If you are a devotee of lavish Victorian pubs then Madam Geneva deserves your gratitude. Madam Geneva, one of the 18th century nicknames for gin, is the reason that such splendid boozers exist. During the 18th and 19th centuries when so much of the under-class in Britain was blighted by the gin frenzy, the juniper based spirit could not only be purchased in pubs, but in unexpected places such as the barber’s, the blacksmith, even in a church. Competition for customers increased when the Government acted to mitigate the devastation to society caused by addiction to gin. In 1830 the Beerhouses Act was passed which encouraged the opening of pubs and for beer to be sold at a reduced price with the intention of moderating gin consumption. People still craved gin however because it was the most effective method of intoxication.
It’s show-time! That phrase sings in my head each time I visit London’s Blackfriar pub. If Walt Disney had been a pub designer this is what he would have devised. Every surface of this spectacular Arts & Crafts/Art Nouveau hostelry is decorated and then decorated again. More is more is more. If minimalism is your style then either wear sunglasses in this pub or go to the post-industrial concrete bunker boozer nearby.