Thursday, 2 August 2012

Seamen’s Temperance Restaurant, Birkenhead

Lowry mentions this restaurant in ‘Goya The Obscure’ when he lists several signs/adverts (Pg. 273). This is probably the National British Women’s Temperance Association Refreshment Rooms located at Woodside Ferry (Kelly’s Directory 1927).

The British Women's Temperance Association (1876-1925) was founded under the presidency of Mrs Edward Parker in 1876 to organise women to encourage temperance by education and other means, and to agitate for the restriction of sales of alcohol. In addition it targeted activities at the 7-30 age group, including summer schools and competitions. In 1925 the Association and the Women's Total Abstinence Union resolved their differences and merged to become the National British Women's Total Abstinence Union.

Lowry could have possibly eaten there on route to Liverpool by ferry-boat or known the restaurant through his teetotal parents.

Lowry refers to a similar restaurant in his novel Ultramarine; "He was standing by a sign: Seamen’s Temperance Restaurant - all welcome (Pg. 36), "Seamen’s Temperance Restaurant." (Pg.81) and Lowry notes a sign for Sailor's Temperance Restaurant when Dana is on his drift through the red light district of Tsjang Tsjang (Dairen) (Pg. 104). No record of such a restaurant has been discovered to date.

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