The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was introduced soon after the outbreak of war on 8 August 1914. The act was intended to give the government more powers to help the war effort and was expanded multiple times during the conflict.
During the course of the war, DORA developed to include restrictions on lighting and press censorship. British Summer Time was introduced under the act to increase the working hours in the day. One of the strangest restrictions came under the ‘no treating order’ which made it an offence for someone to buy a round of drinks for other people in a pub. This was a response to claims that drunkenness was damaging the war effort.
Lighting restrictions were strictly enforced in Doncaster in October 1915. The Doncaster Chronicle called this ‘A night of Grease, Grime and Gloom’ and described how people were falling over and injuring themselves as the street lights had been turned off under the restrictions. The newspaper told the story of a woman going into a shop on Baxter Gate, putting a jug on the counter and asking for a pint. Unfortunately, in the darkness, she had mistaken a retail shop for her favourite pub.