Here's some of what they learned about the pub in wartime. Some seems pretty damn effing obvious.
The mass-observers of Us counted the number of customers in twelve public-houses in the Metropolis between 8.30 and 10 p.m., on Saturday, September 17th, 1938. On Saturday, September 9th, 1939 (in the first week of the war), they counted them again, and found an increase of customers over the twelve houses, averaging 36 per cent. Seven of the houses were observed on the two following Saturday nights (September 16th and 23rd), and again increases of patronage to the extent of 37 per cent, and 47 per cent, respectively were revealed. Thus "the immediate effect of The war on pubbing was to stimulate it tremendously." This is attributed to "a general nervousness and fear of air raids . . . the extra strain necessitated extra relaxation." Again, there was more to talk about than usual, "and the pub. is, above all, a place where people get together and talk to one another in groups."
The same twelve licensed houses were again visited on Saturday, October 7th, 1939, and the number of customers was found still to be higher than on September, 1938, but only by 14 per cent. By the end of October, 1939 (Saturday, the 28th), "pub.-going had gone down to below normal, and a decrease of 15 per cent, on September, 1938, was shown." On December 2nd, 1939, a decrease of 12 per cent, was revealed, and of 13 per cent, on March 2nd, 1940. The final conclusion of Us is that people are drinking — in the Metropolis — rather less than usual. Here they are quite right. The survey also discloses that the proportion of women customers to men (before and after the war) on Saturday nights remained fairly stationary at 35 per cent, to 38 per cent.
One of the most interesting revelations of this survey — known though it be to brewers — is that the various phases of the war affect trade in licensed houses. The beginning of the war brought increased trade almost universally. But Us records that on Saturday, November 4th, an increase of 16 per cent, was shown in the customers of their twelve observation houses despite decreases in the previous weeks; that particular Saturday fell in the week when news was published of the massing of German troops along the Western Front from the North Sea to Switzerland, and people thought that the war might "flare up." Again — and this is our own observation and not that of Us — in the week when Germany invaded Norway and Denmark, and the stagnation of war went by the board, an appreciable increase in the trade of public-houses in the Metropolis was evidenced. A similar relationship between patronage of the licensed house and magnitude of war news has been evidenced since. We think Us has hit the nail on the head when it says—" There was more to talk about than usual, and the pub is, above all, a place where people can get together and talk to one another in groups."
"The Brewers' Journal 1940" pages 474 - 475. (Published June 19th, 1940.)
The first paragraph is revealing about the change in social habits during the 20th century. In the 19th century, there was bugger all for the working classes to do other than go down the pub. I love the way dog races is given equal ranking with the cinema, radio and football.
Counting the number of customers in a pub. Can you imagine having that job? Especially after the outbreak of war. I'd be scared of being suspected a spy. Why's that bloke in the corner writing stuff down?
After the declaration of war, at first more people went to the pub. Then rather less. No great surprise there. Nor that events in the war prompted more pub drinking. I'd want a few pints if I learned panzers were massing along the French border. I bet later in the war they discovered that nightly air raids were bad for pub business. Who wants to drink in a burning pub?
Women in pubs, women drinking. The media and researchers are still obsessed with these subjects. See how often items on binge drinking are accompanied by a photo of a pissed up woman sprawled on a city-centre pavement. 35 to 38% of Saturday night customers were women? I'm surprised it was that high. I'd thought pubs were still a male domain in much of the country. Oh hang, it's London they're on about. That sounds about right, then.