British Women's Temperance Association

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Temperance is defined as moderation in all things healthful and abstinence from all things harmful.


The Temperance Association members attempted to rid their lives of the dangers of alcohol as they saw alcoholism as a cause of larger social problems. You wouldn't think this would be needed in Tarvin, but apparently a well respected lady of the village had a problem — she was an alcoholic. Miss Radcliffe's mother and a number of the village ladies decided that the Temperance movement would be a very good way to help her, but also the aspirations of the "movement" appealed to many of them. The British Women's Temperance Association was interested in a number of social reform issues including labour, public health, sanitation and international peace. As the movement grew they also focused on suffrage, the vote for working people and the vote for women. Members of non conformist groups, Methodists, Quakers and the Salvation Army lobbied parliament to restrict alcohol sales.

By 1901 the movement had 158,477 members in the UK by 1911 they had 245,299. Miss Radcliffe's mother was instrumental in starting the movement in Tarvin along with Mrs. Lloyd, who was the treasurer, and Miss Radcliffe recalls that her mother kept meticulous minutes of the Temperance Association in Tarvin and reading them was like reading the history of Tarvin.

Miss Radcliffe remembers the Wynne family who came to Tarvin from Manchester. They lived at Brown Heath, where the Vets used to be. Mr. Wynne was an architect and she remembers him with a white beard. He had two daughters and they had come from Christian work in Manchester. They were ardent Methodists and ardent Liberals. They were also keen Temperance workers and it was the Wynne sisters who started a Band of Hope in 1916 in the Methodists Trinity School in Tarvin. Miss Radcliffe still had her Pledge Card, signed in Miss Wynne's handwriting (February 12th 1917- signed when she was 9 years old). She couldn't join the British Women's Temperance Association until 1921, when she was 14 years old. They met in the Methodist Chapel and it had a very good membership from the girls in the village. Tarvin had a big "Band of Hope" demonstration in the summer of 1925, with Bands of Hope coming from other villages. They had tents overflowing into the Wesleyan Chapel and this became a yearly gathering in 1925, 26, 27, 28 and 1929. They were helped by the British Women's Temperance Association who ran an exhibition at these gatherings.

It puts Tarvin on the map during this time of change in the country with voting for working class people and especially votes for women. But, it also gives us an understanding of what was needed in Tarvin at that time, especially fresh water and sanitation. These ladies of Tarvin from the Temperance Association really did make a difference. They and thousands of other ladies were at the forefront of pushing forward for legislation in Parliament to make the lives of ordinary men and women better.