A massive experiment in social engineering

At the height of World War 1 the British Government embarked on one of the biggest social engineering experiments ever conducted: The State Management Scheme.

In an attempt to curb the enthusiasm of Carlisle’s drinking classes many pubs and breweries were shut down. Subsequently, those left were managed by civil servants. Its effects changed not only local drinking habits but British society at large.

New pubs designed by Harry Redfern

Under the State Management Scheme, an entirely new approach to drinking and recreation was invented. New pubs were designed by the renowned architect Harry Redfern, and games and other recreations were incorporated into the pub atmosphere.

The Spinners Arms, Cummersdale

The inspiration for the Carlisle Brewing Company was born in The Spinners Arms, a small but decorative Harry Redfern pub. It’s been described as a ‘gentleman’s retreat’. Although, now altered to be a one room pub, it originally had three distinct rooms – a bar (men only), a smoking room and a tea room or lounge (where 1 penny would be added onto the cost of your pint for table service!). The pub still has plenty of original features from mirrored alcoves to some of the original wood panelling, original doors to decorative guttering.

An explosive mix of drunkenness and chaos

Navvies from the largest munitions factory in Europe, near Gretna, flooded into Carlisle with high wages and a thirst to quench. Their eagerness to binge drink had the pubs packed to the rafters. Carlisle witnessed a level of wild behaviour that shocked locals. Also, munitions workers with hangovers and explosives was not a great combination.

The government stepped in and took over the running of Carlisle's pubs and off-licences. The strength of the alcohol was reduced and opening hours were restricted.

100 years since the start of the State Management Scheme

This year marks the centenary of the SMS where Carlisle will be hosting events and celebrations through the year.

We're proud to be part of Carlisle's rich brewing history

Through our ownership of The Spinners Arms, and the birth of The Carlisle Brewing Company, we're proud to be part of the State Management Scheme story. We hope our passion for traditional ales can play a part in reviving Carlisle's heritage as a famous brewing city.


For further information about the State Management Scheme, please visit: