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Geographies of inebriety

Geographies of inebriety


This project examines the provision of institutional treatment for those identified as suffering from habitual drunkenness or inebriety.

Under the 1898 Inebriates Act local councils were empowered to support the provision of reformatory facilities in their areas, allowing the courts subsequently to refer to these institutions anyone found guilty of four drink-related offences in any twelve-month period. Characteristically permissive, the legislation enjoyed a very uneven take up, and this project looks and how and why this was case, exploring the uneven regulatory outcomes for individuals that resulted.

The project also posits the centrality of the criminal justice system – on which treatment under the Act relied – in shaping contemporary medical knowledge about the relationship between alcoholism and mental health.


  • D. Beckingham, 2012, ‘Gender, space and drunkenness: Liverpool’s licensed premises, 1860-1914,’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(3), pp. 647-666.
  • D. Beckingham, 2010, ‘An historical geography of liberty: Lancashire and the Inebriates Acts,’ Journal of Historical Geography 36(4), pp. 388-401.
  • D. Beckingham, 2009, ‘The Irish question and the question of drunkenness: Catholic loyalty in nineteenth-century Liverpool,’ Irish Geography 42(2), pp. 125-144.