The horror of the situation in London was portrayed in a print by Hogarth called ‘Gin Lane’. This shows a drunken woman with ulcerated legs, taking snuff as her baby falls into the gin-vault below. Henry Fielding, author of the book ‘Tom Jones’, also delivered a pamphlet to the government stating his protest against the perpetual drunkenness of the Londoners.
Once again the government was forced into action. A new ‘Gin Act’ was passed which raised the duty on drink and forbade the distillers, grocers, chandlers, jails and workhouses from selling gin.
Gin was never again quite so much of a scourge and consumption fell dramatically through the rest of the eighteenth century. In 1830 the Duke of Wellington‘s administration passed the Sale of Beer Act, which removed all taxes on beer, and permitted anyone to open a Beer Shop on payment of a two-guinea fee. This Bill virtually ended the traffic in gin smuggling.
Gin is still a popular drink, but happily not as popular as it was in history!