Title

W. Waters Butler and the Making of a Progressive Brewer in Britain, 1890-1922

Abstract

W. Waters Butler's career as a prominent Birmingham brewer fell into two distinct periods. In the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, he exhibited brewers' traditional conservatism, distrustful of governmental intentions and strongly averse to collaborating with any authorities. Participation in the government's Central Control Board from 1916 transformed him into a Progressive: he turned to the government, a key characteristic of Anglo-American Progressives, to achieve the long-sought goal of an orderly marketplace and imbibed a diverse reform agenda. Now, too, his attitudes exemplified the businessman as a Progressive reformer: he cared more about suppression of drunkenness than maximizing his company's beer sales; public esteem outranked in his mind the size of his company's profits; and his concern with restoring the pub's respectability demonstrated the emergence of a pronounced social conscience. In articulating a vision of a society in which all shared responsibility for restrained, disciplined, and orderly drinking, Butler became the quintessential Progressive businessman.

Department(s)

History

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1353/his.2015.0028

Publication Date

2015

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