Office of the Carlisle Citizens' League, 88 English Street

From the outbreak of war the people of Carlisle, as in towns and cities up and down the country, donated money, or offered services or gifts to support the war effort. As in others areas, a Citizens' League was established in Carlisle following a meeting on 11 August 1914, only one week after the declaration of war.

“this meeting is of the opinion that a League of Citizens be formed to utilise the services of such citizens of the city as are desirous of assisting the authorities in any capacity in which their services are required”

Citizens' Leagues were made up of business people, local politicians and members of the clergy. They were tasked with overseeing and coordinating the many activities undertaken in the name of contributing to the war effort.

Some of the notable people of Carlisle involved in the League were, Sir Benjamin Scott, of Hudson Scott, Theodore and Bertram Carr, of the biscuit factory, James Morton of Morton Sundour and Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, a clergyman and local politician, who went on to be one of the co-founders of the National Trust.

Throughout the war the Citizens' League arranged fundraising drives, supporting soldiers and their dependants through collections, flag days and the selling of war bonds. The League also arranged provision of accommodation for refugees, munitions workers and armed forces personnel. The office on English Street functioned briefly as a recruiting office for the Lonsdale Battalion, before the establishment of the Recruiting Office on Devonshire Street. The Soldier’s Rest Room in Court Square was managed by the League to meet the needs of soldiers travelling through the city, changing trains at the Citadel Station. The Citizens' League was also instrumental in the establishment of the East Cumberland Shell Factory in 1915, in response to the Munitions Crisis. The members of this group were able to use their contacts and considerable influence in the city to generate support for large projects. 

At the end of the war, the League had been so successful in generating and collecting funds to assist the war effort that they were able to purchase Rickerby Park and install the cenotaph and Memorial Bridge, which stand to this day as testament to the sacrifices of Cumberland and Westmorland’s people.


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