Bomb nearly takes out the Blue Bell Inn at Melbourne

A post from Bernadette currently on a work placement at the Record Office

As part of my work placement at the Record Office, I currently working on a transcript of information gathered from the Derbyshire County Council Air Raid Precaution’s Register of Occurrence’s (Ref: D4710/1).On the first page of the register I came across the occurrence at Melbourne, which lead me to do further researching.

On 11th July 1940 at the Blue Bell Inn, 53 Church Street, Melbourne, Derbyshire, bomb damage and deaths occurred at around 8.10 a.m. 9 people were killed and 15 were wounded. Two buildings at the rear of the Blue Bell Inn and part of the boot factory near the grange were also damaged.

There must have been a lot of chaos, due it being the time of day when folk are getting up for the day ahead, it would have woken folk in the area from their beds. It was good job that the incident didn’t happen when the inn was open at the time and when the boot factory was open for business, otherwise the casualties could have been a lot higher.


Ordnance Survey Map showing the location of the Blue Bell Inn Melbourne.


From the Melbourne Church of England Junior Boys School Log Book, 1933 – 1942 (Ref: D3575/1/5) on 11th July 1940 it was noted that there was considerable damage in the town. You would think people would have stayed away, but in fact only 5 boys and 2 members of staff didn’t turned up for school that day, one had her house badly damaged.

Yet, the Head Master at the Senior School called the Director of Education, it was agreed by the Director that the school be closed for the day. If I was in their shoes I would have been traumatised by the incident, especially being a child. School did open the following morning, with 33 of the pupil’s being absent in the morning and 35 in the afternoon and this isn’t surprising with the upheaval caused by the incident. It must have taken weeks for normality to come back to the surrounding area.

WATCH THIS SPACE… the completed transcript will be accessible via the online catalogue in the near future – we will let you know when it is

2 thoughts on “Bomb nearly takes out the Blue Bell Inn at Melbourne

  1. Hi Amy, unfortunately, providing a full transcript of the document has proved a little more problematic than we had originally anticipated, but here is an extract of the entry relating to the Blue Bell Inn:
    Date of Report 11.07.1940
    Occurrence No. T1
    Position of occurrence, and parish Blue Bell Inn, Church Street, Melbourne
    Date and time of occurrence 08.00.00
    Nature of occurrence, i.e. no. and type of bombs 1.H.E.
    Casualties Killed 9
    Casualties Wounded 15
    Damage 2 Building at rear of Blue Bell, part of Boot factory near Grange.
    State if major damage to key point etc.
    Damage reported to region (No.)
    Included in Situation report (No.) 3
    Included in Occurrence Summary
    Particulars of subsequent messages and times
    Action on subsequent messages, remarks or eventual outcome

    I would recommend using local newspaper reports for more detailed information, and there are probably some available via the British Newspaper Archive ( It is usually possible to access the site for free via your local Derbyshire library, but due to the coronavirus lockdown this is not currently possible. However, you should still be able to search for free, and subscribe if you wish to. In terms of more detailed information about the history of the building, we have recently published a guide about the various sources available for getting started (see We have a further guide coming up in a few weeks, but here is an extract relating to public houses:
    Licensing registers between 1753 and 1827 can be found under Q/RA/1 (link:*).  There are no registers available between 1827 and about 1870.  Thereafter, the registers were maintained by the local magistrates at the Petty Sessions courts to 1974. For a full list of the Petty Sessions archive collections, see

    There are also a couple of entries in our online catalogue ( specifically referring to the Blue Bell Inn, both are valuations and inventories:
    D5126/1/140 –

    D5126/1/190 –

  2. Hi,

    We are currently renovating the Blue Bell Inn, in Melbourne and we wanted to add some history to the
    place. I was just wondering is the full transcript now available, as i am unable to locate this?

    Many thanks

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