Temperance and Eric Morecambe

Those two things aren’t necessarily related, it’s just what I gained from last weekend.

On Friday I was invited to attend an amateur performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. As with all theatre performances, no photos allowed! Which is a real shame, because for an amateur drama group, the quality of the acting and props was spectacular. Unfortunately I had a bad seat, where I was sitting on the side of the circle overlooking the right hand side of the stage and right next to two enormous speakers. Even with all this, I enjoyed it thoroughly and for only £10 it was an absolute bargain.

Footlights is the amateur drama group that put the show on and they really demonstrated a high degree of professionalism. They have been around since the 1920’s and the work ethic really showed this. The Grand Theatre in Lancaster where this took place was bought by this group in the 1950’s to save it from demolition.

They hold a number of different shows throughout the year and find it a challenge to balance theatrical performances with the work required to maintain and restore the historic building that is the Grand Theatre.

This theatre is the third oldest in Britain, I couldn’t believe my luck in being able to watch a production at such an amazing landmark of British theatre. It was built in 1781 and apparently much of the stone work from the era has survived.

Reading through it’s history I found out that at the end of the 1830’s is was being used by the Temperance Society. Call me ignorant but I’d never heard of this before (for those with the same level of knowledge as me, the temperance movement is social movement with prohibiting the use of alcoholic drinks in mind.)

I was surprised to see how much of a political power the society had become. It managed to gain massive traction in the First World War, mostly because resources had to be preserved for war use. The Defence of the Realm Act was implemented which licensed pub hours, watered down beer and added a penny a pint tax! The 18th amendment of the US passage was introduced to prohibit alcohol. Austrailian states and New Zealand were subject to early closing times for bars during and immediately after the 1st world war.

The temperance society began to decline as criminal activity increased, similar to what we find with illegal drugs today. I find it interesting that temperance gained such power and hope that we will see this again to eliminate the binge drinking culture in the UK.

Quickly about Eric Morecambe, who formed an award winning double act with Ernie Wise. The partnership lasted an amazing 43 years spanning from 1941 to 1984. He was christened John Eric Bartholomew and was awarded an OBE, however he took his stage name from his home town – Morecambe. To mark this man’s career, a larger than life statue can be seen on the promenade. In my eyes it was extremely impressive, especially with the beautiful backdrop of the sea. I think the photo speaks volume about this man’s achievements and character; I don’t think I can add much to it.

He was a man who never dropped his comic persona, I love how this is preserved in this statue.

A bit short from me this time round, although no one is reading this anyway so it doesn’t really matter!

Until next time.

Thanks for reading


Eric Morecambe Statue