Nationalised pubs in Enfield

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2017 by kmflett

Nationalised pubs in Enfield..

The Greyhound, Enfield Lock

Researching an article on beer and the General Election (which should be available shortly) I briefly revisited the Carlisle State Management Scheme. I suspect only those of a certain age and people who live in Carlisle will have heard of it now.

During World War One the Government became concerned in particular about the impact of drinking on arms manufacture. As a result in 1916 the Government took control of pubs and beer supply in three areas. By far the largest was Carlisle where several breweries were shut and the remaining one became a State controlled one. The same applied to pubs in the area.

The plan was not to stop drinking but to control it. The pub managers had no interest in maximising beer sales and rules were introduced to underline the point. Between 1916 and 1919 ‘treating’, the buying of rounds was not allowed for example.

However the beer quality was thought to be good, and numbers of the pubs were redesigned by Harry Redfern, an architect influenced by William Morris’s ideas on arts and crafts. The State Brewery made a profit in every year it operated. It was privatised by Heath’s Tory Government in 1973 and bought by an earlier incarnation of Theakstons.

Given the quality and strength of beer that was brewed under regulations brought in by the Defence of the Realm Act in 1914 the State Brewery was almost certainly an improvement, although, again, I dont yet have details of the strength of beer produced at Carlisle in the early years of the scheme.

A music hall song on post-1914 beer makes matters clear however:

Lloyd George’s Beer, Lloyd George’s Beer.

At the brewery, there’s nothing doing,

All the water works are brewing,

Lloyd George’s Beer, it isn’t dear.

Oh they say it’s a terrible war, oh law,

And there never was a war like this before,

But the worst thing that ever happened in this war

Is Lloyd George’s Beer.

Buy a lot of it, all they’ve got of it.

Dip your bread in it, Shove your head in it

From January to October,

And I’ll bet a penny that you’ll still be sober.

Another area of operation for the State Management Scheme was the area around the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock.

Four public houses and an off-licence were involved.  According to the interwebs, the premises returned to private ownership in 1922-3. Three of the four have been identified Greyhound, Royal Small Arms Tavern (Rifles)- currently boarded up- and Ordnance(demolished 1920s). The fourth is tentatively identified as the Plough Inn, Sewardstone (a McMullens pub still open).

The Greyhound is a going concern run by Hertford brewer McMullen who note that they have owned the pub since 1923.

Where the beer came from for the Enfield pubs I haven’t managed to establish, perhaps it was sourced from the Carlisle brewery, but so far I have no solid evidence on that. It appears that the canteen built at the factory, in part to keep workers away from eating in pubs, was run by the brewers Trumans. However I dont yet have more detail on that.

The idea of nationalised pubs in North London is an intriguing one.



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