Pubs and Inns

As we start to enjoy the beautiful British summer time, here at the Archives Hub our thoughts often turn to beer and beer gardens. We thought we ought to celebrate this by devoting our August feature to pubs and all things hostelry and alcohol related.

Pubs and public houses or similar types of institution have been supplying the people of Britain with alcohol since Roman times and the introduction of the first road network in the British Isles. Tabernae were built to serve food and wine to travellers. These tabernae evolved into alehouses, inns and taverns with the inn or coaching inn coming to prominence at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution also saw the birth of large regional breweries who began to buy up local public houses with a view to renting them out to publicans with the condition they sold their beer exclusively. This began the relationship between brewery or landlord and publican that still exists today. Today there are many different types of pubs and inns to cater for almost every whim a drinker may have. From gastropub, to microbrewery to large chain theme pubs our high streets continue to have pubs to feed and 'water' their communities.

Adapted from:

Photograph © The University of Manchester.

So this month we're highlighting descriptions for the records of breweries, licensed premises, and trade associations, plus the papers of pub users and temperance campaigners. There are also links to selected websites and suggested reading.

Collection descriptions

Temperance and intemperance

  • Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) and Mary Hughes (1860-1941): as MP for Lambeth, Thomas Hughes attempted to introduce legislation against false weights and measures and on public house opening hours, which was not a popular move amongst the local small traders and publicans; in 1928 Mary Hughes moved to a converted pub in Whitechapel and renamed it the Dew Drop Inn as a social centre and refuge for the local homeless.
  • Isaac Reckitt (1792-1862): the Reckitt family dominated the village life of Swanland for several decades, ensuring that there were no pubs until quite recently.
  • Arthur James Sherwell (1863-1942) MP and temperance campaigner.
  • British Women's Temperance Association: founded in 1876.
  • David Lennox: lecturer in Forensic Medicine, researched working class life in late 19th century Dundee, including drunkenness and crime.
  • Health Survey for England: a series of annual surveys sponsored by the Department of Health; includes data on alcohol use.

Related links

Suggested reading

Links are provided to records on Copac for these items. Copac is the free, web based national union catalogue, containing the holdings of many of the major university and National Libraries in UK and Ireland plus a number of special libraries. For more information about accessing items see the FAQs on the Copac website.

  • Beers of the World by Gilbert Delos (1994) Records on Copac
  • The Brewing Industry. A Guide to Historical Records edited by Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton (1990) Records on Copac
  • Darts in England 1900-1939: A social history by Patrick Chaplin (2006), the story of the popular pub recreation Records on Copac
  • A Dictionary of Pub, Inn and Tavern Signs by Colin Waters (2005) Records on Copac
  • The English Alehouse : A Social History 1200-1830 by Peter Clark (1983) Records on Copac
  • The Good Pub Guide 2008 edited by Alisdair Aird and Fiona Stapley (2007) Records on Copac
  • An Inebriated History of Britain by Peter Haydon (2005, originally published as Beer and Britannia) Records on Copac
  • "Principal London coffee houses, taverns and inns in the eighteenth century" by John Paul De Castro, in: Notes and Queries, 12th series (1920-1922) Records on Copac
  • Temperance : or, How to pull down the signs of the public houses by Richard Weaver (1861) Records on Copac
  • Victorian Pubs by Mark Girouard (1984) Records on Copac

Archives Hub Blog: Pubs and Inns

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