Gretna and Eastriggs were built to house the workforce, and many were accommodated nearby in Carlisle. When 5,000 workers arrived back by train to Carlisle, one publican had 1,000 whiskies lined up! The labourers and workers had such a reputation for drunkenness that Gretna and the surrounding area became one of the few places in the UK to come under the jurisdiction of the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 (DORA) passed by Lloyd George's government.
DORA was used by Winston Churchill in 1916 to bring the liquor industry, including Public Houses (Pubs) and Breweries, under Government control over a wide area, as far as Carlisle and Maryport. Spiritless Saturdays, buying anyone else a drink (shouting), and heaters and coolers (drinking beer and spirits in the same pub) were all banned. The pub landlords, now civil servants, were instructed to follow a disinterested management policy and not allow people to get drunk in the pubs. It was not until the early 1970s that the government enterprise was sold off.
Gretna was also the official home of Gretna Football Club, who played in the Scottish Premier League during the 2007–2008 season, the club playing 'home' games at Fir Park, Motherwell. Mounting financial problems saw the club relegated from the SPL at the end of the season, then demoted to Division 3 of the Scottish Football League. After attempts to find a buyer for the club proved fruitless, Gretna finally resigned from the SFL on June 3, 2008. A new club, Gretna FC 2008 has been founded in its place but currently plays its games in Annan, with the hope of one day moving back to Gretna.
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