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Magpie Inn Public House, Carlisle

Description: Magpie Inn Public House

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 November 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1404909

OS Grid Reference: NY4212155708
OS Grid Coordinates: 342121, 555709
Latitude/Longitude: 54.8928, -2.9039

Locality: Carlisle
Local Authority: Carlisle City Council
County: Cumbria
Country: England
Postcode: CA1 2SL

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Listing Text


Public House, 1933 to designs by Harry Redfern for the Government Central Control Board.

Reason for Listing

* Architectural interest: a well designed and executed inter-war public house which achieves a high level of quality and design.;
* Historic Interest: one of a group of distinctive pubs in Carlisle designed by Harry Redfern for the Central Control Board.
* Planning: the pub retains its original layout which clearly distinguishes between, and caters for, different types of customer;
* Interior: for the level of survival and the good quality of its early 1930s decorative scheme.


During the First World War, the country's second largest munitions factory, employing 2,500 people, was built just to the north of Carlisle. This led to a considerable influx of residents with disposable income to Carlisle, and a significant boost to the liquor trade. Concerns over the effect of this on munitions and safety led to the establishment, in 1915, of a Government Central Control Board (GCCB) aimed at controlling the nation's drinking in times of war. The scheme proved successful with a considerable drop in drink-related convictions. In 1921, the State Management System took over the responsibilities of the GCCB and appointed Harry Redfern as their chief architect, and he produced schemes for the remodelling of existing public houses and designs for new 'improved houses'. His brief was to make Carlisle's pubs more attractive and family oriented, and less likely to encourage heavy drinking. The GCCB in Carlisle influenced the development of pub architecture throughout the country in the inter-war period. It had lofty aims, which sought to demonstrate the civilized and decent nature of its new premises, which were characterised by high quality and well executed interior design. The scheme, which heavily influenced England's licensing laws and pub culture, continued after the war and lasted for more than half a century before coming to an end in the early 1970s. Seven of Harry Redfern's pubs in Carlisle and district have listed status.

The Magpie Inn was built in 1933 to the designs of Harry Redfern. During the course of the C20 it underwent various minor alterations, and in 2010 it underwent restoration in an attempt to return it to its original state.


MATERIALS: the building is constructed of brick, painted white, with an unpainted brick plinth and modern roof tiles.

PLAN: occupying a corner site, the inn has a three-room plan, with a former veranda, overlooking a bowling green to the north and a service yard attached to the west.

EXTERIOR: Vernacular Revival in style with steeply pitched or low and sweeping roofs with several prominent tall brick chimneys with angled stacks.
Main (south) elevation has three bays and two storeys with an attic. The central bay has a partially blocked entrance (formerly leading to the off sales counter) and a main entrance to the left, leading into the public bar, flanked by four-light and 2-light flush windows. The first floor is blind beneath a pair of hipped roof dormers with applied wooden batons giving a half-timbered effect. The left, narrow end bay is a projecting gabled stair tower, largely blind with a flush tripartite first floor window. The wide right end bay has a ground floor flush five light window and at first floor level, a three light flush window flanked by a single light. At attic level, this bay also has a diamond shaped window. Attached to the left there is a single storey, flat roofed L-shaped service range, incorporating a bowls store, enclosing a small courtyard, entered via a round headed entrance. The east elevation comprises a single storey bay with a very low, sweeping roof incorporating a dormer window. Twin entrances porches, flanked by lavatories for men and women, give access into the smoking room and tea room respectively. The rear, north elevation replicates the main elevation in design with similar fenestration, dormer windows and a brick chimney stack, and has steps leading down to the bowling green.

INTERIOR: the main entrance gives entry to a public bar with a parquet floor, polished beamed ceiling and replacement fixed bench cushioned seating. There is a segmental pointed arched fireplace, with copper inset in the centre of the left wall and a former veranda along the north side. A door through the north wall leads into a gent's toilet with original urinals and a single panelled cubicle. The rectangular service area lies to the right, serving the bar and the former off sales. Its lower parts are enclosed by reproduction wooden panels and its upper parts by original glazed panels, and it has a copper topped bar counter. Wooden baffles are recent insertions. Immediately to the right of the main entrance is the small off-sales area with a glazed hatch to the service area and former door, now blocked with an inserted window and an original black and white tiled floor. To the right are the Smoking Room and Tea Room, separated by a corridor with black and white tiled floor, leading to separate entrances for each room; both of these rooms have replacement fixed seating, coved ceilings and are oak panelled throughout. Fireplaces in each room are copper and coloured tile with tiled hearths. The tearoom also has a separate service door leading from the service area. Each room opens onto the spinal corridor via double oak doors and the corridor itself is partially oak panelled and part glazed panelled. At the east end of the passage, there are women and men's toilets with some original fittings. The first floor of the inn is accessed via a simple wooden staircase from the south west corner of the public bar; an L-shaped corridor has access at intervals to a number of rooms, all with original doors and two have fireplaces, one of coloured tile.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.