Pubs without Beer
This chapter explores the origins, purpose, evolution and reasons for the decline and revival of the coffee public-house movement. Christianity’s role, conflicting goals (sobriety versus total abstinence), class prejudices, condescension to working-class culture, rational recreation, an almost exclusive male clientele, widespread misunderstanding of the residuum’s income and tantalising cash—all contributed to the demise of a movement in which reformers had invested sizeable sums of money, estimated at £2,000,000.
In this chapter, I offer a new revisionist thesis in which I argue that promoters of coffee public houses recovered from the downturn of the market late in the 1870s and early 1880s, and remained a viable reform approach well past the century. Inability to overcome gender segregation, not achieving class integration, doomed these philanthropists, thwarting their aims of transforming mass leisure.
For the purposes of understanding the emergence of the mass food market in the City, coffee pubs contributed two figures—Ronald McDougall and Robert Lockhart—who would play a key role in linking northern temperance advocates with those of the south.