The Sheffield Band of Hope came into existence with the constitutional objective to train children so as to enable them to abstain from drink, gambling and tobacco. This institution’s popularity grew from strength to strength with it’s annual galas and bazaars and was nearly 50 bands strong by 1896.
The Band of Hope’s annual event was keenly covered by the Independent & Telegraph and gave details concerning the ceremony, attendees and program. The two arresting features of the band’s annual event and it’s role in the temperance movement have been presented below.
BAND OF HOPE WORK IN SHEFFIELD.
A public conversazione in connection with the Sheffield Sunday School Band of Hope Union, was held last night in the Temperance Hall. It was largely attended, and in all respects very successful. Amongst those present during the evening were the Lord Mayor of Sheffield (Ald. W. E. Clegg), Sir Chas. and Lady Skelton, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Clegg, Mr. C. Wardlow, Mr. S. Hoyland, the Rev. David Heath, the Rev. J. Thornley, Mr. E. S. Bramwell, etc. Apologies were received from Mr. Isaac Milner, J. P. (president), Mr. and Mrs. Wycliffe Wilson, etc.
The 44th annual report of the Union was read by Mr. J. C. Clegg. The Executive Committee stated therein that the past year had been marked by steady educational work such as was characteristic of the movement. Much of the temperance sentiment which now permeated society was the result of plodding work amongst the young. The roll of societies had been carefully revised during the year, and now showed 153 in association with the Union. The membership was estimated at 17,000. The committee went on to describe the year’s work, and pointed out that the Union had five district committees which met monthly in furtherance of the work in their localities. The number of appointments on the speaker’s plan had been 811, and the number of speakers at present was 71. In view of the great increase in the habits of smoking and gambling, special attention had been paid by some speakers to that part of the pledge. Temperance Sunday in November last was very generally observed, speakers being provided for 48 Sunday schools, and 333 pledges were reported. Owing to the Botanical Gardens not being available, the annual gala had this year to be abandoned. The report concluded in the following terms: – “While we look to Parliamentary action to do something to remove the reputations which abound, especially, perhaps to forbid the sale of drink to the young, as recommended by both reports of the Royal Commission, we must in no way slacken our efforts to secure personal abstinence, supported by personal conviction of the wisdom of that course.”
The LORD MAYOR, in the course of a short [illegible], spoke of the change in public sentiment upon temperance matters which had taken place since a few poor working men signed the pledge about the year 1832. Religious societies, with their ministers and clergymen, were at first opposed to the movement, and at one time insurance companies refused to insure the lives of teetotallers. To-day, a man who was a total abstainer could insure his life for less than a moderate drinker, and statistics showed that deaths amongst total abstainers were less than “expectancies.” The Lord Mayor also referred to the important part which Bands of Hope played in the temperance movement, and counselled perseverance in the cause. He thought temperance workers should, after the reports of the recent Royal Commission, concentrate their energies upon getting early Saturday closing of public-houses, and complete Sunday closing. (Applause.)
The Rev. DAVID HEATH (ex-president of the Methodist New Connexion Conference) also spoke. He said that theirs might not be the most heroic part of temperance work, but it was the most encouraging as far as it went. It was work of a reasonable and hopeful kind, for they were attacking the “line of least resistance.” (Applause.)
During the evening an interesting programme was gone through. The musical part was provided by pupils of Miss Lilian Hovey. Musical drills were prettily performed by the Petre Street P.M. Band of Girls, and there were also microscope and stereoscope exhibitions.
THE SHEFFIELD BAND OF HOPE BAZAAR.
SECOND DAY’S OPENING.
The “Fairyland” Bazaar, which has been organised with the object of raising £1,000 for the [illegible] of the Band of Hope Union, was re-opened this morning at the Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield, by Lady Skelton. Ald. D. L. Winter, of Rotherham, presided, and there were also present the Revs. J. Gilmore, J Lewis Pearce, O. J. Rendell, J. Haigh, W. A. Guttridge, J. Thornley, J. S. Clemens, Sir Charles Skelton, Messrs. F. Percy Rawson. E. S. Bramwell, C. J. Whitehead, F. Collis, J. C. Clegg, O. C. Wilson, Charles Wardlow, S. Naismith, G. W. Langley, Mark Jenkinson, and E. G. Skelton (secretary). The name of Mrs. G. A. Andrews (Sheffield Women’s Christian Temperance Association stall) has been omitted from the official guide.
The Chairman said whatever might be the different opinions about the Education Bill, all were agreed that the training of the young was of the greatest importance. This was realised by the Band of Hope Union, as the first object was to train children so as to enable them to abstain from drink, gambling, and tobacco. Children could not be impervious to their surroundings, and were it not for such institutions as the Band of Hope Union and the Sunday Schools drunkenness and gambling would be more prevalent than they were. It was therefore absolutely imperative that those associated with the training of the young should lend their influence to the work of such institutions. Progress was being made in temperance work, but he believed that the spirit of gambling was stronger to-day than a few years ago.
Lady Skelton then re-opened the bazaar, remarking that in many cases the work of the Band of Hope for children was counteracted by home influences, and asked whether something could not be done by getting into contact with the parents and inducing them to show better examples.
On the motion of Mr Charles Wardlow, seconded by Mr. F. Percy Rawson, votes of thanks were passed to the chairman and Lady Skelton.
To-morrow the opening ceremony will be performed by 150 children.
Researched from the British Newspaper Archives.