Gin Lane

The second part of the series, Gin Lane, is a chaotic contrast to its counterpart. The street is crazed by their addictions to gin and are depicted as either mad, desperate or dead. The only exemption to this is the pawnbroker, who is the only character doing well from this. Surrounding him are the desperate - a carpenter selling his tools for money to buy alcohol and a women selling her pots and pans, leaving her incapable of providing food for herself and her family. This is also a reflection of the lack of work going on in the scene, a stark contrast to Beer Street. Gin leaves you highly intoxicated and dysfunctional thus unable to perform work. Instead people become reliant on gin and gin alone, selling the their work tools that are now uneeded to feed this starvation for the drink.

"The scene is set in the poverty-stricken area to the north of Covent Garden, identifiable by the tower of St George's, Bloomsbury in the background [ref]."

There is also a historical context to the piece. It was relevant at time as there was in fact an increasing reliance on gin, a strong alcohol originating in Holland. "Controls on consumption were lifted at the turn of the century and stills proliferated with the result that by 1750 more than one in six houses in this part of London sold gin. Gin was said to be responsible for a lowering of the birth rate and an increase in infant mortality and despite immigration to London the population began to fall. A campaign was launched in 1750 - of which this print was a part - led to the Gin Act of 1751 which introduced licensing of retail premises and finally reduced consumption."

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