‘Demon drink’ demo poured along centre of Dunstable

Temperance parade in Dunstable in 1908
Temperance parade in Dunstable in 1908

There was once much agitation in Dunstable about the evils of the ‘demon drink’ as shown, for example, in this picture of a Temperance Parade in High Street North taken in August 1908.

The photographer (almost certainly Chas Smy who had a shop in High Street North) helpfully wrote some key details on the front of his print.

Mr Smy was not a teetotaller himself...he was a regular customer at the Bull public house near his studio.

Much of the interest in the photo today is the reminder of how the high street used to look.

The photographer was standing at what is now the Santander Bank, looking across to the old Post Office building.

This stood next to what is now Barclays Bank and is now the home of the Cashino slot machine business. The Post Office moved to new premises, almost opposite Grove House, just before the outbreak of the First World War.

The PO has moved a number of times since, but locals still describe its c1913 red-brick building, still standing, as “the old post office”.

The three-storey premises towards the left of the photo is today the home of the Nationwide Building Society.

It was previously the Charlie Cole cycle shop and stands on the edge of what is now the Quadrant shopping centre.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.