City of Carlisle

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City of Carlisle
Carlisle Council Offices.jpg
Carlisle Civic Centre in Rickergate
Carlisle City Council - coat of arms.jpg
"Be Just and Fear Not"
Carlisle UK locator map.svg
Carlisle shown within Cumbria
Coordinates: 54°53′27″N2°56′38″W / 54.89083°N 2.94389°W / 54.89083; -2.94389 Coordinates: 54°53′27″N2°56′38″W / 54.89083°N 2.94389°W / 54.89083; -2.94389
Sovereign state Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Country Flag of England.svg England
Ceremonial county Cumbria
Historic county Cumberland
Admin HQ Carlisle
Non-metropolitan district status1 April 1974
City status1 April 1974
  Type City
  Governing bodyCarlisle City Council
   MPs: John Stevenson, Neil Hudson
  Total1,039.97 km2 (401.53 sq mi)
 (mid-2019 est.)
  Total108,678 (Ranked 221st)
97.6% White
0.9% South Asian
0.6% Mixed
0.2% Black
0.5% Chinese or Other
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
ONS code 16UD (ONS)
E07000028 (GSS)
OS grid reference NY394555

The City of Carlisle ( /kɑːrˈll/ kar-LYLE, locally /ˈkɑːrll/ KAR-lyle [1] ) is a local government district of Cumbria, England, with the status of a city and non-metropolitan district. It is named after its largest settlement, Carlisle, but covers a far larger area which includes the towns of Brampton and Longtown, as well as outlying villages including Dalston, Scotby and Wetheral. In 2011 the district had a population of 107,524, [2] and an area of 1,039.97 square kilometres (402 sq mi). [3]


The current city boundaries were set as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, and cover an amalgamation of two former local government districts, the City and County Borough of Carlisle and the Border Rural District of Cumberland. [4] The City of Carlisle shares a border with Scotland (to the north), and is bounded on the southwest by the borough of Allerdale, and on the south by the district of Eden. The county of Northumberland is to the east.

Although the present boundaries date to the 20th century, the city traces its origins to a 1st-century Roman outpost associated with Hadrian's Wall. The Brythonic settlement that expanded from this outpost was destroyed by the Danes in 875. Thereafter the region formed part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland, until colonised under King William II of England in 1092. William II built Carlisle Castle, which houses a military museum. Carlisle Cathedral, founded in the 12th century, is one of the smallest in England.

A border city, and the third most northerly city in England, Carlisle predominantly spans the flood plain of the River Eden. Commercially, it is linked to the rest of England via the M6 motorway, and to the Scottish Lowlands via the A74(M) and M74 motorways.


Following both the Local Government Act 1888 and Local Government Act 1894, local government in England had been administered via a national framework of rural districts, urban districts, municipal boroughs and county boroughs, which (apart from the latter which were independent), shared power with strategic county councils of the administrative counties. [5] The areas that were incorporated into the City of Carlisle in 1974 had formed part of the Border Rural District from the administrative county of Cumberland, and the politically independent County Borough of Carlisle.

After the exploration of reform during the mid-20th century such as the proposals made by the Redcliffe-Maud Report in the late 1960s, the Local Government Act 1972 restructured local government in England by creating a system of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties and districts throughout the country. [6] The act formally established the City of Carlisle as a local government district of the new shire county of Cumbria on 1 April 1974. The new dual local authorities of Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council had been running since elections in 1973 however. [7] The leading article in The Times on the day the Local Government Act came into effect claimed that the "new arrangement is a compromise which seeks to reconcile familiar geography which commands a certain amount of affection and loyalty, with the scale of operations on which modern planning methods can work effectively". [8]


Parliamentary constituencies

The residents of the City of Carlisle are represented in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom by members of parliament (MPs) for two parliamentary constituencies. At the 2019 general election, Conservative Party MPs won the seats of Carlisle and Penrith and The Border, John Stevenson and Neil Hudson respectively.


