In the midst of the First World War concern arose as to the virtues of pursuing intoxication at a time of national emergency. As the military front was supposedly let down by drinkers and shirkers at home, attention quickly turned to British drinking practices. Britain, it seemed, was under the duress of a widespread addiction to boozing. When prohibition was deemed too extreme to contemplate, and nationalisation too impractical, the government created an organisation known as the Central Control Board (CCB). This body soon set about reforming the drinking habits of a nation. Loved by a few, but disliked by most, this group was responsible for the most radical and unique experiment in alcohol control ever conducted in Britain. The story of the CCB, how and why it was formed, its history and its legacy upon the British war effort are told within Pubs and Patriots: The Drink Crisis in Britain during World War One.
Robert Duncan is an independent scholar, with a PhD from the University of St Andrews.
List of Illustrations
1. A Tale of Temperance and Drink 1870–1914
2. Vodka, Absinthe and Drunkenness on Britain’s Streets in 1914: A Tale of Fear and Exaggeration?
3. Best Laid Plans? Lloyd George and the Drink Question
4. Restrictive or Constructive? The Early Stages of the Central Control Board
5. The Carlisle Experiment: Lord D’Abernon’s ‘Model Farm’
6. ‘Helping our weaker sisters to go straight’: Women and Drink during the War
7. Reforming the Working Man
8. State Purchase and the Waning of the Central Control Board
Conclusion: The End of the Central Control Board
One feels certain that comprehensive, richly detailed, and tightly focused works such as Duncan’s Pubs and Patriots will one day enable somebody to accomplish that long awaited feat.
Peter Hynd Histoire sociale / Social History
September 4, 2013