Women’s drinking caused outcry during World War I


While the men of Britain were marching off to the front line and an uncertain future, some of the country’s women were hitting the bottle.

The Daily Mirror reports that women’s drinking was deemed to be shocking that the very moral fabric of the country was seen to be under threat.

Researchers from family history website Genes Reunited discovered that newspapers of the day were appalled at the prospect of women nipping off to the pub.

In 1915, the Manchester Evening News reported that a magistrate, Mr Theophilus Simpson, was shocked to count ‘26 women enter a licensed house in ten minutes, with 16 coming out who he had not seen enter.’

He added: ‘Some people said women have a right to spend their money as they liked; they might as well say that they had a right to sell themselves if they like.’

In 1916 the Liverpool Echo reported that a Captain Oversby said: ‘In the opinion of the committee, the great increase in the number of women visiting public-houses during the past year has demanded drastic treatment.’

Rhoda Breakell, head of Genes Reunited, said: ‘Despite the negative press, women continued to enjoy themselves in the pubs.’

For the original Daily Mirror story, click here.

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