Does Gretton's Blue Bell pub ring any bells with you?

Its owners are looking for photos and stories of the pub

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:13 pm

A village pub that has been at the heart of the community for generations is appealing for anyone with archive material of the hostelry to come forward in time for the reopening.

The Blue Bell Inn located in Gretton High Street is working on plans to mark 250 years serving the residents, workers and visitors of the village near Corby.

The first official mention of the pub was on Thursday, July 16, 1772, in an edition of a local newspaper, when it was advertised ‘To be SOLD or LETT’.

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The Blue Bell at Gretton

Now stories and photos of previous landlords and landladies, locals and regulars are being sought to help plan the celebrations that will take place later this year.

Manager Amy McGowan, whose dad Peter is the current landlord, said: "We are hoping to have a summer street party to celebrate the 250th anniversary - the actual day is in June.

"It depends on the Government restrictions. We've been closed since last March and we're really looking forward to seeing everyone and welcoming them back."

According to a Blue Bell historian during the 1930s, The Blue Bell was mainly used as a breakfast stop for the local quarry workers.

Former landlord Jim Caulfield celebrates being in the Good Pub Guide in September 2008

The landlord at the time, 'Tinker Joe', limited the quarry workers' meals to only two pints. Despite being allowed only two pints, it is said that the quarry workers could make half a pint of beer last all night.

In 1835, pubs had restricted opening hours from the local authorities so the opening times for the pubs would be from six in the morning until nine in the evening. On high days and holy days times were limited to prevent 'drunkenness' during church services.

Drunken brawls would occasionally happen on Friday and Saturday nights. Records reveal that during one such fight, every window in The Blue Bell was smashed and sacks were nailed up instead.

The popular venue has had major renovations done since closing in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their new beer garden will be joined by Bella Pizza, offering takeaway oven-fired artisan pizzas from the courtyard.

Do you have any photos or stories of the pub?

Present landlord Peter McGowan has a long association with the pub he now owns - he bought his first ever alcoholic drink from the Blue Bell Inn in High Street as a teenager.

The pub had been set to be converted to a residential property after the previous landlady had problems selling it when her landlord husband died.

Now the premises has been given a new lease of life as the Blue Bell is set to re-open on Monday, April 12, for outdoor hospitality on the Kirby Road-side. They hope to fully re-open in accordance with the Government's road map on May 17.

Amy added: "Everyone will be welcome to celebrate with us. We'd love old customers - and new - to join in the party."

Anyone who can help with stories, archive material, anecdotes and photos of the Blue Bell can call 01536 770404 or email [email protected]