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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Exhibition on Carlisle's unique pub history

It was a unique era of cheap drinks and early nights that is hoped will bring tourists flocking to Carlisle in their droves.

Tom Dodd photo
Tom Dodd, who helped organise the exhibition

The State Management Scheme, which ran in Carlisle and Gretna from 1916 until 1973, aimed to reduce drunkenness with locals and munitions workers by watering down beer, banning the buying of ‘rounds’ and paying landlords a fixed wage giving them no incentive so sell large quantities of alcohol.

Now, the city centre businessmen behind a new trail that will take people around the city’s historic drinking hotspots to find out more about the country’s longest running scheme have been giving a glimpse into their eagerly anticipated work.

They hope that the new project will attract more people to Carlisle.

The trail will involve a tour around each of the 16 pubs that are still in operation that traded during the state management days.

They officially launched the State Management Story project yesterday with a four-day exhibition of memorabilia including old bottles of beer and whisky, trophies from sporting contests involving the pubs and a vast collection of photographs.

The project has been coordinated by the Carlisle City Centre Business Group.

Secretary Viv Dodd said: “We were looking at ideas that were completely unique to Carlisle to get more visitors and get people talking about the city.

“This exhibition is just the start and we want there to be something in each of the 16 pubs that explain how they’ve changed and give a bit of history about the place.

“If there’s one thing that’s unique to Carlisle it is state management, so we think people from all over will be interested. Also because of the impact it had on the pub trade, such as showing sport and giving people something to do other than drinking, it is an important project.”

Mr Dodd also said those behind the project were appealing for more involvement from the public.

“This is just the first stage and we want people to come forward with their memories, photos or even bottles of whiskey. We want new ideas. What we would like to do in the long term is to recreate one of the old state management pubs and have that as a kind of living museum.”

Maps and other information will soon be appearing at different locations, such as the tourist information centre, around the city soon. A website, oral history and short stories project will also be launched in the coming months.

The exhibition is running in the Old Fire Station gymnasium until Monday between 11am and 5pm.

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