The State Management Scheme was introduced into Carlisle and the surrounding area in 1916 as an attempt by the Government to control the drinking habits of the people in the area and reduce drunkenness during the First World War.
Navvies from the Gretna munitions works, the largest munitions factory in Europe, flooded into Carlisle with high wages and a thirst to quench. Once the factory was built, large numbers of young female workers were also employed as munition workers. Problems with drunken navvies had been one of the reasons for state control with wild behaviour shocking the respectable citizens of Carlisle. Hung over munition workers and explosives do not mix so the need for control was even greater.
As World War I raged, 1916 saw the cause of Irish Nationalism explode into bloody conflict on Dublin’s streets. Many navvies were Irishmen. Could rebellion spread to Britain? Alcohol was to be curbed to dampen revolutionary fire.
The government took over the ownership and running of Carlisle’s pubs, hotels and off licenses, many were closed immediately and a whole new approach to drinking took place. All managers were civil servants and had to follow strict rules. The strength of alcohol was reduced, opening and closing times were restricted and the whole atmosphere was changed.
Table bowls - Malt Shovel v Green Dragon
Managers were encouraged to serve food and a number of Food Taverns were opened. Games such as dominoes and darts were promoted, “respectable women” were urged to visit pubs in the belief that all these alterations would encourage sensible drinking and less drunkenness. In some of the new pubs, bowling greens were built, again to discourage excessive drinking.
State Management in Carlisle lasted until 1973 and saw many changes in that period. Notable buildings were designed by the architect Harry Redfern under the scheme's tenure. All such measures were to change the image of drinking, not just in Carlisle but throughout the country.
Some of the pubs that traded during the State Management Scheme are still trading to this day. Others have changed hands and/or names over the years. At the bottom of this page is a gallery showing many of the Carlisle pubs that were involved:
Situated on Castle Street, what is now Bookcase bookshop was once home to the State Management Control Board. Cakes and Ale Café, which forms part of Bookcase, is also home to a permanent exhibition about the scheme.
For full details on the State Management Story, a pub trail, before and after images and lots more, visit The State Management Story Website
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