Philobiblon: The women were in the alehouses too...

Friday, August 20, 2004

The women were in the alehouses too...

... and there is nothing new about complaints about a "drinking culture".
This from The English Alehouse: A Social History 1200-1830, P. Clark, Longman, London, 1983:

By the 1630s there was estimated to be one alehouse for every 89-104 inhabitants in England (and that doesn't count taverns and inns!) By the 1690s the figure was about 1 to 87. (p. 44)

In London: "In 1618 the city fathers complained that the multitude of alehouses and victualing houses within this city increasing daily are grown so dangerous and enormous as it is high time to suppress the number of them". (p.49)

Within the city proper 924 alehouses were licenced in 1657, 1 for every 16 houses, with a higher density in the poorer wards such as Farringdon without (where it was 1 in 6), but illicit premises were particularly numerous in the city.
Dekker remarked in 1638 that in some streets there was "not a shop to be seen between a red lattice", this pattern, painted on the wall, (or a chequerboard), was used by smaller premises that had not hanging sign of their own).(p. 68)

Female visits were possible within the limits social convention. Thus women might go with their husbands, particularly when they were on a journey or there was a family or neighbourhood celebration. A group of married women might go together after a christening or a churching. "An unattached woman who went to alehouses on her own was usually regarded as promiscuous and might well be accosted or assaulted." (p. 131)


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