Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews

They Nationalised our Pubs

In 1915, 30,000 men were employed to build a large munitions factory at Gretna. In order to control the excessive rise in drunkenness in Carlisle, Lloyd George’s government nationalised the public houses in Carlisle and sought to closely regulate the consumption of alcohol. It was a unique experiment in social engineering whereby the government attempted to change the leisure habits of the area’s working class. The experiment lasted for over fifty years.

Stephen Matthews curates the State Management Museum in Bookcase, which was once the headquarters of the scheme. He is also a bookseller, publisher and author. His recent books have included Beauty in the Lap of Horror, a study of the writings of early tourists in Borrowdale and Life of Josiah Relph, England’s First Dialect Poet. A detailed commentary on the journey which Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins made to Carlisle and Cumberland, A Lazy Tour of Cumberland, won the Lakeland Book of the Year in 2014.

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