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It was thirsty work for Victorian chainmakers

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 30, 2014

By Dan Shaw

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AS YOU can imagine, chainmaking was a thirsty business, as Robert Sherard states in his 1897 account of Cradley chainmakers:

"Beer plays a great part in the lives of the men, and even amongst the women a predilection for drink may be observed. The number of quarts of 'threepenny,' or even 'twopenny,' consumed by the men in the chain factories is very great. A master told me that some of his men often consume three shillingsworth of beer a day at threepence the quart.

"The beer chiefly drunk in Cradley is a variety known as Burton Returns, that is to say, beer which has been returned to the brewers as undrinkable by customers more fastidious than the chainmakers."

Three shillings of beer at 3d a quart is 24 pints – that's a lot of "undrinkable" beer!

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