Thursday, 12 April 2012

Demon Drink? Temperance & the Working Class.

Saturday 30 June 2012 – Sunday 24 February 2013:

The next changing exhibition at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, will be all about temperance. The Temperance Movement, in which people took the pledge not to drink alcohol, effectively began in the North West and temperance played an important part in the lives of many people in the region. Despite this, it is a little remembered aspect of our history.

Demon Drink? will focus on the everyday experiences and concerns of working people and their families regarding drink and abstinence. It will provide an opportunity to showcase some of the museum’s temperance collections and the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Livesey Collection, as well as drawing on local and national collections to uncover this history.

The exhibition is part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project led by Dr Annemarie McAllister from UCLan, who is working in partnership with the museum. The project will bring back to life a largely forgotten public movement which still influences our lives today. The displays will combine unique historical artefacts such as Joseph Livesey’s rattle, archive film footage of temperance processions and oral histories collected from local communities whose families were involved in the movement.

Thematic displays will explore the perceived need for the Temperance Movement, how society viewed it, its key messages and how people were encouraged to join. The exhibition will highlight the importance of children and social activities in promoting the movement’s message. It will look at alternatives to the public house such as temperance sporting events, parades, lessons, games, quizzes and children’s entertainments.

Visitors will be able to take part in a whole host of activities, play on a human-scale temperance-related snakes and ladders game and tell their own families’ stories. A fantastic range of public events will accompany the exhibition. These will include illustrated talks, themed City Centre Trails, craft and family activities, a temperance tea party and a Magic Lantern Show.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by a virtual exhibition that will be available for the public to access via the internet at

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