Select Page


Governments had been concerned about the dangers of drunkenness as far back as the 16th Century, the main issue being the link to public disorder or crime. By the early nineteenth century the longstanding issue of the excess consumption of alcohol began to be defined as a social problem.

The first British organisation that promoted temperance was founded by John Dunlop and his aunt Lillias Graham of Gairbraid and named the Glasgow and West of Scotland Temperance Society, which was formed in 1829.

In 1847, the Band of Hope was founded in Leeds, with the stated aim of saving working class children from the perils of drink. The members had to pledge to abstain “from all liquors of an intoxicating quality, whether ale, porter, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicine”.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act of 1853 introduced closure of licensed premises on Sundays and at 11pm on weekdays, but temperance reformers were continually lobbying for further, more extensive, legislation. There was also strong support for the introduction of legislation aimed at establishing the right of householders in local communities to vote for or against licensed premises.

In Aberchirder Provost Auchinachie was prominent in the temperance movement, being Secretary of the Aberchirder Total Abstinence Society for fifty years,

Temperance Hotel, Aberchirder
Temperance Hotels were ones which served no alcoholic drinks. The first one in Britain opened in Preston, Lancashire, in 1833. The building in the Square in Aberchirder which would become the Temperance Hotel was built on a feu shown on a map of 1823 as belonging to ‘Marnoch Society’ while the date stone above the door reads ‘M.F.S 1814’, presumably referring to the Marnoch Friendly Society. [Link to Welfare W4]
It is unclear when the property first functioned as a hotel. The Aberdeen Directory for 1846-47 lists Richard Cooper as ‘hotel-keeper’, while the valuation roll for 1877-78 lists the building as a hall belonging to James Milton of Macduff. He must have sold the property shortly after, as this item from the Banffshire Journal of 4 September 1877 shows:

The next available valuation roll, for 1891-92, lists the proprietor of the Temperance Hotel as Rev John McRaith. He was minister of the West United Free Church on the corner of North Street and Cornhill Road, and a staunch supporter of temperance. The tenant was Alex Gardiner, who ran his printing business from the shop attached to the hotel, as one of the picture postcards he published shows:
Temperance Hotel (left), The Square
Alexander Gardiner’s shop (righthand door)