THE anniversary of the First World War has highlighted how the lives of people were, for the most part, changed forever by it.
Not least those of women, who, in taking the place of men in the workplace, discovered new freedoms.
But one was deeply frowned on – drinking.
Women’s increasing alcohol consumption is an ongoing social topic.
So it was illuminating to come across a sitting of the licensing justices in Shields, in 1917, and to learn that it’s not new.
Shields had 243 licensed premises at that time – no less than 114 pubs, 38 other premises that were ‘beer-on’ and 76 that were ‘beer-off,’ with 15 other off-licences.
In a year, reported the Chief Constable, there had been 558 cases of drunkenness and an increase in drinking among women.
He went so far as to suggest a recommendation from the licensing committee to the Liquor Control Board, that the presence of women on licensed premises should be restricted.
But it was ultimately decided that people should be encouraged to tackle this “necessary evil” themselves!