Help Save The Black Lion in Ireby, Cumbria

by Andrew Knights in Wigton, Cumbria, United Kingdom

Total raised £84,326

£165,000 target 26 days left
51% 191 investors
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th August 2024 at 11:17am

We aim to make a community purchase of The Black Lion pub in Ireby, and transform it into a village hub for locals and tourists alike.

by Andrew Knights in Wigton, Cumbria, United Kingdom


Our aim is for the Black Lion to be a community owned pub. A pub that is the hub of the village of Ireby and the surrounding communities providing facilities and services that benefit all residents of our communities, and cater for the needs of the many tourists who visit the area to enjoy the Northern Fells of the Lake District National Park. We are raising funds to acquire and safeguard the future of the Black Lion ensuring that a vital community asset remains open and saving the site from possible residential development in the future.

Only Together Can We Make It Happen

The closure of the pub in 2023 was a wakeup call for those living in the area, coming swiftly after the permanent closure of the Snooty Fox in a neighbouring village. The reality of living in a rural area without a pub and all the benefits that brings resulted in the call to arms to save the pub. In response to the depth of feeling, the current owner agreed to re-open the pub to provide the time the Black Lion Community Group Limited has needed to set up and get to the point of raising funds for its purchase. We are grateful to the current owner and his team for helping in this way. The Black Lion Community Group Limited (BLCGL) have completed the groundwork and are now at the point we need to raise funds.

Our History

Ireby is the oldest market town in Cumberland.

It was granted a market charter by Henry III in 1237, and it's restored market cross still stands.


At one time Ireby boasted four pubs, one of which was the regular haunt of John Peel, the famed huntsman. The village has been visited by such notables as Charles Dickens with Wilkie Collins, and John Keats. Now, sadly, only The Black Lion remains, seen here in 1911.


The Black Lion pub is truly the heart of the village. It hosts a fortnightly pub quiz, attended by quizzers, some of whom travel quite a distance to be here. There is a weekly ukulele club. At Easter the pub hosts the annual 'Egg Dump', a Cumbrian tradition which is like conkers, but with hard boiled eggs. The annual Christmas tree light switch on has an impressive turnout, and demonstrates how central the pub is to the village.


One of the strengths of The Black Lion is it's close association with the Globe Hall, our village hall, seen here on the right.


Ireby has a strong history of arts events, ranging from Ireby Music Festival (which was sadly a victim of the pandemic, but we have hopes of resurrecting it), theatre and film events, and concerts. The Globe Hall is an excellent, well equipped venue, and the pub and Globe Hall will develop closer links than ever before.

Our Plans

We have consulted extensively locally through public meetings and through a community survey, this was emailed to everyone on our mailing list, available on our website, and hand delivered to all houses in the immediate village and surrounding villages, to ensure that everyone, even those without internet or email, were able to respond. We received a high level of support and a large number of suggestions for what the community owned pub could offer as additional services and as a village hub.

Overwhelmingly respondents wanted a traditional pub that was family friendly, serving good quality food and drink, with regular and reliable opening hours. This is our first priority.

The second priority is for longer day opening, as a café, serving refreshments, sandwiches, cakes, which would appeal to both locals and passing tourists, such as walkers and cyclists.

The longer opening hours would then make it practical to trial many of the other suggestions, including a warm hub, reading room, meeting room for local groups, shop selling local produce, arts and crafts venue and many more, including opening up the use of the Globe Hall for more activities. 

Black Lion Community Pub Share Offer

When you invest in shares you become a member of The Black Lion Community Group Limited, a Community Benefit Society, registered by the Financial Conduct Authority. You will have voting rights equal to that of any other member of the Society and will be a co-owner of the Black Lion pub.

Shares are £1 each, with a minimum shareholding of £50. 

The maximum shareholding is £45,000.

Our initial target is £165,000, then, provided that we are successful in our bid for a grant from the `Community Ownership Fund, we will be in a position to purchase the pub and proceed. 

A details are on the share prospectus and in our Business Case which are available here.

Share Prospectus

Business Case

All monies will be held securely by Crowdfunder, and if, for any reason, the project were not able to proceed, then all funds will be returned in full.

Next Steps

We have raised a very significant sum from our immediate community and now we are asking the wider community to help.

We are asking all supporters of community projects, lovers of the Lake District, pub enthusiasts, walkers, cyclists, music and arts fans to join us in our quest to save our little piece of the Northern Fells of the Lake District, and safeguard it as a community resource, to be enjoyed by all, for generations to come.





Levels of Investment

£50 or more


£50 is the minimum share purchase and buys you 50 shares in the Black Lion Community Group Limited and hence a piece of the Black Lion Pub. You will have one vote at the annual members meeting, the same as every other member, and the right to stand for election to the Management Committee . This level of share purchase is also ideal for gifting to family members.

£100 or more

£100 or more

£100 buys you 100 shares in the Black Lion Community Group Limited and hence a slightly bigger piece of the Black Lion Pub. You gain the additional satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed more than the bare minimum .You will have one vote at the annual members meeting, and the right to stand for election to the Management Committee . This level of share purchase is more than suitable for gifting to family members

£500 or more

£500 or more

£500 is a significant share purchase and buys you 500 shares in the Black Lion Community Group Limited and an even bigger piece of the Black Lion Pub. You will, in addition, experience a warm fuzzy glow from having made such a big contribution to our community, and will be entitled to a hearty welcome whenever you visit. You will have one vote at the annual members meeting, and the right to stand for election to the Management Committee .

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