This exhibition runs from Thursday 16 June until Sunday 9 October 2022, at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts.
Through vivid local stories, Last Orders: Stories of alcohol and abstinence in the East Midlands, examines the tensions that have marked Britain’s changing relationship with alcohol. It considers the two centuries before the First World War, and a series of economic and political transformations that prompted questions about the place of drink and the need to regulate alcohol consumption.
The materials on display demonstrate some of the ways in which drink was celebrated. Brewing beer was a source of local pride, and selling alcohol provided employment and tax revenues. Local pubs were places of storytelling, companionship and plenty of incident.
Against these constructions, the exhibition traces the emergence of the temperance movement in the 19th century, which held drink responsible for urban disorder and domestic neglect, economic inactivity and poor health. Last Orders makes the case that temperance efforts to call time on drinking represented a new model of civic participation and even citizenship.
In this online version of the exhibition you can read a selection of the exhibition boards and find out more about the exhibition content.
A series of events are taking place in connection with the exhibition. Details and links to booking information are below.
Last Orders: Stories of alcohol and abstinence in the East Midlands has been jointly curated by Dr David Beckingham of the School of Geography and Manuscripts and Special Collections.
Six exhibition boards will be on display in the Gallery. For those who want to read ahead, two of the boards can be downloaded or viewed online as Adobe PDFs.
Accessing items from our collections
Items from our collections are available to consult in the Manuscripts and Special Collections reading room on King's Meadow Campus.
You can search our catalogues to find items in the manuscript and printed collections relating to pubs, alcohol and temperance.
Films: Watch our series of films about items which feature in the exhibition
The curator, Dr David Beckingham, introduces William Parsons (solicitor and Mayor of Nottingham), whose diaries feature in the exhibition.
The curator presents a letter from Worksop's Independent Order of Good Templars to the 7th Viscount Galway, Conservative MP for North Nottinghamshire, 3 July 1880.
Dr David Beckingham presents a letter relating to the sale of the Portland Hotel in Creswell, Derbyshire, 15 June 1880.
From the blog
Read a blog by the curator of Last Orders
Last Orders at the Weston GalleryCurator Dr David Beckingham, talks about the challenges of selecting content for the exhibition
Go to the blog
Next blog coming soon...
Join the curator for a guided walk through the Weston Gallery exhibition and learn more about the items on display.
Saturday 18 June, 11am-12noon
Sunday 19 June, 11am-12noon
Thursday 11 August, 11am-12noon
Wednesday 28 September, 2-3pm
Free, advanced booking required
A series of talks held in the Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts. Tickets are £3 (free concessions) and can be booked online at https://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/ or by calling the Lakeside Box Office on 0115 846 7777.
Recordings will be available here shortly after the talks have taken place.
Beer Flavour – A matter of taste?
Tuesday 28 June, 1-2pm
Beer remains the UK’s favourite drink, although consumer tastes in beer styles have evolved throughout the history of industrial brewing. Professor David Cook of the University’s International Centre for Brewing Science will examine how beer stimulates our senses and evaluate historical and modern trends in consumer preference and expectations for our national drink.
Book tickets online
Taking the pledge: The temperance movement in Britain
Wednesday 10 August, 1-2pm
From its foundations in the 1830s, the temperance movement offered its members a vision of individual and collective improvement if they abstained from alcohol. In this talk Dr David Beckingham of the School of Geography will illustrate how temperance groups were organised and investigate how they impacted national debates about drink control for the rest of the 19th century.
Book tickets online
Does the way we drink alcohol change with age?
Tuesday 4 October, 1-2pm
How do people drink in different times of their life? Does pouring your own drink at home change how much you consume? Dr Katy Jones of the School of Medicine will explore current research on patterns of alcohol consumption and whether people drink differently in different life stages.
Book tickets online
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