CHURCH of ENGLAND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY.
In the Victorian era drink was a serious problem that different Acts of Parliament tried to deal with. Early in the nineteenth century there were 7 public houses in Yalding Parish which were joined by 8 beerhouses. This was an attempt to change peoples habits from drinking spirits over to beer, but when the latter were required to be licensed some converted to public houses and the overall number was reduced. In attempt to combat this problem the national Church formed this society in 1862.
The Yalding branch was already in existence when the parish magazine was launched in 1888. At that time the society President was Rev'd D Lamplugh, Vice-President and Treasurer was Mr W Galpin, Secretary Mr P J Tippen, with Committee also including Messrs T Baker, Mercer and Miss Lavinia Hope. The society numbered 53, the majority of whom were total abstainers. Mr Galpin and Miss Hope were Superintendent and assistant respectively of the Juvenile Branch, called The Band of Hope, which had 80 members. The Temperance Society held monthly meetings and in June 1888 other names added to the committee were Misses M J Warde, A B Warde, A Sedge, A Skinner, C Cope, and Mr A Newman. During 1888 a coffee room was opened, and it was decided to hold an Annual Tea Meeting, at which on May 1st 1889 entertainment was given by Miss A B Warde at the piano, with songs provided by herself, Mr Baker and Mr Galpin. On July 3rd that year the members enjoyed tea with the Band of Hope children at Cheveney Institute, and afterwards in the Vicarage grounds. In 1889 meetings were held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. They also helped at the hopping Coffee Room, making a satisfactory balance.
There was a lull in the activities of the society, but it was revived at a social meeting in the Boy's School on Wednesday April 19th 1899, with songs from Miss Williams and Mr Burton, and instrumental music by Miss Ellis and the Misses Hards. At an annual service on Sunday June 18th 1899 the Rev G B Charles gave an account of the work of the Society, and stated that at a stall at the Maidstone Show temperance drinks could be sampled. Recipes were inserted in the parish magazine for drinks that could be made from 2d a gallon.
Fortunes of the society fluctuated and again efforts were put in to keep it going in 1902, when one of the meetings was an address followed by entertainment for a 200 audience at Cheveney Institute. This included a football song by four boys of the Band of Hope, `Forty years on'; Mascagni's Intermezzo on the violin, by Miss Bertha Hards; a recitation, `The Obstructive Hat', by Mr John Udall; songs by Miss Isabel Loosemore, Miss Williams, Mr James Butler, Mr Frank Baker, and Mr Lansdell; a pianoforte solo by Mr Blunden, and three selections excellently played by the band of the Boys' Brigade. These entertainments proved very popular and involved a wide range of village people including boys from Cleaves School and the vicarage children. Membership of the society in 1904 was 90.
Although the activities of the society seem to decline, it continued to survive, manned the tea tent at the village Flower Show, and from 1909 sent an annual parcel of clothes to the Police Court Mission at Canterbury. This practice was still active in 1913 when a fortnightly working party was established to produce garments, with the proceeds of their sale being divided between the Police Court and the Hop-pickers Mission. 1912 was the Jubilee year for the CETS and celebrations were held on Wednesday October 16th at All Saints Church and the Corn Exchange in Maidstone.
Although the activities and working groups continued throughout 1914 there were no more reports after that, so its final demise is uncertain.