Using local examples from archives held by the University of Nottingham, ‘Last Orders: Stories of alcohol and abstinence in the East Midlands’ examines changing attitudes to alcohol in the region across the two centuries before the First World War.
The exhibition explores the reputation of pubs as spaces of companionship, storytelling, and political debate. Brewing was a source of local pride, and the everyday act of drinking provided plenty of government revenue. But alcohol was also blamed for causing personal harm and public disorder.
Visitors will learn how, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, members of new temperance societies challenged the role of drink in everyday life. They presented sobriety as a route to collective self-improvement and civic participation.
The exhibition has been jointly curated by the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections and Dr David Beckingham in the School of Geography.