In 1974, Carlisle City Council was created to administer the newly formed non-metropolitan district, which shares power with the strategic Cumbria County Council. The council offices are located in Carlisle, at the Civic Centre. The Labour Party controlled the council for much of the first 25 years and from 1979 to the 1999 election had an overall majority. [9] Until 2003 the Conservative Party then controlled the council with a majority, and from the 2003 elections they ran the council with no majority, but in alliance with the Liberal Democrats. [4] At the 2012 election Labour gained a majority of the seats, which they held until the 2019 local election when the Conservative Party retook the council with the backing of the one Liberal Democrat, one UKIP councillor, and an Independent. [10] In May 2021, three city council by-elections took place, triggered by the departure of three Labour councillors, that resulted in two Conservative gains from Labour. [11]

Party political make-up of Carlisle City Council
  PartySeats [12] Current Council (2021)
  Conservative 19                                      
  Labour 13                                      
  Independent 4                                      
  Green Party 1                                      
  Lib Dems 1                                      

Electoral wards

There are 39 councillors representing the electoral wards of the City of Carlisle. Together they form the Carlisle City Council. Councillors are elected and accountable to the residents of their wards.

Ward names [13] Population [14] Councillors' party
Belah & Kingmoor6,8842 Conservatives, 1 Green
Botcherby & Harraby North8,7283 Independents
Brampton & Fellside7,8772 Conservatives, 1 Independent
Cathedral & Castle9,8393 Labour
Currock & Upperby9,4472 Labour, 1 vacant
Dalston & Burgh6,4242 Conservatives, 1 Liberal Democrat
Denton Holme & Morton South8,2393 Labour
Harraby South & Parklands8,5261 Conservative, 2 Labour
Longtown & the Border7,5393 Conservatives
Newtown & Morton North9,4371 Conservative, 2 Labour
Sandsfield & Morton West8,6792 Conservatives, 1 Labour
Stanwix & Houghton8,6323 Conservatives
Wetheral & Corby7,2373 Conservatives


Civil parishes form the bottom tier of local government in England; parish councils are consulted on planning applications and commonly manage some local services, such as allotments, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, and commons. [15] The City of Carlisle is almost entirely parished, the exception being the central settlement of Carlisle—an unparished area. As of 2008, there were 36 civil parishes in the city, covered by 34 parish councils, which are: [16]

  1. Arthuret
  2. Askerton
  3. Beaumont
  4. Bewcastle
  5. Brampton
  6. Burgh by Sands
  7. Burtholme
  8. Carlatton and Cumrew
  9. Castle Carrock and Geltsdale
  10. Cummersdale
  11. Cumwhitton
  12. Dalston
  13. Farlam
  14. Hayton
  15. Hethersgill
  16. Irthington
  17. Kingmoor
  1. Kingwater
  2. Kirkandrews-on-Esk
  3. Kirklinton Middle
  4. Midgeholme
  5. Nether Denton
  6. Nicholforest
  7. Orton
  8. Rockcliffe
  9. St Cuthbert Without
  10. Scaleby
  11. Solport and Stapleton
  12. Stanwix Rural
  13. Upper Denton
  14. Walton
  15. Waterhead
  16. Westlinton
  17. Wetheral
   Unparished area of Carlisle

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Carlisle City Council Carlisle City Council - coat of arms.jpg
The coat of arms of Carlisle City Council

The coat of arms of Carlisle City Council are those granted to the city council of the County Borough of Carlisle by the College of Arms on 7 July 1924. These arms are derived from more ancient designs of or relating to Carlisle and its governance. [17]

The city council's coat of arms are emblematic of the city's history. The arms incorporate a golden shield with a red cross, upon a green mount, surmounted by a mural crown, relating to Carlisle's history as an ancient walled city. This is supported by two red wyverns—legendary dragons used in heraldry—their wings strewn with golden roses, with reference to the city's Brythonic history. The motto beneath the arms comes from Thomas Wolsey's speech to Thomas Cromwell, in Shakespeare's play, Henry VIII : [17] Be just and fear not.


