Gin and Georgian London

The production of gin was actively encouraged in Britain during the Restoration period, but its increasing grip on the London poor had disastrous effects for the following century. Thomas Maples examines the gin problem and what it took to stem the flow.

Hogarth's Gin Lane

They ran into the wells being constantly possessed by an inexhausted thirst.
- Thucydides

Henry Fielding was correct in his comparison of ancient Greeks with the gin-soaked London masses of early eighteenth-century England. The reckless abandonment with which a large sector of the poor pursued the evil spirit gin, affected not only each individual's life, but changed the social and economic complexion of early London.

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