Nostalgists are always telling us how much better everything was in the past-simpler, ordered, more law-abiding and clean. A view much beloved of certain elderly and slightly dim journalists who write for Sunday newspapers, for example. Before you believe them, you would do well to consider the infamous gin epidemic of the eighteenth century, which nearly destroyed society, and inspired one of the most famous artworks of all time: Hogarth’s Gin Lane
The history which we present today How a Gin Craze nearly destroyed 18th-century London by Harry Sword is so well written and fun to read that we will do nothing here but implore you to click on the link . Really. Go on. Now.
And remember. Tonight as you sip your martini, or gin tonica, or Singapore sling (it’s still the wrong side of Easter for Pimms) remember this. What you are drinking was once the crack cocaine of its day. Puts all that Palladian in perspective, eh, what?