The City of Carlisle is located at the extreme north of North West England. It encompasses Cumbria's county town, Carlisle, and its surrounding rural hinterland, [18] which together total 1,039.97 square kilometres (402 sq mi), [3] making the city the largest in England by area. Although 70% of the city's 100,750 people live in central Carlisle, 98% of the city's land use is rural. [18] The city is traversed by several major rivers, including the Caldew, Eden, and Petteril, and is bisected by the M6, A74(M) motorways. [19]

Along the City of Carlisle's northern extent is the Solway Firth, which forms the western section of the Anglo-Scottish border, and thus divides the city from Dumfries and Galloway, one of the council areas of Scotland. To the east is the English county of Northumberland; to the south is the district of Eden and to the west and south-west the borough of Allerdale, both in the county of Cumbria.

Much of the city spans the flood plain of the River Eden resulting in large parts of the district being vulnerable to flooding. [20] [21] Two further tributaries, the Petteril and Caldew nearly surround the historic walled centre.

Carlisle experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb).

Climate data for Carlisle
Average high °C (°F)7
Average low °C (°F)3
Average precipitation mm (inches)63.3
Source: [22]


Carlisle compared
2001 UK Census Carlisle [23] Cumbria [24] England
Total population100,739487,60749,138,831

At the 2011 UK census, the City of Carlisle had a total population of 107,524. [25] 46.8% of the residents over the age of 16 were married or in a registered same-sex civil partnership, 11.9% were co-habiting couples, and 41.2% were not living in a couple.

In 1841, 15.7% of Carlisle's population was middle class compared to 14% in England and Wales; this increased to 18.9% in 1931 (15% nationally) and 35.7% in 2001 (48% nationally). Carlisle's proportion of working-class people increased slowly from 1841 to 1931, changing from 33.0% to 37.9 while the national average changed from 37% to 36% in the same period. Since 1931 it has fallen and risen again to 34.0% in 2001 (26% nationally). The rest of the population was made up of clerical workers and skilled manual workers. [26] [27]

Population change

The table below details the population change since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Although the City of Carlisle has existed as a district since 1974, figures have been generated by combining data from the towns, villages, and civil parishes that would later be constituent parts of the city.

Population growth in City of Carlisle since 1801
Source: 1801–2001: Vision of Britain, [28] 2011: ONS [29]


At the 2011 UK census, 69.1% of Carlisle's residents reported themselves as Christian, 22.9% had no religion and 6.8% did not state any religion. Other religions were very scantly represented with 0.4% of residents Muslim, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.2% Hindu and 0.3% had an alternative religion. [25] The city is covered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster, [30] and the Church of England Diocese of Carlisle. [31]


Carlisle compared
2001 UK Census City of Carlisle [32] Cumbria [33] England
Population of working age73,431354,18335,532,091
Full-time employment39.0%36.9%40.8%
Part-time employment14.6%13.6%11.8%
Self employed8.2%9.9%8.3%

At the United Kingdom Census 2001, Carlisle had 73,431 residents aged 16 to 74. Of these people, 2.4% were students with jobs, 3.1% students without jobs, 4.9% looking after home or family, 6.1% permanently sick or disabled and 2.3% economically inactive for other reasons. [32]

In 2001, of 46,858 residents of the City of Carlisle in employment, the industry of employment was 20.4% retail and wholesale, 15.9% manufacturing, 11.1% health and social work, 8.1% property and business services, 7.7% transport and communications, 7.3% construction, 6.4% education, 5.9% hotels and restaurants, 5.8% public administration and defence, 3.1% agriculture, 2.3% finance, 0.7% energy and water supply, 0.3% mining, and 4.5% other. This was roughly in line with national figures, although the proportion of jobs in agriculture which was more than the national average of 1.5% and the percentage of people working in finance was less than half the national average of 4.8%; the proportion of people working in property was also below the national average of 13.2%. [34]


British Rail Class 90s in Carlisle Citadel station in the 1990s under British Rail. 90007, 90015 & 87006 - Carlisle (10304498313).jpg
British Rail Class 90s in Carlisle Citadel station in the 1990s under British Rail.

