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Article by Peter West, 2019
Wymington Chapel and
the “Band Of Hope”

1948 Band of Hope certificate
1948 Band of Hope certificate

In 1925 Wymington Chapel had 16 adult members, 60 Sunday school children and 70 members of the Band of Hope, an organisation founded in the UK in 1847 to promote lifelong total abstention from alcohol among young people over the age of 14.

In the 19th century “Total Abstinence” grew in popularity, particularly among nonconformist chapels, as factories began to take over from “cottage” and home-based industries in many trades, including shoe-making. Many chapels felt that alcohol was the main cause of poverty among working people, as men were encouraged to spend their weekly pay packet in the pub rather than at home. Campaigns were often mounted to get pubs closed, unsuccessfully in Wymington (was a similar one, run by Anglicans, successful in Podington?).

Through the 20th century the movement declined in strength (by 1936 the membership of the Band of Hope at the Chapel was down to 20), and most “chapel people” came to accept “moderate drinking”. More recent developments in alcohol abuse, illness and injury caused by alcohol etc. may be causing some re-thinking, though “responsible drinking” is more likely to be the aim than any return to obligatory total abstinence.

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