ARCHIVES: Public Houses
The Blue Bell
In 1841 there were 2 families living at the Blue Bell: Joseph Smith and George Grant. George was the beer seller and also a grocer. By 1846 his wife, Martha, was listed as the shopkeeper and was recorded as a blind widow in 1851, living with her daughters and brother. Her daughters assisted in the shop and by 1861 one of them was married, but both were still living with her at the Blue Bell.
In 1863 Thomas Webster was landlord but by 1870 John Dormer had taken over. He was a plumber, painter and paper hanger, who had a business at Markfield, so he may have been an absentee landlord for much of the time.
In 1880 Edward Hayes, born in Wymondham, moved here with his wife, sons and niece, but by 1887 he had been succeeded by James Holmes.
George Moore, from Enderby, took over in 1889 but had died by 1898 after which his wife, Ann, continued to run the pub until 1900. (She is standing in the doorway ).
From 1904-8 William Henry Gutteridge, traction engine proprietor, was licensee. (His grandfather and father ran The White Horse so he came from a family who knew the trade).
Ann Moore standing in the doorway
In 1912 Walter Starbuck moved here with his new bride, Laura, and they made their home here for the next 36 years. Walter grew up in Barlestone where his parents ran the Red Lion. He was one of 6 sons who all followed their father into the trade. Walter went off to fight in Greece in the First World War and was one of the lucky ones to return. When Laura died in 1948 followed by Walter in 1949, one of their sons, Cliff and his wife, continued to run the pub for another 10 years.
There may have been someone in between, but by 1965 MJ & AC McMorrow had their name above the door. After 1969 the information is hazy. Mr & Mrs Vale may have been followed by Stuart Taylor, then George & Carol Pearce in the 1980s. More recently Rupert and currently Michael Cosgrove have been the licensees.
Please let us know if you have any information and/or photographs to fill the gaps.
The Blue Bell is the last remaining pub in the centre of the village, with only the Lancaster Arms at the bottom of Station Road. For events such as the Football World Cup matches, a big screen is set up in the car park for fans to watch and in the last few years there has been a Beer Festival and a funfair as part of the Scarecrow Festival.
The building has changed very little over the centuries, but the adjoining cottages fronting High Street and in the yard were demolished in the 20th century to create the large car park.