Catalogue ReferenceD/EX1492
TitleRecords of Reading Temperance Society (later Amethyst of Reading).

MINUTES : executive committee, 1832-1837, 1890-1892, 1896-1912 (incomplete), 1916-1968; public meetings, 1832-1836, 1935; annual general meetings, 1897-1911 (incomplete), 1916-1986; finance sub-committee, 1898, 1920-1993; relief mission sub-committee, 1891; house hall and building sub-committees, 1896-1899; miscellaneous sub-committees, 1836, 1891, 1897-1900; fĂȘtes committee, 1910; Reading Lads' Temperance Association committee, 1893-1898; pledge signing campaign committee, 1894-1895; Palmer Club committee, 1905-1928 (incomplete); Palmer Club general meetings, 1905-1928 (incomplete); Reading Temperance Council, 1893-1895, 1920-1922; E and E committee, 1920-1921; propaganda sub-committee, 1921-1948; Band of Hope sub-committee, 1922-1938, 1944-1954; sports sub-committee, 1924; Million More Scheme, 1928; May festival committee, 1935-1939; emergency sub-committee, 1947-1955; youth department/committee/council, 1958-1969 (incomplete); West Street Hall/Palmer Hall Trust managers' meetings, 1955-1977; Palmer Hall trustees' meetings, 1972-1974

ANNUAL REPORTS : 1880/1-1980 (incomplete)

FINANCIAL RECORDS : accounts, 1950-1955; coffee stall accounts, 1933-1955; fĂȘte accounts, 1900; annual statements of accounts, 1896/7-1920/1 (incomplete), 1955/6-1978; vouchers, 1855; register of investments, 1931-1956

MISCELLANEOUS : magazines, 1872-1875, 1939-1941; history of Society, 1982; scrapbooks, 1883-1892, 1936-1957; constitution, 1975; printed miscellanea, 1836-1837, 1891-1893
RepositoryBerkshire Record Office (code: GB 005)
Extent34 vols, 10 bdls, 6 docs
Admin HistoryReading Temperance Society was founded in 1832 as a local auxiliary of the British and Foreign Temperance Society; local nonconformist clergy and laymen were instrumental in its work until the mid 20th century.

Total abstinence was adopted in 1837. Premises in West Street, Reading, were acquired in 1861, and the West Street Hall built the following year, to serve as the Society's headquarters. The hall was demolished in the 1890s and replaced in 1900 by the W I Palmer Memorial Buildings, named for William Isaac Palmer, treasurer of the Society from the 1850s until his death in 1893. It was used as a soup kitchen in 1891 for men thrown out of work by a particularly severe winter, and as a temperance club for soldiers, 1914-16. During the First World War, the Society also opened coffee stalls at Reading Station and Caversham Bridge, and in Bedford Road, to serve non-alcoholic drinks. They continued in operation until the 1960s. From the 1950s the Society's work became more focused on education about the dangers of alcohol. The Society sold non-alcoholic drinks nation wide (as Amethyst Drinks) and operated the Amethyst Tea Bar in West Street, Reading. It also supplied tea at Borough Council meetings as an alternative to alcohol. Youth work was actively undertaken between 1956 and the 1970s. In 1974 Palmer Hall was sold, and new premises, called Amethyst House, were bought in London Road, Reading. The name of the Society was gradually changed to that of Amethyst Centre for Alcohol Concern.

For a history of the Society, see D/EX 1492/16/4.
AcquisitionDeposited in February 1998 (acc. 6175)
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