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A Cabinet of Entertainment and Education.

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Our location

In the regency era, the Blue-Bell Inn stood in the Head of the Side in Newcastle upon Tyne. The Side is a narrow street which winds its way round the outside of the castle mound joining the centre of Newcastle to the Quayside on the river Tyne.

Improbable as it may now seem this inconvenient thoroughfare was the main route in and out of Newcastle to the South. Almost every visitor to Newcastle would have passed its door, especially as it was only a stone's throw from St Nicholas' which was the major church of the town and almost the geographical centre.

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The Landlord

Around this time William Cant left the Northumberland Militia and became the Landlord of the Blue Bell. He was held in high esteem as a player both of the several sorts of Northumbrian Bagpipes and of the fiddle. He was always ready to help with advice or instruction.

The Blue Bell Inn became, at least for a short time, a meeting place for those interested in the traditional music of the area and it is quite possible that the modern form of the Northumbrian Smallpipes came about from as a result of conversations which occurred at the Blue Bell.

It is just possible that John Peacock, Jimmy Allan, Robert Reid and his son Robert (the pipemaker), William Green, Young Lamshaw, Thomas Bewick (the engraver) and his son Robert (a piper) and some of the Clough family all visited the Blue Bell Inn while William Cant was the landlord. Trying to imagine those meetings, led to the creation of this site.