DEMON DRINK

‘We had a drink in Rose’s public-house (on Hoxton Street). After I had my drink I got into a temper and started aiming glasses at him; I do not know what for; I had no cause; I aimed two and missed him.’

Lily Stringer, 55, Old Bailey, 1912

Read below to find out how the ‘demon drink’ impacted on Hoxton Hall and the residents of Hoxton.

Hoxton Street has long flowed with alcohol and the entertainments that come with it; an antidote for the drudgery of a poor existence but also a fuel for the social ills that accompanied it. The Blue Ribbon Gospel Temperance Mission moved into Hoxton Hall and managed the property between 1879 and 1893. They were an international movement that promoted sobriety. In their time at the hall, they programmed nightly meetings, special events and talks, and reached out to local people through social work and community engagement. Whilst their time at the hall was relatively brief, their legacy had an impact on the future direction of the hall – many of the members of the temperance mission remained involved in the hall when it reopened under the Bedford Institute, and their commitment to community engagement and development has been continued throughout Hoxton Hall’s history ever since.

Lots of material survives from The Blue Ribbon era, including a beautiful blue book containing weekly prints outlining their work. Interestingly, each weekly edition, contains a short paragraph on the origins of different types of alcoholic beverages. This, speaks volumes for their ethos, which was to help local people break the bad habits of drinking through education.

Hoxton Hall has a fully catalogued archive collection based at Hackney Archives in Dalston Library. This archive is accessible to the public during opening hours, with trained staff on hand to help. For how to get there and opening times please see here.

We also have a fully digitised archive available to view by appointment via Hoxton Hall

Discover more about Hoxton Hall’s unique history by downloading the Hoxton Hall Experience app and visiting us. This sensory journey will guide you around the building and immerse you in Hoxton Hall’s past through a combination of digital and live installation.

Hoxton Hall Experience>>

Arts based Heritage events and workshops take place throughout the year. Whether it’s taking part in arts and crafts family activities or dancing your socks off at a good old fashioned tea dance our heritage activities offer something for everyone and are designed to excite and engage the local community in the rich and varied history of the hall and its locality. Keep an eye on our what’s on page for further details.

Hoxton Hall: A short history of Hoxton Hall and its locality

Cload, P. (2008) Hoxton Hall 1983 to 2008 – A Personal History – The launch of Hoxton Hall as a Community Arts Centre

Available for purchase at Hoxton Hall reception