Temperance Coffee Palace, upper Mitcham: Opposite Zion Chapel

Temperance Coffee Palace, upper Mitcham: Opposite Zion Chapel

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Partial / Incomplete Date c.1875
Area Mitcham
Picture Reference Mit_​Buildings_​36-1
Original Format Photo
Notes / History The late 19th Century marked the growth of the temperance movement in England. Prominent in the movement in Mitcham at this time were the Pitt family, who established the Berkeley Teetotal Society at The Temperance Hall in Western Road to encourage abstinence. George Pitt junior and his wife, Priscilla, were Quakers and had little interest in money. However, whereas Priscilla was a staunch teetotaller, George was not averse to the occasional drink. George Pitt junior had inherited the London House general store in Whitford Lane, Mitcham, as well as some local rented property. They lived frugally and much of their income derived from their shop and the rental income supported their generous and extensive charity work in the community. It is noted that the Berkeley Teetotal Society provided a variety of events, including free of charge excursions to the coast on specially hired trains and an imaginative calendar of social events at the local Vestry Hall. At a time when ordinary people had little opportunity to travel it must have been a very special treat for them. In 1892, when George and Priscilla's son, John Marsh Pitt, came of age George Pitt arranged a week of celebration for local people, including a carnival and competitions.

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