Friday, 26 January 2018

Booze restrictions in Carlisle

Action was taken soon after the influx of construction workers to Carlisle.

The main features being a restriction in the hours of sale of alcohol, particularly of spirits.

"A delegation of the Board met the local authorities in conference, and without delay a drink-restriction Order was made for the Western Border Area. This came into force on November 22, 1915. It applied, on the English side of the Border, to the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and adjoining parts of Northumberland and Lancashire; on the Scottish side of the Border, to the counties of Kirkcudbright and Dumfries and neighbouring parishes in the county of Roxburgh. The Order placed the Board's customary scheme of restriction on this wide territory: the hours for the sale of drink were reduced to 5.5 daily for "on" and 4.5 for "off" trade; the "off" sale of spirits was limited to 2.5 hours per day, from Mondays to Fridays, with no "off" sale at all at the week-end; the "flask habit" condemned by the fixing of the reputed quart as the smallest quantity of spirits to be sold for "off" consumption; at railway refreshment rooms the "off" sale of spirits altogether forbidden; treating, credit-sales of liquor and the "long pull" prohibited; regulations against hawking were included; dilution of spirits permitted; and the bona fide traveller's privilege to buy liquor in closing hours cancelled. All these restrictions applied alike to registered clubs and licensed premises. Further, Carlisle and the parts of Cumberland adjacent to Scotland—where Sunday Closing was the law—were placed under complete Sunday Closing, so as to prevent an exodus in quest of drink from the Scottish to the English side of the Border on Sundays.

It should be emphasised that all these regulations were imposed by the Board within a few weeks of the first influx of labour. Critics of the State Purchase scheme have implied that the life of the district was allowed to drift into wild disorder. The fact is that if a policy of restriction would of itself have met the need, no disorder would have arisen; for the placing of restrictions on the area swiftly followed the first incoming of the navvies. It was the inadequacy of the Board's ordinary Plan of Control to meet the extraordinary local situation which impelled the Board to employ another method of grappling with a problem of unique acuteness and complexity."
"The Control of the Drink Trade" by Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1919, pages 201 - 202.
Some of the rules sound very Systembolaget. Like having to off sales of spirits at the weekend. Pretty sure they once had a minimum quantity rule for spirits in Sweden, too. I'm sure the Board would have been horrified by Germany today, where small bottles of spirits are often on the impulse shelves next to the tills and railway station kiosks sell all sizes of spirit bottles day and night.

But this was insufficient to quell the disorder, so even stricter measures were introduced:

"A. Further Restrictive Action
Over and above the normal restrictions of the Board, recounted a few pages back, the following restraints were placed on the liquor traffic throughout the State Purchase area—
1. Redundant and undesirable licences were suppressed; tlus included the suppression of all "grocers' licences."
2. Further restrictions were placed on the sale of spirits, viz.—
(1) Temporary Prohibition of the sale of spirits in houses near the National Factory.
(2) Institution of the "spirit-less Saturday."
(3) Reduction of the number of houses selling spirits for "off" consumption.
(4) Mixed drinking—i.e., the custom of drinking beer and spirits mixed — was checked.
3. The "on" sale of liquor to young persons under eighteen was forbidden, excepting the sale of beer served with a meal.
4. The display of liquor-advertisements on the fronts of licensed premises ceased.
5. Complete Sunday Closing was extended with each extension of the State Purchase area in Cumberland."
"The Control of the Drink Trade" by Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1919, page 208.
What fun Satuday nights in Carlisle must have been.

By grocer's licences they mean shops that sold both food and alcohol. The supermarkets would love it if that was reintroduced.

In a way, it's all pretty logical, trying to limit spirit drinking. That was always likely to cause the most problems. Labourers probably weren't used to earning enough to regularly drinks spirits.

The restrictions on external advertisements has a dramatic effect Here's one Carlisle pub before:

and after:

and today, when it's known as Gallagher's Irish Bar

Interesting that it's still basically retained the State Control look. Though there was a fracas in 2014 that sounds very late 1915, with workers from outside the area causing trouble.

Gallaghers Irish Bar
10 St Nicholas St,
Carlisle CA1 2EE, UK
Tel: +44 1228 597799

1 comment:

athelstanbrewery said...

Fascinating photographs. Was the grille across the corner entrance a feature of the restrictions too or was it just the time of day that the photograph was taken?