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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sepia Saturday - Marching Against the Demon Drink!

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

A Russian revolutionary march of 1917  features on this week's prompt and I have gone along with this more serious theme with a postcard from the collection of my local community heritage group - Auld Earlston. 

Here the Pipe Band leads a procession along Earlston High Street in 1908 to mark the "Semi-Jubilee" of the local Temperance Society.   

The Scottish Temperance Movement was founded by John Dunlop of Glasgow. concerned at the high level of consumption of spirits. He established an anti-drinks society in 1829.  For Dunlop a vital first step was education and social improvement.  A more radical approach was adopted by William Collins, a publisher and evangelist,  who favoured total abstinence.   By 1831, the Scottish Temperance Movement numbered 44,000.   Local abstinence societies were formed and many of these offered classes and concerts as alternative entertainments. National groups also began to be established, with branches opening in many areas of Scotland, with the Band of Hope targeting  children to "Take the Pledge".  

          Band of Hope Membership certificate
 A Band of Hope certificate presented in 1902 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Wales 


This  newspaper snippet also caught my eye. 
On 4th January 1890,  "The Hawick News" reported:

Yesterday before Provost Milligan, Gilbert Oliver, labourer of Baker Street, who was considered to be past redemption having made his 66th appearance in court, was sentenced to three days imprisonment for being drunk".

That Provost Milligan should consider Gilbert Oliver was “past redemption",  was a bit surprising, considering the  resources in the town to combat drunkenness.   In 1890 Hawick had around 15 churches, a Catholic Chapel, Salvation Army Corps, quite a few Mission Halls, Christian Brethren, and several long-established Total Abstinence Movements.  


For parades on a lighter theme of enjoyment and fun, click HERE to see my Sepia Saturday post in November 2014.  

You will find links  HERE to more  of this week's processions, parades and marches  from other Sepia Saturday bloggers.


  1. Marches of all kinds and makes, and reasons! An interesting post, and great title too.

  2. Now I wonder if anyone will have a post about people marching against Prohibition.

  3. My grandfather was a leading light in the local Band of Hope and my father joined me and my brother up to the Sons of Temperance movement when we were toddlers. And look what happened to me!

  4. I would have joined just to get one of those spectacular certificates!

  5. The first time I performed "Ten Nights In A Barroom" I played the saloon gal "Goldie Hills" who turns 'good' & brings the villain - with whom she had formerly been in cahoots with - to his knees. The second time I was cast in the play was as the leader of the Ladies Temperance Society. I carried a big bass drum & led the ladies marching around the hall singing "Away, away with rum, by gum--" I think that drum must have weighed 50 pounds. Toward the end of the song I was barely wheezing out the final lyrics "--the song of the Salvation Army!"

  6. "Past redemption" made me smile. I wonder if he was a nasty drunk to end up in court 66 times? Surely he did more than just drink alot?

  7. Do Temperance Societies still exist I wonder? They might have done better if they had advocated moderation rather than total abstinence.


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