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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

4 - Licensing in the Provinces

from Part II - The Heyday of Christian Vigilance 1945–1965


This chapter provides three regional case studies during 1945–65. Sheffield, selected for being after Hull the least religious city in the nation, shows the relentless power of an alienating evangelical and Nonconformist culture of the middle classes, which bombarded the working classes with middle-class solutions: teetotalism, Sabbatarianism, few pop music venues and contraceptive advice by middle-class volunteers. The result was, according to an influential interpretation by E. R. Wickham, the Anglican industrial missionary, proletarian and artisan alienation from the churches. Glasgow forms a contrast of the most highly religious industrial city in mainland Britain, but with a popular culture under aggressive licensing control, notably its public houses from which ‘civilising’ games, music, television and attractions for women were banned. Sexual culture was made as difficult as possible. Lastly, the Isle of Lewis shows a puritanical anti-alcoholic culture, based on the most orthodox of Calvinist churches, within which, despite overt conformity, there were notable attempts at popular resistance, including organised lawbreaking.

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