Band of Hope

Band of Hope

The Band of Hope, a temperance organisation for working-class children, was founded in Leeds in 1847. All members took a pledge of total abstinence and were taught the "evils of drink". Members were enrolled from the age of six and met once a week to listen to lectures and participate in activities.

Music played an important role and competitions were held between different Band of Hope choirs. Members of the local Temperance Societies also organised outings for the children and with the growth of the railways, trips were arranged to the nearest coastal resorts.

Charles Green, Sunday Afternoon in a Gin Palace (The Graphic, 1879)
Charles Green, Sunday Afternoon in a Gin Palace (The Graphic, 1879)
© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Edward Steer was a member of the East Grinstead branch of the Band of Hope in the 1850s. He recalled his experiences in Reminiscences published in 1899.

The annual treat, held always on Whit Wednesday, was a great feature of the year, and after listening to a special address by a noted minister from elsewhere the children would form in procession and march through the town. Halting at various places, special hymns, learnt for the occasion, were sung, generally led by a violin or two.

(2) Thomas Cramp, the founder of the East Grinstead Temperance Society, organised a trip for local children.

In 1837 we resolved to give the children a week-day treat. The announcement was then given forth, the preparations were made, and the children met, about three hundred of them. They sang, received an address from the Rev. W. Aldridge, and the children with their teachers, marched through the town, and on to Budgen's Barn, they returned in the same order, took their tea, sang another hymn, and were dismissed to their homes.

(3) Jury Cramp, was another child who went on Band of Hope excursions. He described his activities in a letter that he wrote to the East Grinstead Observer (9th June, 1932)

The Temperance friends catered for the people's enjoyment by inaugurating the popular yearly excursions to the seaside, Hastings, Eastbourne, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight being visited in turn by many who had never seen the sea. Special trains were run and filled with various stations, with as many as 2,000 at a time.