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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Plea to save historic Carlisle pubs

More must be done to protect pubs which are part of a licensing system with a unique place in history.

Adrian Hogarth photo
Adrian Hogarth

The calls have been made after it emerged that one of celebrated architect Harry Redfern’s Carlisle pubs is set to be demolished.

The Rose and Crown at Upperby was one of a clutch of pubs specifically designed by Mr Redfern as part of the state management scheme, which controlled pubs in the area.

It is now set to be cleared to make way for houses – prompting pleas to ensure other buildings designed by him do not go the same way.

Former Carlisle MP Eric Martlew, who has long championed for Carlisle’s State Management history to be given more recognition, said: “We should be protecting this and other Redfern buildings.

“My first election campaign was to stop the State Management Scheme being privatised.”

State Management was brought in as part of attempts to curb the drinking of those who worked at HM Factory Gretna, the massive World War One munitions factory that stretched from Longtown to the outskirts of Annan. Many of the workers lived in Carlisle.

The system, which also brought with it the government-controlled Carlisle Brewery, which weakened its beer strength, saw Mr Redfern drafted in to design distinctive pubs that encouraged people to take part in leisure activities such as bowling and billiards, to divert their attention from drinking.

Carlisle company Cumbrian Properties, which is behind the demolition plan for the Rose and Crown, insists that everything has been done to save the building, which has fallen into a derelict state. The firm says demolition is the safest option for the site.

But Mr Martlew, 64, who was Labour MP for Carlisle between 1987 and 2010, believes safeguards should be put in place to stop other buildings going the same way.

He believes a better model for saving Mr Redfern’s pubs would be that proposed for another of his establishments, the Horse and Farrier on Wigton Road.

City councillors have approved proposals for a 4,350sq ft Tesco supermarket on the adjoining bowling green.

Planning permission will be confirmed once the store signs an agreement to restore and repair the Grade II-listed building, and market it as a pub for six months.

A Tesco spokesman confirmed this week that this was still the company’s intention.

Mr Martlew, who lives in a former State Management brewery site at Caldewgate in Carlisle, said: “That’s the sort of solution that would be sensible.

“We don’t make enough of the State Management Scheme. It was unique.

“I’m saddened to think that the Rose and Crown could be knocked down and I don’t know if anything could be done to protect it,” he added.

But Adrian Hogarth, of Cumbrian Properties, said: “It’s an eyesore and the longer it’s left as it is the more of an eyesore it will become.

“Every attempt has been made to do something with the property, but it’s being vandalised by people who are breaking in and it’s being destroyed.”

Mr Hogarth also provided the The Cumberland News with a letter from English Heritage which said that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport had decided not to add the pub to a the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Mr Redfern’s legacy includes a series of pubs dotted across Carlisle and the border. They include the Coach and Horses at Kingstown, The Redfern Inn, Etterby, and the building that is now The Andalusian – the former Crescent Inn – on Warwick Road, as well as the former Graham Arms pub at Eastriggs.

There is also the recently-refurbished Magpie, in Botcherby, which has been revamped inside – to much praise – to reflect its roots.

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