The Perils of Drink

Back in the 1700s, the English were always getting into trouble drinking. Some things never change. Here is a selection of stories from the Ipswich Journal of the late 1720s.

Yesterday two Men quarrelling at an Alehouse in Holborn, went by Agreement into the Fields to fight, and one gave the other a Kick on his Groin which kill’d him on the Spot.

That same newspaper also carried the following advertisements for those seeking refreshment:

At Mrs. Thomas Summers at the King’s Head in Debenham, will be Sold good White and Red Port, at the following Prizes, viz. White port at 6s, 8d per Gallon, and 1s 8d per Quart within the House; and 6s per Gallon, and 1s 6 per Quart without Doors; Red Port at 6s 8d per Gallon, and 1s 8d per Quart within the House; and 6s per Gallon, and 1s 6d per Quart without Doors.

At Timothy Dickerson, living in St. Peter’s Parish, Ipswich, fine Cognac Brandy and Foreign Rum at Seven Shillings per Gallon, and right Holland Geneva at Five Shillings and Four Pence per Gallon; and fine Bohea Tea, by Wholesale or Retail at 12s. per Pound. N.B. He Sell no British Brandy, nor never did.

Being a tradesman was a chancy thing, and not all the punters were honest.

We hear from Eltham in Kent, that last Week two Fellows that were drinking at an Alehouse there, paid their Reckoning in new Half-Pence; but the Landlord shewing them afterwards to some Persons in the House, they were discovered to be counterfeited, being made of false Metal, upon which they pursued and found them at the next Alehouse on the Road, where, it seems they intended to play the same Game, and being seized and searched, they found more of the like Counterfeit Coin upon then, and the Moulds in which they were made, also Moulds for Shillings and Six-pences, upon which they were carried before a Magistrate and committed to Maidstone Goal.

And beware those drinking competitions.

We are informed from Thorn near Hagerston in Northumberland, That last Friday 7-Night, Francis Cooper and Joshua Threils, two noted Brandy Drinkers in those Parts, who for several Times had contended which could drink most, engaged each other which should drink most, the latter fell dead in taking off his 5th Pint Glass, and the former is so dangerously ill that ’tis thought he can’t recover.

It’s not just brandy you have to be careful of, there’s also gin.

Last Wednesday Night one White, a Barber in Salisbury Court, Fleet-Street, laid a Wager that he drank four Half Pints of Geneva, one at a Draught, in eight Minutes; and at drinking his second Half-Pint, dropt down dead.

Take care, people.

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3 thoughts on “The Perils of Drink

  1. Pingback: Beer and Gin | Kirby and his world

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