This banner belonged to the St Mary’s Church of England Temperance Society, Speenhamland. Elaborate banners like this one were designed to be carried and displayed at parades and public meetings held to attract new members. These were often attended by thousands of people. By the 19th century Newbury alone had no less than six breweries and numerous public houses. The widespread availability of cheap alcohol resulted in an increase of crime, disorder and social problems, particularly among the poor. The Temperance Movement was founded to counter this by encouraging abstinence and providing social activities such as meetings, sports teams, choirs and bands. They also encouraged coffee houses to open as an alternative to pubs. Newbury had its own dedicated Temperance Hall, which opened in 1875 in Northcroft Lane. Temperance Societies were usually associated with churches and religious movements, particularly the Methodists, and later the Salvation Army.
Period: 19th century