Many thanks to all who attended the launch of my new book Scandal Salvation and Suffrage – The Amazing Women of The Temperance Movement in Haywards Heath on 23rd April.
To promote the new book in Sussex, I have been putting together a new talk: Temperance Tales from Sussex and Surrey and have been uncovering some fascinating tales of how, in the second half of the 19th century, temperance meetings were frequently disturbed by youths, often fuelled by free beer from local publicans or brewers.
In some instances, there was major opposition to the temperance campaigners, especially The Salvation Army, with Skelton Armies being formed to mock the Salvationists. But there were also lower-key demonstrations which disturbed the tranquillity of Sussex villages and towns such as Steyning, Horsham and Cuckfield.
In 1897 the Mid Sussex Times referred to an incident when the lower part of Cuckfield was filled by a crowd which indulged in “ill-timed frolic and indiscreet refreshment”. A ‘spectator’ from Handcross wrote about “covert indecencies” being hurled at “respectable females when the opportunity offered. More drunken men were to be seen rolling about between Pease Pottage and Handcross than ever was seen on days of clubs and fairs”.