Back in the 18th century, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in London. Of the two most popular past times – drunkenness and fornication – drowning one’s sorrows cost less and lasted longer.

Gin was the poison of choice, with as many as 1,700 distilleries keeping the capital pickled by the time the government passed the Gin Act of 1736. But their attempts to keep a lid on things only succeeded in driving production underground, giving rise to hundreds of illicit moonshine operations and drinking dens.

The most notorious of them all was known to dipsomaniacs far and wide as “Mother’s Ruin”, an old warehouse half a mile from the city.. .