'Demon drink' abstainers: Only one smile is visible.

I am writing this before last week's page is printed but I am guessing that the comment about Marlow's Temperance Society (The Band of Hope) will result in a few queries. It certainly did some years ago when I wrote about the Temperance Hotel which used to be (100 plus years ago) on the corner of Institute Road, where the 'Toast' shop is now. The local movement with a sizeable membership was based at the Congregational Church (now the U.R.C.) in Quoiting Square, and this stern-looking group has only one face with a slight smile; the lady in front, third from right. 

Rupert Batting, featured last week, is at the rear, fourth from left, with Messrs. Arnold and White a bit further along. The Minister at the time of this picture was the Rev. George Jones but it is only a guess that it might be him in the armchair. Regarding Rupert owning and driving the 'Kingfisher' charabanc for local outings, there is a lovely story of him being very reluctant to stop off at a pub on the way home, much preferring a café or tea shop with no alcohol! 

I have also included a colourful copy of 'The Pledge' with the 'Conditions' enlarged. Next to it is the amusing story from the Church's history of the way they got around accepting a donation from Wethered's Brewery. 

You may not remember my column, quite a few years ago, about the local Temperance Society, with the only known picture of the Hotel, so I am repeating this paragraph: 'Looking back into the dim and distant past of my family, I see that Secretary/Registrar Eunice Arnold (my Grandmother) enlisted a young Monica White (my Auntie) in 1922, a time that there were well over 20 pubs in town.

'By the time I knew 'Auntie Mon' three decades later, I can tell you that she had certainly not continued with her membership unless there was an escape clause for gin drinkers and smokers, because, in small print, tobacco is also a 'no go' on her Pledge. My grandmother died whilst I was quite young before she had a chance to get me 'signed on'!

If you can find a guidebook for any town in the early part of the last century it is quite common to see an advert for a Temperance Hotel. These days it is the price of a pint of beer or a glass of (to quote above) 'mocker' that is reducing alcohol consumption, not any Temperance Society.

Contact Michael at michael@jazzfans.co or 01628 486571.