That Time When Everyone Went Completely Crazy Over Gin

Samuel Reason | October 3rd, 2019

During roughly 50 years from 1728 to 1794, there was a period in London where the whole population nearly went completely mad. And the main culprit was gin. The impact of gin on London’s deprived city population is something that is compared to crack cocaine hitting American inner-city ghettos. It’s a time in Britain that is now known as the Gin Craze, but you could also use the more modern term of drug-crazed.

vice.com

The problem was that until gin, the British population was not used to anything stronger than beer. Nobody knows the period where it was the worst, historians note 1720 to 1751 because this is where we have the most evidence that people complained about the issue – but it could have been happening long before that.

London’s gin consumption was at its biggest during the year 1743, and despite the Gin Act of 1751, the high levels lasted well into 1757. It took a series of crop failures to force the distillation of grain to be banned, due to food shortages! Street vendors would even add in lethal ingredients such as turpentine or sulphuric acid to add a certain flavor to their gin – which was already a much higher percentage of alcohol than today.

Gin bars would have back rooms where men and women would spend the night vomiting unconscious on straw. This led to the term Mother’s Ruin or Mother Gin because, during this same period, death rates started to outstrip birth rates. Historians believe the main cause was that mothers were so drunk on gin they would not look after babies and young children. There is a statistic that showed during 1723, 75% of babies died before they reached the age of five. And doctors did write numerous reports about babies deformed with fetal alcohol syndrome, and gin was also blamed for lowering fertility in men.

The rising amount of drunks and general disorder forced the government to act. This led to regulations around how gin was produced, though it took over eight government acts over 30 years before they finally reached regulation that worked for everyone. In the end, it was simply a case of raising the duty tax that made drinking gin too expensive for the urban poor.

Next Article
  • Banana Candy Flavour Is Not That Fake

    Whenever you merrily chomp on a candy that is flavored to be a banana, you usually find yourself thinking that they don't taste like bananas at all. Or do they? The story of the artificial banana flavoring is a funny one, and as it turns out they do taste like bananas. ...

    Read More
  • Spiders Can Use Electricity To Fly Hundreds Of Miles

    There is a centuries-old mystery that is known as ballooning, which spiders have been taking advantage of to fly around the world. On October 31, 1832, a young naturalist and now world-famous scientist Charles Darwin walked aboard the deck of the HMS Beagle. He realized they had been boarded by hundreds of tiny red spiders....

    Read More
  • The One Million Dollar Coin From Canada

    Here is one saga from history that Canada may wish to forget, the time they minted a 1 million dollar coin, only for it to be promptly stolen. The massive medallion was made from the purest gold bullion ever refined, and by today’s estimates is worth over $5.8 million. The coin was stolen from the...

    Read More
  • Albanians Sheltered Hundreds Of Jews During Holocaust

    During World War II, there were several European nations where the Nazi slaughterhouse seemed to not get a hold of, but few have as such a remarkable story than Albania. During the holocaust, ordinary Albanians would move Jews around hiding spots regularly. They did it so well that the death count was only five. [caption...

    Read More
  • The Dangers Of The Phenomenon Known As The Square Waves

    If you have ever been out in the ocean or walking along the beach, only to spot a quadrilateral shaped wave pattern moving across the ocean - then you have witnessed a dangerous phenomenon known as square waves. Most of us will know of the waves that reach the shore...

    Read More
  • The Soviet Teenager Who Killed Hundreds Of Nazis

    You would have thought there were age restrictions when it came to fighting in World War II, and there was, but some teenagers always managed to make it through the checks. One of those was a Soviet teenager by the name of Zinaida Martynovna Portnovna, who was a Belorussian partisan who fought the Nazis during...

    Read More
  • That Time When Everyone Went Completely Crazy Over Gin

    During roughly 50 years from 1728 to 1794, there was a period in London where the whole population nearly went completely mad. And the main culprit was gin. The impact of gin on London’s deprived city population is something that is compared to crack cocaine hitting American inner-city ghettos. It's a time in Britain that...

    Read More