Carlisle railway station located on the West Coast Main Line and serves the Settle and Carlisle Line, Tyne Valley Line, Cumbrian Coast Line and trains to South West Scotland.


Carlisle Lake District Airport CarlisleAirport.jpg
Carlisle Lake District Airport

Carlisle bus station serves the City of Carlisle and is operated by Stagecoach on Lonsdale Street in the city centre. [35] The city also has an airport, Carlisle Lake District Airport, owned by Ettyl. [36] After a 25-year absence, commercial flights returned to the airport in July 2019 with a single airline, Loganair, providing services to London Southend, Belfast City and Dublin. [37] In March 2020, however, the airline permanently suspended all flights from the airport due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. [38]

Twin cities

Carlisle has formal twinning arrangements with two northern border cities on mainland Europe. They are since 1961 [39] Flensburg in northern Germany and since 1987 [40] Słupsk in northern Poland. [41] [42]

Notable people

Freedom of the City

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the City of Carlisle.


Military Units

Related Research Articles

Carlisle Human settlement in England

Carlisle is a border city and the county town of Cumbria, as well as the administrative centre of the City of Carlisle district in North West England. Carlisle is located 8 miles (13 km) south of the Scottish border at the confluence of the rivers Eden, Caldew and Petteril. It is the largest settlement in the county of Cumbria and serves as the administrative centre for both Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council. Carlisle is also in the historic county of Cumberland. At the time of the 2001 census, the population of Carlisle was 71,773, with 100,734 living in the wider city. Ten years later, at the 2011 census, the city's population had risen to 75,306, with 107,524 in the wider city.

Cumbria Ceremonial county of England

Cumbria is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is Carlisle, in the north of the county. The only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the south-western tip of the county.

Westmorland Historic county of England

Westmorland is a historic county in north-west England. It formed an administrative county between 1889 and 1974, after which the whole county was administered by the new administrative county of Cumbria. In 2013, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Westmorland.

Cumberland Historic county of England

Cumberland is a historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It is bordered by the historic counties of Northumberland to the northeast, County Durham to the east, Westmorland to the southeast, Lancashire to the south, and the Scottish counties of Dumfriesshire and Roxburghshire to the north. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.

Subdivisions of England Administrative division or non-administrative ceremonial area of England

The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas.

Appleby-in-Westmorland Market town in Cumbria, England

Appleby-in-Westmorland, a market town and civil parish in the Eden district of Cumbria, England, had a population of 3,048 at the 2011 Census. Crossed by the River Eden, Appleby was the county town of the historic county of Westmorland and the smallest such town in England. It was known simply as Appleby until 1974, when the council of the successor parish to the borough changed it to retain the name Westmorland, which had disappeared as an administrative area under the Local Government Act 1972. It lies 14 miles south-east of Penrith, 32 miles south-east of Carlisle, 27 miles north-east of Kendal and 45 miles west of Darlington.

Eden District Local government district in Cumbria, England

Eden is a local government district in Cumbria, England. Its council is based at Penrith Town Hall in Penrith. It is named after the River Eden which flows north through the district toward Carlisle. The district had a population of 49,777 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 52,564 at the 2011 Census. A 2019 estimate put it at 53,253.

City of Lancaster City and Non-metropolitan district in England

The City of Lancaster is a local government district of Lancashire, England, with the status of a city and non-metropolitan district. It is named after its largest settlement, Lancaster, but covers a far larger area, which includes the towns of Morecambe, Heysham, and Carnforth, as well as outlying villages, farms, rural hinterland and a section of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The district has a population of 146,038 (mid-2019 est.), and an area of 222.5 square miles (576.2 km2).

Civil parishes in Cumbria

A civil parish in England is the lowest unit of local government. There are 284 civil parishes in the ceremonial county of Cumbria, with most of the county being parished, and Allerdale, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland being entirely parished. At the 2001 census, there were 359,692 people living in those 284 parishes, accounting for 73.8 per cent of the county's population.

