A trip down memory lane: Rare footage of Carlisle unearthed

Never before seen footage showing the transformation of Carlisle in the late 1980s has been released online.

This rare footage, given to Cumbria Film Archive, shows the hustle and bustle of life on English Street before a council scheme transformed the heart of the city.

Andrew Leitch, from Cumbria Film Archive, said: "It was a was a thorough-fair of traffic and buses; it really was a busy road and it was decided to be pedestrianised the city centre. One of the officials from the city council - a chap called Bryce Fulton - was given the job of chronicling it all on video."

In the late 1980s and early 90s, the city council undertook a number of ambitious schemes that transformed the heart of the city. 

The centre was pedestrianised - with worn tarmac torn up and replaced with red brick. A new one way system was introduced and statues were relocated.

"The logistics were very difficult," said Andrew. "Because what we had to do was bring mature trees in and that was difficult because they had to pull them in and put them up.

"People are enjoying them now to make the city centre more aesthetically pleasing.

"But the other big thing they had to do as well was to move one of the main statues. There's a chap on English Street called James Steel - he was the editor of the Carlisle journal and twice mayor of the city. But he couldn't stay where he was so the whole statue had to be moved and is now just outside Marks and Spencers."

Andrew usually travels around the county showcasing the archive footage, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, he decided to put the footage online for anyone to watch.

He said: "They can just watch it and there we are we're back thirty years. So for the older generations, it's really taking them back in time and a trip down memory lane.

"For a younger generation, it's a brand new look at the city of how it was."

Whether you remember it or not, this rare film reel will transport anyone back to a time when so much was changing.