Giant Alcohol: A Worthy Opponent for the Children of the Band of Hope

Mcallister, Annemarie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0615-3262 (2014) Giant Alcohol: A Worthy Opponent for the Children of the Band of Hope. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 22 (2). pp. 103-110. ISSN 0968-7637

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From its foundation in 1847, the temperance organisation the Band of Hope addressed its young members as consumers, victims, and agents. In the first two roles they encountered the effects of drink of necessity, but in the third role they were encouraged to seek it out, attempting to influence individuals and wider society against 'Giant Alcohol'.

With an estimated membership of half the school-age population by the early twentieth century, well over three million, the Band of Hope also acted more directly to influence policy, and encouraged young people to consider issues of policy and politics. With its wide range of activities and material to educate, entertain and empower millions of children, and its radical view of the place of the child, the Band of Hope not only mobilised its child members to lobby for legal change, including prohibition, but took an active part in pointing out the cost of alcohol to society, particularly during the 14-18 war. The organisation began to decline post 1918, and this paper focuses on the address made to children by the Band of Hope in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, at a time when its innovative view of children as able to understand and influence policy decisions reflected developments in the construction of childhood. This article draws on the archive of the British National Temperance League, over 50,000 items located in the Livesey Collection, University of Central Lancashire.

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