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The Invergordon Archive

SMD Labels
The Invergordon Archive
SMD Labels

I thought these labels would bring back memories for some.

SMDs (State Management Districts) were set up by the U.K. Parliament under the Defence of the Realm (Liquor Control) Regulations of 1915, in two districts in Scotland: Cromarty Firth and Gretna. Two were also set up in England: Carlisle and Enfield Lock.
State control of licensed premises (pubs and alcohol sales) was established in order to deal with the ‘special war conditions’. At the time Invergordon was of course a huge naval base. Crews would come ashore in their thousands and the Government wanted to curtail excessive drinking and rough behaviour.
After the end of the war, in 1921, the inertia of the Government machine resulted in the Licensing Act, 1921, in which the regulations were continued in force in the two English districts, under the control of the Home Secretary, and in the two Scottish districts, under the control of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
So here in the Cromarty Firth such State Management began at the beginning of the First World War and didn't end until 1972. As a result there was nowhere one could get a drink or buy a bottle away from the government outlets and Invergordon even bottled their very own whisky called 'Rare Old' and other spirits - the labels show Annan and Invergordon, Annan covering the SMD for Gretna.
Picture added on 26 January 2014 at 11:34
picture #94 (Royal Hotel, Invergordon) has some very interesting comments regarding the SMD in Invergordon and in particular about the bottling facility at the back of the Royal Hotel where 'Rare Old' was prepared.
Added by Malcolm McKean on 27 January 2014
My father worked for the 'Control' as it was known locally. He spent around 10 years in the Novar Arms and then moved to the Station Alness where he remained long after the SMD ending in '72. I still have a bottle of Rare Old, unopened !!!
Added by David Bremner on 27 January 2014
I believe the beer for Invergordon was made in Carlisle as the same brew was presumably supplied to Gretna. In my experience beer from North of England is the best in the UK so lucky old Invergordon. As mentioned above the only Off Licence in town was known as the "control".
Added by Bill Geddes on 21 August 2014
David, how are you - long tome no see. You must be due for retirement next year, are you. I was 65 on 01 July but intend to keep working for 2/3 more years. I remember the Control well. My Grande used to go down from Inverbreakie to the "Comm" every Saturday night with his faithful collie Lassie at his side. If I remember correctly it used to close at either 9 or 9.30pm

Added by John Fraser on 24 August 2014
Morning John. Yes long time no see indeed. I have just retired after 42 years in Tain R A. Final 16 alongside your old acquaintance Mike S from Kildary. I beat you to 65 by 4 days but wasn't up for continuing at the education factory. Yes I think the pubs did close around that time back then. The control had the Royal, Caley and Comm in Invergordon as well as the off licence 2 doors east of the Comm. I used to work the 2 weeks holidays for Hugh Sutherland during my summer hols from college as part of my summer with the control working in the store behind the Royal. Happy days!!!
Added by David Bremner on 25 August 2014
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