Friday 7 November 2014

Gin Palaces

The original gin palaces were lavished open-plan bars, which you were expected to drink standing up. Here's a nice description ...

A splendid gin palace has been lately erected in Rosemary-lane, in the midst of the old clothes market called “Rag Fair”; and its magnificent fittings up, polished mahogany doors, large squares of plate glass, a very handsome lamp, which alone is said to have cost 100 guineas, and a large clock, which is illuminated after dark, as a beacon to lure the victims of the liquid fire gin, to the Moloch within, forms a very striking contrast with the mean dwellings, dirt, and misery which surround it. The interior is fitted up in the same splendid manner, with massive gas burners and casks of the most gaudy colours. A gin palace on a very large scale is about to be erected in High-street, Shadwell (a continuation of the Ratcliff-highway), on the site of an old and unpretending public house, called the “Ship and Shears”, which, with another house adjoining, has been pulled down for the purpose. The police expect a very great addition to their labours in this disorderly neighbourhood, on the completion of the gin palace, as the street already abounds with liquour shops, which are always filled with sailors and drunken prostitutes. The shopkeepers view the intended erection with feelings of dismay.

The Standard, 19 August 1834

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