In the Media

Owner of Britain's last Temperance Bar admits drink driving

PUBLISHED November 30, 2012

Christopher James Law, 52, who owns the 120-year-old Fitzpatrick's bar in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to the charge at Burnley Magistrates' Court.

Temperance bars originated in Lancashire in the late 19th century. They advocated abstinence from alcohol, often asked their patrons to sign a no-booze pledge and renounce the demon drink. They were also the first outlet for Vimto in the early 20th century.

Police in Burnley found Mr Law to be almost twice the legal limit when they stopped him at around 2.30am in Centenary Way, Burnley, on November 7. Officers found 67 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Mr Law, of Gordon Street, in Rawtenstall, recently appeared on TV with Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King, extolling the virtues of the wide range of non-alcoholic drinks he serves.

He had no previous endorsments on his licence, was fined £110 and also ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.

He bought Fitzpatrick's bar in Bank Street, which has been selling remedies and non-alcoholic drinks such as sarsaparilla and dandelion and burdock since 1890, 12 years ago after a 20-year career as a pipe fitter.

The shop also sells pottery barrels containing Blackbeer and Raisin, Ginger Beer, Cream Soda, Lemon and Ginger and Blood Tonic. It attracts tourists from across the world and sells products at markets and other outlets across the area.

The Temperance movement was formed by tee-total Methodists in Lancashire and thrived throughout the 19th Century with the aim of decreasing the nation's alcohol intake. It declined following the import of a wave of imported, sugary drinks from the United States and the Rawtenstall bar, which opened in 1890, was the only one of Fitzpatrick's 30 bars to survive.

Mr Fitzpatrick's was originally a chain of bars started by the Fitzpatrick family of Dublin, herbalists who had migrated to Lancashire. The last of the Fitzpatrick's was Mr Malachi Fitzpatrick, who was gifted one of his father's temperance bars as a wedding present and then went onto run the bar in Rawtenstall for over 50 years.

In an earlier interview Mr Law said: "I used to come in here as a kid. The Fitzpatricks ceased to own the business a while back but six years ago I knew the then owner who mentioned he was selling it. I was at a point in my life when I just knew that I had to take it on."