Central Control Board, 19 Castle Street

The Defence of the Realm Act 1914 enabled the government to take control of buildings, businesses and land needed for the war effort. What became known as the State Management Scheme, was introduced in 1916 and was one of the longest lasting impacts of the Great War in Carlisle. Under the Defence of the Realm Act the government was able to build a strong argument that it was necessary for the supply of alcohol in Carlisle and Gretna to be controlled. The argument suggested that drunkenness amongst the Irish navvies working on the HM Gretna munitions factory was detrimental to their war work.

The influx of workers to the city had increased instances of drunkenness in the city, reaffirming the beliefs of the active Temperance Movement who had for many years been calling for the stricter controls on alcohol consumption. The introduction of State Management later became known as ‘the Carlisle Experiment’ and was an opportunity to test the impact of government control in a civic area. The public houses, hotels and breweries were taken over and a policy of ‘disinterested management’ was introduced, whereby the managers of the establishments earned a wage, regardless of their profit. Age restrictions for the sale of alcohol were introduced for the first time, and a strict set of rules were put in place so that managers did not permit drunkenness. Food and pub games were introduced and a new style of pub was designed to accommodate more sociable and family friendly drinking.

The Carlisle Experiment was co-ordinated by the Central Control Board, later known as Carlisle and District State Management Scheme.   The Central Control Board established its headquarters at 19 Castle Street, the offices of the scheme would remain in this building until it ended in 1973.


To find out more about some of Carlisle's other Great War sites, return to map