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18 September 2014
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BBC Liverpool - Local History

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Beer, wine and cider licenses
Beer, wine and cider licences for Lime Street in the 1870s


In the early l800s, there were no licensing laws, and it is estimated that in Liverpool, one dwelling in seven sold beer. But most of the social problems then were not caused by beer drinking, but by spirit drinking. Wellington had the idea that if he could encourage people to drink beer rather than spirits, it would solve a great many social problems.

In 1830, he passed the Beer House Act. Any householder could obtain a licence to sell beer for two guineas. 24,342 licenses were issued in Liverpool alone.

Gladstone, our famous Prime Minister had an idea in 1860 to solve the problems of drunkenness. He wanted to encourage people to drink wine and he passed the Wine Licensing Act, he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time.

The result was that anyone of good character in Liverpool and surrounding areas could open a place where they could sell wine, as well as beer.
Result?
Liverpool had more cases of drunkenness than in any seaport in the country.

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