NY4055 : The Kings Head

taken 3 years ago, near to Carlisle, Cumbria, England

The Kings Head
The Kings Head
The Kings Head is reputed to be the oldest hostelry in the City of Carlisle. The present building dates from the 17th Century, but is understood to be on a site which has been occupied by a hostelry as far back as the 10th century.

During World War I thousands of workers were drafted in to build and work for the massive munitions depot at Gretna. The growth of drunkenness was gradual at first but by the spring of 1916 disorder had spread to such an extent "as to threaten and undermine the ordinary social life of the City",

Lloyd George fearing riots would take place as in Ireland at the time introduced the Liquor Control Board. This scheme was thought to be temporary, but become known as The Carlisle Experiment and was to last 55 years. In October 1916 the running of The Kings Head was taken over by the said Liquor Control Board.

With The Licensing Act of 1921 the Control Board was abolished and The Carlisle and District State Management Scheme evolved to take over the City's pubs. The Kings Head being acquired by the State Management in 1922.

On 25th May 1971 a bill to abolish the State Management Scheme was presented to Parliament. The move was generally welcomed. In early 1971 the State Management began the selling-off of the County pubs, The Kings Head being acquired by John Smiths on 7th May 1973. In 1984 the present owners purchased The Kings Head at which time the premises were extensively redecorated.

Pub website:LinkExternal link

NY4055 : Sign of The Kings Head at Carlisle.

Note: Photograph is for record purposes only. The photographer has no personal connection with the business depicted.
The State Managed Pubs & Breweries of Carlisle and District :: NY4459

To supply munitions for the Great War, a huge complex was constructed north of Carlisle. Starting in the autumn of 1915, some 10-12,000 “navvies” built a glycerine plant at Dornock between Eastriggs and Annan, while a distilled ether plant was erected between Mossband and Longtown. Eventually stretching some 7 miles long by 2 miles deep with 17 miles of perimeter fencing, at its peak it employed some 20,000 people – mainly women but with a considerable number of male construction workers.
Unfortunately, the influx of “navvies” gave rise to serious drunkenness problems in the City of Carlisle. While Carlisle had some 120 licensed premises in 1916, many were small, one-roomed affairs which simply could not cope with the crowds. Also, the local Constabulary were greatly pressed, with 953 convictions for drunkenness in 1916 (compared with 250 in 1914/15). In addition, there was concern a “tired and emotional” worker could accidentally reduce the area to a very large hole in the ground!
The Government’s answer was to “nationalise” all the pubs and breweries in Carlisle, a process begun in July 1916 and which quickly extended out to Longtown in the east and Maryport in the south-west. Pubs around Gretna and Eastriggs were also included. All were under the control of a local Board, based at 19 Castle Street, Carlisle (now a bookshop), which imposed strict opening hours, a maximum (and very low) alcoholic content for beer and spirits, and a ban on “treating” (buying a round for your mates).
Many old or inadequate pubs were quickly closed. But the scheme did not end with the cessation of hostilities on 11 November 1918, with the last pub – the White Swan in Wigton – only being acquired in January 1921. Indeed, Government control of these pubs and breweries continued until 1971, with return to private ownership not completed until 1973.
As the Scottish pubs soon moved to the control of a local Board, this Shared Description is intended to cover only the pubs and breweries purchased by the Scheme in what is now north-west Cumbria, or built in the years 1916-1971 – or what may now be found on the site (if anything). Many have closed – some have been demolished and some are under new developments or even roads! But there is one excellent book on the subject – “The Carlisle State Management Scheme” by the late Olive Seabury (Bookcase – 2007 – currently out of print), while “Carlisle Breweries and Public Houses 1894-1916” by Steven Davidson (P3 Publications – 2004 – also out of print) is a very useful starting point. Also, the web sites: “The State Management Story” LinkExternal link (not regularly updated) and Wikipedia at: LinkExternal link

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Gerald England and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Business, Retail, Services City, Town centre Date: 1971 1973 1984 Brewer: John Smiths other tags: Street Scene Pub Public House Carlisle State Management Scheme Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Carlisle [934] · Photograph is for Record [195] · Building [189] Other Photos: · Sign of The Kings Head at Carlisle ·
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
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NY4055, 1352 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Gerald England   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Saturday, 11 September, 2021   (more nearby)
Friday, 29 October, 2021
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 4003 5599 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:53.7017N 2:56.1940W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 4004 5597
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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