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Pub steeped in history.

Earlier this year Geordies were outraged when it was announced one of Newcastle's most famous watering holes was to change name.

Steeped in history the Balmbra in the city's Cloth Market, was immortalised in the anthem the Blaydon Races.

But then its owners Mitchells & Butler announced they were set to turn it into an 80s theme bar called Reflex.

Among those upset by the move were Evelyn and William Shevell, now 90 and 92 respectively, who did their courting in the Cloth Market.

Steeped in history, the pub's fame dates back to 1858 when John Balmbra became licensee of the then Wheatsheaf Inn.

With rival landlords offering entertainment, Balmbra's decided to go one step further and a music hall opened at the back of the pub.

The watering hole is the starting point for the local anthem, which describes a journey to a race track in Blaydon in a cart.

But with music hall popularity decreasing, by the end of the century, the Wheatsheaf was again a normal public house.

The pub's name was later changed to the Carlton.

However, in 1962, to coincide with the centenary of the Blaydon Races, the brewery converted the building to its original music hall form, and revived the name Balmbra's. In the end the Midland's brewers decided on a compromise and re-christened the pub the Balmbra Reflex.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 3, 2004
Words:224
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