New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of prohibition, c1921. Tom Marshall /

Prohibition in Colour

By Zoe Cassell

FANTASTIC photographs from the infamous Prohibition era in the early 20th Century have been brought to life in these stunning colourisations.

In one hilarious image a lady can be seen pulling a bottle of whisky from her bootleg while another beaming lady can be seen sneaking alcohol from a walking cane into her soda in an America café.

Policeman standing alongside wrecked car and cases of moonshine, 16th Nov 1922. Tom Marshall /

This incredible set of pictures were provided by the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington DC and dramatically brought to life after colourisation by British colourisation expert Tom Marshall.

After a thrilling chase through the busiest streets of Washington, a couple of bootleggers and their car come to grief at the hands of the Capitol police, 21st Jan 1922. Tom Marshall /

“I was asked to colourise these images of the Prohibition, perfectly capturing both the fashion and atmosphere of this fascinating chapter in American history,” said Tom.

A man carrying a case of “Four Roses” whiskey on his shoulder, possibly confiscated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Bureau. Tom Marshall /

“In January 1919 the American Congress passed the Eighth Amendment, outlawing alcohol and ushering in the infamous Prohibition era.”

Throughout the 1920s the state tried but failed to enforce the ban of alcohol throughout the States.

Bootleg’ – Woman putting flask in her Russian boot, Washington, D.C, 21st Jan 1922. Interesting to note the swastika floor tiles, a popular luck symbol throughout the world before the outbreak of WW2. Tom Marshall /

“Those who opposed the law found ever-creative ways to enjoy a drink,” Tom explained.

“Bootlegging was rampant, as were stores and clubs who secretly served liquor.

Stop when you see this sign. This is the new insignia plate the Bureau of Prohibition has adopted for use by prohibition agents in stopping suspected automobiles. In the photograph, from left to right, are; Prohibition Administrator Ames Woodcock, H.M. Lucious, secretary of the Automobile Club of Maryland, and Ernest M.Smith, vice- president of the A.A.A., 30th August 1925. Tom Marshall /

“These became known as ‘speakeasies’ since customers had to keep their voices down to avoid attracting police attention.”

These colourised images show ‘Prohibition agents’ and their official badge which was used to pull over suspicious automobiles during the Prohibition era.

Women and the ballot box: Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform. 1932. Tom Marshall /

The liquor ban ended in 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a new amendment which approved the manufacture and sale of beer and light wines.

Woman holding poster “Abolish Prohibition!” 1931. By now attitudes were beginning to change and many campaigned for prohibition to be repealed. Tom Marshall /

Later that year the Prohibition was completely abolished when a new amendment made the production and consumption of all alcohol legal again.

“One of the many factors that influenced this decision was the Great Depression which hit in 1930,” said Tom.

“The American government realised that they could make millions of dollars by taxing alcohol.”

Woman seated at a soda fountain table pouring alcohol into a cup from a cane, with a large Coca-Cola advertisement on the wall, 13th February 1922. Tom Marshall /