Hesket, Cumbria Parish in Cumbria, England

Hesket is a large civil parish in the Eden District of Cumbria, England, on the main A6 between Carlisle and Penrith. At the 2001 census it had a population of 2,363, increasing to 2,588 at the 2011 census, and estimated at 2,774 in 2019. The parish formed in 1894 with the passing of the Local Government Act 1894 and grew to embrace the parish of Plumpton Wall by a County Review Order in 1934. Hesket is part of the historic royal hunting ground of Inglewood Forest. Settlement hereabouts dates back to the Roman occupation.

Carlisle Lake District Airport

Carlisle Lake District Airport is a regional airport located 5 NM east north-east of Carlisle, England.

Cheshire West and Chester Borough and Unitary authority in England

Cheshire West and Chester is a unitary authority with borough status in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It was established on 1 April 2009 as part of the 2009 local government changes, by virtue of an order under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. It superseded the boroughs of Ellesmere Port and Neston and Vale Royal and the City of Chester; its council assumed the functions and responsibilities of the former Cheshire County Council within its area. The remainder of ceremonial Cheshire is composed of Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington.

Dearham Village in Cumbria, England

Dearham is a village and civil parish in the Allerdale district of Cumbria, historically part of Cumberland, near the Lake District National Park in England. It lies about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Maryport and 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Cockermouth.

2009 structural changes to local government in England 2009 changes to the structure of state administration on a local level in England

Structural changes to local government in England were effected on 1 April 2009, whereby a number of new unitary authorities were created in parts of the country which previously operated a 'two-tier' system of counties and districts. In five shire counties the functions of the county and district councils were combined into a single authority; and in two counties the powers of the county council were absorbed into a significantly reduced number of districts.

Cumbria County Council

Cumbria County Council is the county council of Cumbria, a county in the North West of England. Established in 1974, following its first elections held the previous year, it is an elected local government body responsible for the most significant local services in the county, including county schools, county roads, and social services.

2009 Cumbria County Council election

An election to Cumbria County Council took place on 2 May 2013 as part of the 2009 United Kingdom local elections. All 84 councillors were elected from various electoral divisions, which returned one or two county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. They coincided with an election for the European Parliament. All 84 seats in the Council were up for election, and a total of 301 candidates stood. The total number of people registered to vote was 392,931. Prior to the election local Conservatives were leading a coalition with the Liberal Democrats with the Labour party as the council's official opposition.

County Borough of Carlisle

Carlisle was, from 1835 to 1974, a local government district in the northwest of England, coterminate with Carlisle. In 1835, following the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, Carlisle was constituted a municipal borough of Cumberland, but was promoted to county borough status in 1914, within its boundaries taking over the functions of Cumberland County Council. The district was abolished on 31 March 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972.

City of Leeds City and Metropolitan borough in England

The City of Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. The metropolitan borough includes the administrative centre of Leeds and the towns of Farsley, Garforth, Guiseley, Horsforth, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rothwell, Wetherby and Yeadon. It has a population of 793,139 (mid-2019 est.), making it technically the second largest city in England by population behind Birmingham. It is governed by Leeds City Council.

Cumberland County Council, England

Cumberland County Council was the county council of Cumberland in the North West of England, an elected local government body responsible for most local services in the county. It was established in 1889 as a result of the Local Government Act 1888. Carlisle was initially within its area but became a separate county borough in 1914. In 1974, both authorities were merged along with parts of others into the new Cumbria County Council.

Staveley-in-Cartmel Human settlement in England

Staveley-in-Cartmel is a small village and civil parish in South Lakeland district, Cumbria, England. It lies east of Newby Bridge, near the south end of Windermere, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Ulverston. It is sometimes known as Staveley-in-Furness. Both names distinguish it from another Staveley in Cumbria. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 428, decreasing at the 2011 census to 405.



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