North East UK news The story of historic Newcastle bar set to rise from the ashes MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Balmbra's, in Newcastle's Cloth Market, is namechecked in the Geordie anthem, Blaydon Races, and is where the famous song was first performed
Breaking News ! It was one of Tyneside's most famous watering holes and, as the Chronicle reported recently, it is about to rise from the ashes. At the foot of Newcastle's Cloth Market is the bar room which will forever be associated with the Geordie anthem, the Blaydon Races. The iconic Balmbra's music hall famously features in the song: "I took the bus from Balmbra's/ And she was heavy laden/ Away we went along Collingwood Street/ That's on the Road to Blaydon." And the tune itself was first performed there in June, 1862 by its creator, Geordie Ridley, the renowned Gateshead-born singer and songwriter (whose other notable musical composition was the rousing Cushy Butterfield). It was in 2014, in its then guise as a Motown theme bar, that a fire badly damaged the interior of the building. But now, the owners of the building, the Malhotra Group, are redeveloping the bar, with help and financial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, administered by Newcastle’s BID company NE1 Ltd. We revealed how the frontage will be restored and signage will be replaced with a reproduction of the original from the 1900s. The leisure group is working closely with the conservation team at Newcastle City Council to protect the building. Three bay windows will be reopened and one of the most famous parts of Balmbra’s, the barrel-vaulted roof, will be preserved. In the short term, a pop-up bar to bring the building back into public use. Meenu Malhotra, chairman of the Malhotra Group, said: "We are excited to begin the next chapter in Balmbra’s rich history. We remain committed to a full restoration in due course, but as an interim measure we want to see the building back in use.
. It is currently derelict, but the work will retain many of the hall's original beautiful features." The story of the famous venue began in the midst of Tyneside's Victorian era when John Balmbra became licensee of the Wheatsheaf Inn in the Cloth Market in 1858, and the inn adopted its now-famous name. At that time, the more competitive licensees in Newcastle offered entertainment to pull in the crowds. Balmbra went one step further and opened a full-scale music hall behind his premises.
Balmbra's, Cloth Market, Newcastle, 1964
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
When Balmbra died, the next landlord introduced a regular charge for seats and added an extra entrance down the side as business boomed. But the music hall's popularity waned as purpose-built variety theatres opened, and by the end of the 19th century the Wheatsheaf was, once again, a normal public house. The pub's name was changed to the Carlton and, although extensive alterations were made to the building in 1956, it was little more than a licensed billiard hall. Revived, however in 1962, to coincide with the centenary of the Blaydon Races, the brewery converted the Carlton back to its original music hall form, and revived the name Balmbra's.
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As a side note, the Blaydon Races (the horse racing variety), as celebrated in the eponymous song that was first aired at Balmbra's 158 years ago, were last run at Stella Haugh on the south bank of the Tyne in 1916. We look forward to Balmbra's reopening towards the end of this year.
Source = MetiNews.Com