We recovered a white metal medal during recent investigations in Gloucester. These medals, 39mm in diameter, were awarded to those who took a pledge of abstinence from alcohol. On one side the medal reads “Band of Hope Medal – Prevention is Better than Cure – I Promise to Abstain from All Alcoholic Drinks as Beverages”. The reverse has an image of hands shaking and an open Bible with the words “Wine is a Mockery – Strong Drink is Raging – Thy Word is Truth.”
The Band of Hope was first proposed by Rev. Jabez Tunnicliff, a Baptist minister in Leeds, following the death in June 1847 of a young man whose life was cut short by alcohol. While working in Leeds, Tunnicliff had become an advocate for total abstinence from alcohol. In the autumn of 1847, with the help of other temperance the Band of Hope was founded. Its objective was to teach children the importance and principles of sobriety and teetotalism. In 1855, a national organisation was formed amidst an explosion of Band of Hope work. Meetings were held in churches throughout the UK and included Christian teaching.
The Band of Hope and other temperance organisations of the period fought to counteract the influence of pubs and breweries with the specific intention of rescuing ‘unfortunates’ whose lives had been blighted by drink and teach complete abstinence.
by Sean Rice