Seven Curses of London: Drunkenness

It is now nearly twelve months since the Licensing Amendment Act became law, and the main feature of it — that which relates to the half-hour extension of the time until which public houses and beershops may remain open at night — was put to the test … [this] last-mentioned indulgence was never demanded, never urged as necessary, never expected by a proportion of at least nine out of ten of those to whom it was granted. A mere hundred or so of tavern-keepers were at loggerheads with the authorities, as to the desirability of keeping open their houses a little later than twelve o’clock for the accommodation of people who chose to patronise places of amusement from which the audiences were not dismissed until that hour, when the Home Secretary, by a device, as remarkable for its simplicity as for its boldness, solved the mighty difficulty.

The surest way of winning the affections of a people is to show respect for its homely, time-honoured traditions and maxims. The right hon, gentleman, who was doubtless aware of the popularity of the old English saying, ‘what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander,’ shrewdly judged that he could not go far wrong if he cut the Gordian knot in which the publican’s disagreement was bound, by declaring his conviction that what was good for the Crown and Cushion, in the Strand, was likewise good for the Three Jolly Tinkers, in Brick Lane; and that, to put an end to the vexed question, the shortest way would be to tar them all with the same brush.

James Greenwood

O’Neill, Gilda. The Good Old Days: Poverty, Crime and Terror in Victorian London (pp. 61-62). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.

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