A piece of Carlisle's sporting and cultural history is being restored. The city will soon have a working pub bowling green for the first time in years.

The disused green at The Magpie Inn on Victoria Road, Botcherby, was this week dug up and the ground reseeded. It is hoped that the new green will be ready for use by late summer.

Many Carlisle pubs used to have bowling greens but most have been concreted over. It is thought that The Magpie's is one of only three that remain.

The green at The Redfern Inn in Etterby survives but has not been used for years. In 2016 planning permission was granted to build houses on it.

There is a green at The Horse and Farrier on Wigton Road but the pub has been closed since 2007. Last week businessman Richard Berry announced plans to transform it into a gastro pub. His £1.5m plan would see the bowling green become a children's play area.

That leaves The Magpie. Like The Horse and Farrier, it was designed by architect Harry Redfern as part of Carlisle’s State Management Scheme. The Redfern Inn was named in honour of the architect and designed in his style.

Redfern pubs offered other attractions as well as alcohol in a bid to discourage binge-drinking, which is why several had bowling greens.

The Magpie opened in 1933. It had been closed for two and a half years when current managers George and Laura Parsons reopened it in January 2016.

"We think it's about 10 years since the green was used," says Laura. "We always wanted to bring it back into use. George has been cutting it for the past two years but weeds had taken over. It had to be dug up so we could start again.

"Weather depending, it could be ready towards the end of the bowls season in August or September. The main thing is getting it ready for next year. We hope it will bring people in. It's something for the community of Carlisle."

This week's work has been undertaken by Turfcare Specialists of Consett, County Durham. Laura says many Magpie regulars are looking forward to using the green. "A lot of people have said they or family members used to play on it and it would be great if it came back.

"A lot of customers have said they're getting bowls for Christmas. People in the bar are already challenging each other to games."

The pub's owner, Yorkshire-based Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery, is financing this week's work. George and Laura will then pay for the green's upkeep. They are seeking sponsors to help pay for maintenance equipment. An evening with a magician is the first of several fundraising events, on Saturday March 24. Tickets cost £5, which includes food.

"We've organised a committee and a work team for the green," says Laura. "People are very enthusiastic about it. It's a good mix of ages. We have a couple of customers that play out of different bowling teams and we'll start a team here."

The green has a ramp for disabled access and is larger than most greens. Laura says they may use part of it for croquet. "Croquet is very popular these days. We could section part of it off to do that as a bit of fun."

The Parsons are keen to encourage local school children to try bowling. Chris Wilkins, headteacher of nearby St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School, is happy to oblige.

He says: "I think it's an excellent resource for the community and for the school. Bowls has been around since the 13th century. People don't realise how historically important it is. Henry II banned it because he thought it was going to take over from archery and they needed that for war. We'd like the chance to find out more about bowling and, through that, find out more about history.

"And also to have a go at it. It's always good for them to be out in the open air. It's the sort of thing that can help them interact with people from different generations."

The State Management Scheme was introduced by the government during the First World War in a bid to stop munitions workers from Gretna flooding into Carlisle to binge-drink.

The city's pubs were made more civilised. In some cases this included adding bowling greens. Games such as dominoes and darts were also promoted and buying rounds was prohibited.

Even though the war ended in 1918, State Management continued in Carlisle until 1973 and pubs were built under the scheme until 1971.

The fact that it made a profit for the government every year is widely regarded as one reason for its longevity.

Viv Dodd, secretary of Carlisle City Centre Business Group, has long campaigned for the city to celebrate its unique pub culture history.

"I'm delighted that The Magpie's bowling green is coming back," he says. "It was the plan that if people played darts or bowls or whatever, they didn't drink as much. And it seemed to work in the early days.

"It was part of a package: providing food, and encouraging 'respectable' women into pubs, were also seen as things which slowed drinking down."

Other Harry Redfern-designed pubs which had bowling greens include The Rose and Crown in Upperby and The Black Lion at Durdar.

The Near Boot and The Turf Tavern were among the existing pubs which had bowling greens added as part of Redfern redesigns.