A Historical Tour of The Old Bell Hotel Derby

Take a historical tour around The Old Bell Hotel Derby and explore some of Derby’s rich history.

The Old Bell Hotel is one of Derby’s oldest and last surviving coaching inns. The building dates back to as early as 1650 and during its time it was one of the central venues in Derby for travel, post, food and accommodation.

During The Old Bell Hotel’s first stage of restoration we uncovered many of the buildings original features that were hidden behind false walls, plasterboard and paint. Just in the main office we uncovered an original 17th century fireplace hidden behind a piece of plasterboard.

The Belfry Bar

During the restoration of the Belfry bar, now the Belfry Steakhouse, we found original food menus with items priced at £1.12 and lead buttons believed to belong to military personnel in the 17-1800s. The Belfry Steakhouse also retains the original William Morris wallpaper on the ceiling. Next time you visit the Belfry be sure to take a look!

Derby History Sadler Gate

Tavern Bar & Grand Regency Ballroom

Many of the original features of the building are now on display for everyone to see. When you walk into the Tavern bar you’ll be able to see the original hotel room bells hanging above the bar. If you venture into the Grand Regency Ballroom you’ll see the original plasterwork and the two glass domes which cost in the region of £130,000 to restore. Previously the ballroom domes had been covered up during The Old Bell Hotel’s time as a nightclub in the 80’s, only through removing the old plasterboard did we discover the original glass domes were still there.

Tudor bar Derby history

The Tudor Bar

The Tudor Bar is one of the most atmospheric parts of the building where you can enjoy a wide range of drinks, but did you know The Tudor Bar is not the oldest part of the building? The Tudor Bar was originally the location of a row of cottages that service staff would live in during The Old Bell Hotel’s time as a coaching inn.

Although the Tudor Bar isn’t the oldest part of The Old Bell, it does have one of the oldest features which is the grand fireplace. The intricately carved beams used for the fireplace have been dated back to 1650 and were used in other parts of the building before making its home in the Tudor Bar.

Attic rooms The Old Bell Hotel Derby

The Attic Rooms

The Attic Rooms are one of the largest parts of the building that has remained largely untouched since 1650. It even has some of the original hotel room numbers on the doors. From the attic rooms you get a view over parts of the city that haven’t changed in over 100 years offering a window back in time to Derby’s history.

The Attic Rooms were used as The Old Bell Hotel’s cheaper accommodation and were often the home to loud and rowdy guests. During 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops were billeted to the upper floors including the attic rooms with many reports of violence and the death of a maid.

Find out more about the history of Derby and The Old Bell Hotel.

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