is being widely supported, and it is hoped that our Churchpeople may be well represented.

Reading St Giles


The Bishop of Oxford is to speak at a public meeting in the large town hall on Monday October the 11th, at 8 p.m. on behalf of “The king’s pledge” of total abstinence during the war. The meeting is being widely supported and it is hoped that our church people may be well represented. We may recall the words of the Bishop’s pastoral last May.

Reading St John parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Earley parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P192/28A/13); Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

Abundant need for the King’s pledge to abstain to be followed in Reading

Broad Street Church in Reading enthusiastically supported the temperance movement, and the King’s lead.


All true Temperance reformers have had cause for rejoicing lately in the efforts to promote sobriety – even teetotalism – which have been witnessed in unexpected quarters. Where appeals for self-denial on one’s own account, or for the sake of the weaker brother, have ignominiously failed, the appeals for self-denial in the interests of national fitness and efficiency in a time of crisis, have been more successful….

The most illustrious disciple of this new school of thought is our beloved King. Recognising the awful havoc wrought amongst our toilers by the drink habit and wishing to lead them in a more excellent way, His Majesty has taken a pledge to abstain from all alcoholic beverages during the period of the war, and he has banished them entirely from all the royal palaces…. Such a worthy example has been followed, as it deserved to be, by many men in exalted positions. Amongst others Lord Kitchener, Sir John French and Sir John Jellicoe have followed the King’s lead. But unfortunately the movement has not been taken up so universally as was at one time hoped.

How far has it been responded to in Reading? It would be difficult to say. But judging from the state of things in some of our principal streets on a Saturday night, there is abundant need for a vigorous crusade.

The latest recruit from the Brotherhood is our Musical Director and Choirmaster, Brother Grigg, he having joined the RAMC Sanitary Department.

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, October 1915 (D/N11/12/1/14)

War cannot dissolve Newbury Temperance Band

Many members of Newbury United Temperance Band had joined the armed forces, but they were still trying to keep going:

The Chairman said that he was pleased to think that the Band had survived the past strenuous twelve months, & they were able to record that whatever the War did, it could not dissolve the Temperance Band.

[In fact by the end of this year this proved to be untrue and the band went into abeyance. They were never able to re-form it.]

Newbury United Temperance Band AGM minutes (N/D58/1/2)

A band tries to struggle on “until better times”

Newbury United Temperance Band was struggling as more than half of its members had joined the armed forces. The brass band comprised only musicians who were total abstainers from alcohol.

Thursday July 1st 1915

The Bandmaster Mr E L Michell reported that 16 members had left the band for reasons of the war or left the town & 15 members remained.

The Treasurer read an audited balance sheet of the Band’s finances, showing deficit of 16/-. Discussion took place as to the advisability of suspending the band owing to the expenses incurred in continuing same, the chief being the rent of the Band room & Bandmaster’s salary, but it was thought ill-advised to discontinue same if these two big liabilities could be curtailed…

Mr E L Michell very graciously offered his services as Bandmaster free [underlined] until such time as the Band under normal conditions could afford to pay him. This of course the Committee heartily approved & applauded.

Under these circumstances the Committee decided to continue running the Band…

A letter was subsequently sent to their landlord:

You will no doubt not be surprised to hear that owing to the war the Band is in serious financial difficulties and the committee hardly know what to do.

It would they feel be a great pity to disband as it is always so difficult to restart anything that has once lapsed.

Under the circumstances it is however impossible to go on, there are hardly any playing members left, this making it almost impossible to play out or accept engagements, this of course means there are no funds to meet current expenses.

The committee of course are responsible for the rent and will see that your Company is duly paid, but they wonder if you would allow the Band to vacate the practise room and let Mr Michell remain as tenant of the cottage. This would relieve the committee’s responsibilities a good deal and we think it would be possible to find a room free for the few who remain to practice in until better times.

Newbury United Temperance Band Committee minutes (N/D58/1/2)

Comforts, recreation and refreshments for the troops

The parishioners of Wokingham St Sebastian wanted to support the armed forces. They planned to join those making clothing and comforts, while giving financial support to Church-sponsored social activities for soldiers based in the county which would not involve the demon drink.

War Requisites.

Many things are required by our soldiers and sailors and many of them can be made by us at home. It is hoped to hold meetings for this purpose. Particulars will be issued when the arrangements are completed.

The Oxford Branch of the Church of England Temperance Society is raising £1000 for the erection of a tent at Windsor and a building at Didcot for recreation and refreshment purposes for our soldiers. The Vicar will be glad to receive any contributions, however small, for this purpose.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P154/28A/1)