|It seems hard to imagine that by 1920, Prudent Boozers boasted close to a million members in myriad countries spanning the globe. Or that in those halcyon days, crowds would daily mob the Skirrid Inn in Wales to "Nurse the Third" at the same bar as Henry Nurse III, or to see the staircase Henry had tumbled down half a century earlier in the fall that led to his historic epiphany.
Equally inconceivable is that during Hollywood's Golden Years - the 1940s and 50s - beloved film stars from Cary Grant to David Niven were quietly joining PB chapters and Nursing the Third, which in retrospect many feel helped make that the quintessential era of urbane charm and wit.
The sad truth is that today PB is a movement on the verge of extinction. Once the 1960s Hippy Revolution ushered in the age of sex and drugs, prudent boozing became a lost art. Only a handful of PB chapters remain, operating in isolated pockets of Britain, Wales and on the west coast of America.
The PB Historical Society Museum, once a major tourist attraction, survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, and both World Wars, but it could not compete with the public's post-60s appetite for excess. By 1978,
when the movement reached its centenary, the number of weekly visitors had dropped to single digits.
In 1986, despite a valiant campaign by locals to save the museum, caretaker Arthur Gittens was forced to shutter the doors of this august institution for one last time. Much of the museum's once-exalted collection of PB
memorabilia was sold at a now-controversial auction, and the remainder is
now housed in a storage facility overseen by the Nurse Family Trust.
Most tourists who visit the Skirrid Mountain Inn nowadays have never heard of
Henry Nurse III and are drawn to the Abergavenny region instead by
its bucolic landscapes and stately churches. But the bar where Henry
nursed his third and the famous rickety staircase still exist.
LOUCHE BOOZING: AN EPIDEMIC
In a rare interview with Wine Spectator magazine in 2005, Henry Nurse
VI, the great grandson of PB's founder, attributed the movement's dip
in popularity to what he called "the prevailing all-or-nothing
mentality, where moderation is seen as dull, and boozers tend to
see-saw between messy benders and remorseful abstinence."
Recently, Tatler magazine similarly noted that "set against today's
binge-and-purge social climate, PB's quote-unquote 'wildly moderate'
Four Floor Program is remembered, if at all, as little more than a
quaint reminder of gentler times." The article went on to dismiss the
PB movement as "a well-intended fuddy duddy relic."
Striving to attain PB's Four Ideals - Dignity, Clarity, Pleasure and
Charm - may seem "quaint" to some, but we believe that the
world is ripe for a rampant wave of civility, and that is why we have
embraced our inner fuddy duddies and are on a campaign to spread the
word via this worldwide internet-website.
And so it is that we appeal to you, gentle reader, to join us on a
quest to save PB, to reject the hell-bent non-ethos of sloppy louche
boozing, and in so doing, to create a more congenial world and restore
the good name of prudent boozers everywhere.
THE FINE ART OF BOOZING
If PB's principles appeal to you, and you if wish to help us bring a
little class back to the art of boozing, we invite you to not only
join the movement, but to start a PB chapter in your workplace,
fraternity or neighborhood. The process is entirely free, requires
little to no exertion, and offers innumerable rewards, the Four Ideals
and a complete surfeit of hangovers among them. Details may be found
in the FAQ section of this worldwide website.