Author: South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University

Provider: South Wales Miners' Library

Rights: Unknown

Interview of Lewis, Bryn and Lewis, Mrs by Egan, David on 28th January 1973.
The interview forms part of Swansea University�s South Wales Miners� Library collection.

1 audio file (3 m 20 sec.)



Egan, David: The First World War didn’t have any effect on drinking did it?

Lewis, Bryn: Yes it did. One effect and I always quoted it, that in the First World War, Lloyd George rose the price of beer to 6d, from 3d. to 6d., and practically the whole of Wales and big parts of England, stopped drinking beer for a week. It seemed very strange and you never see the history of it, they very practically stopped drinking beer for a week, and then they introduced a lower gravity beer at 4d., and then the trade came back. But the funny part about it, and its stuck in my mind ever since was, and I always say, that no man can tell the difference between one beer or another, because we had the fourpenny and sixpenny beer in our house, and I made a genuine mistake. If my father knew he would have knocked my head off, because he was too honest to be a publican or a business man, my father was, my mother was different. But I made a mistake, and I put the fourpenny on the sixpenny tap and the sixpenny on the fourpenny. Well the men used to come in and they didn’t want the bloody cheap stuff, the fourpenny, they wanted the sixpenny, the tidy beer, and they didn’t know it, and I didn’t realise it for quite a while, that they were paying sixpence for the fourpenny beer, and they couldn’t tell the difference. Well after that we ordered very few hogs heads of sixpenny beer, it was nearly all fourpenny and you were paying sixpence for it.

Egan, David: How prevalent in the period we are talking about, was drunkenness? Was bad drinking in the period now before and during the First World War, how much drunkenness was there?

Lewis, Bryn: Oh a lot of drunkenness, a lot of drunkenness, and nearly every Saturday night a lot of fighting you see

Lewis, Mrs: More so outside the New Inn. There was more fighting outside the New Inn than anywhere else

Lewis, Bryn: Oh yes there was

Lewis, Mrs: that’s what I ’m saying

Lewis, Bryn: Outside, and they used to be fighting inside. But in this bar we had, there was a partition with a door, and they would start to fight, well my father, my mother could get amongst them, but my father wouldn’t. But he'd stand by the door with a doub, and as they come near the door he'd catch hold of one of them that was fighting, pull it and shut the door, you see. And, but my mother would get amongst them.