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Medal celebrating the Temperance Declaration, England, 1833-1870

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The Temperance, or ‘teetotal’, movement was popular in the 1800s in both the United States and Europe. Alcohol (the ‘demon’ drink) was considered to be the cause of social disruption and ill health among individuals and families, and some religious groups wanted to ban it all together. This medal celebrates the new Temperance Declaration instituted in 1833. Engraved on to the medal is the declaration of members of the Temperance Society: “We agree to abstain from all intoxicating liquors except for medical purposes and religious ordinances.” The other side shows a man and a woman holding flags proclaiming “Sobriety” and “Domestic Comfort”. The medal was engraved by Thomas Ottley, who was based in Birmingham.

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Glossary: medal

Small pieces of metal, usually gold, silver, or bronze, bearing a relief design on one or both sides and having a commemorative purpose; not used as a medium of exchange. Medals may also be created to commemorate individuals or events or even as works of artistic expression in their own right.