which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Florence Nightingale and temperance

Thank you to Alan Howe for unearthing this letter.

Florence Nightingale wrote to support Crich vicar’s stance on temperance. She enclosed three guineas for his good works, wishing it could be more. In the letter she has a goodly rant about the poor dress, living conditions and drinking habits of the people of Crich.

Lea Hurst
Nov 26 1881

Dear Sir
I beg your acceptance of £3. 3 for any of your works that require it most. Temperance or Lay Reader.

I wish it were more, but the claims upon me are far beyond my means.

I trust that your fight in favour of temperance will be crowned with success as I am sure you will also pray for ours.

Drink & dress seem to be the great barriers against civilization, against God’s work in these parts. The people do not even understand their own interests: they will live in wretched quarters, perhaps 7 in family and a lodger, in two miserable bed rooms – happy too if grown up sons & daughters are not in the same bed room & even (up into the teens) in the same bed. While they spend more on eating & drinking & dressing (with no mending) than we do – and mend their clothes less than we do. There are people earning (parents, sons & daughters included) considerably more than a London Government clerk, who has to appear like a gentleman. What wonder if immorality is rampant!

I have to thank you for a sermon preached the Sunday before last against profanity, & against drinking, repeated to me, as far as I could guess almost word for word, by my maid. I always make them tell me the Sermons they hear.

I pray God to bless your work

Excuse pencil
I pray believe me
ever your faithful servt
Florence Nightingale

Revd W. Acraman

Text taken from "Parish life with a troubled vicar: Crich 1875-1900" Read more

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