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Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century$
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David W. Gutzke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719052644

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719052644.001.0001

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Women, war and drinking

Women, war and drinking

(p.52) 2 Women, war and drinking
Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century

David W. Gutzke

Manchester University Press

As in World War I, the second World War resulted in the disappearance of pre-war spatial boundaries governing drinking. Young women began visiting pubs in growing numbers first in early 1941 and with increasing frequency in the following years. Improved interwar premises facilitated the entry to licensed premises of adolescents and less affluent young women from unskilled working-class families. Women’s public drinking, reaching about 40% of all women on the eve of the war, rose perhaps by one-fifth, so that well over half and perhaps as many as three-fifths of all females were using pubs during the war. From the late 1940s, however, women shunned pubs in striking numbers. Public opinion polls suggest that the war ingrained deep hostility in many juvenile and young women to every frequenting drink premises thereafter. One enduring change was the widespread acceptance of the pub’s new name, the “local.”

Keywords:   The “local”, Public Opinion Surveys, Mass-Observation, Gender barriers collapsed, Drinking habits changed, Taboos against women drinking, Improved interwar pubs

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