The excessive consumption by the general English population during the gin epidemic is difficult to comprehend by today’s comforts. The two key elements of note to help understand the times were that Europe was undergoing what is known as “The Mini Ice Age” with frequent snow storms and even the River Thames commonly freezing over completely. As such, drinking spirits was a cheap and relatively simple way to help escape the chill. Additionally the general hygiene conditions of the time and the poor state of available drinking water meant that a distilled liquid guaranteed a purified hydration from any disease or parasites that were commonly found therein, and therefore gin not just safe to drink but very easy and cheap to obtain.
In 1751, famous artist and brutally honest social critic William Hogarth, captured the darkest moments of London’s Gin epidemic in his etching entitled “Gin Lane”. The scene captured by Hogarth represents the slum of London’s St Giles district, a neighborhood understandably described by the artists as where, “nothing but idleness, poverty, misery and ruin are to be seen”. In the background is the spire of St George’s church in Bloomsbury, normally a symbol of London’s elegance yet in stark contrast to events below showing brawling drunkards, ruined buildings, housewives pawning goods for gin, babies being fed on gin, scenes of murder, suicide and various other images of inhumanity with the most prosperous house in the scene belonging to the undertaker. In the bottom left hand corner of this image is a local gin-palace (a cheap spirit shop) called “Gin Royal” with a sign above the door which famously states;
“Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for two pence, clean straw for nothing”.
Popular London novelist and Court Justice Henry Fielding would describe the life in such slums as, “excessive misery…oppressed with want, and sunk in every species of debauchery”. Fielding was also a close friend and partner at cards of Hogarth.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
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The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pages 197 pages
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Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!