|Despite reports to the contrary, not everyone welcomed the PB movement as it gained a toehold in London at the turn of the century. Certainly, the public and officials alike were delighted to see the city's then-notorious crime rate drop as Londoners began to Nurse the Third. So too did they welcome the resulting spike in birthrates, cheekily deemed "performance-related" by the London press. But local tavern owners instead saw the movement as a direct threat to their bottom line.
One such innkeeper, Spencer McCoy, retaliated by forming his own rival drinker's movement called the "Dashing Drunks," or "DD." No record of DD appears before 1899, though McCoy claimed that the movement formed in 1877, one year before Nurse III created PB.
McCoy, the owner of The Black Lamb in Shoreditch, was notorious in pub circles for "cutting", or watering down, the liquor he sold, and for giving troublemakers a "Black Lamb Sandwich," or holding them down and sitting on their head as he sipped his beer for hours at a stretch.
In a direct parody of the PB movement, McCoy gave the Dashing Drunks the motto: "Down Your Dozen, and Nurse the 13th!"
Despite his unsavory reputation, DD gained immediate favor after McCoy cleverly convinced a consortium of local tavern owners to join forces by offering half-price drinks to anyone choosing to order their beverage "By the baker's dozen."
McCoy also stoked anti-PB sentiment by plastering London with street posters (left) that promoted the Dashing Drunks by beseeching pub-goers to "Drink to Her Majesty!" The posters implied that any person who consumed less than 13 drinks was showing disrespect to the Queen and was therefore guilty of treason. Ironically, it was rumored that Queen Victoria was in fact a Nurser of the Third.
McCoy, an early master of public relations, also disseminated thousands of pamphlets that questioned the masculinity of Prudent Boozers, describing them as "effeminete toffs who cannot hold there liquor (sic)." One brochure brazenly asked, "Are you man enouf to join DD (sic)!"
The DD movement gradually faded into obscurity after McCoy died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 46 in 1912. Autopsy records indicate that his liver had swollen to three times its original size.
McCoy's liver remains on permanent display at the Royal College of Physicians in London. The Black Lamb tavern passed through various hands and underwent myriad refurbishments until 1975 when it closed and became a women's community center.