Our History.

The Dolly Blue Bar is named after the famous Dolly Blue pigment that was historically produced in the area.

The Essence of Dolly Blue Dye

Dolly Blue dye, a significant part of the Lake District’s history, especially in Backbarrow, played a crucial role in laundry practices. This dye was predominantly used to enhance the whiteness of fabrics. When added during the final rinse in laundry, it gave a slight blue tint that counteracted yellowing, making whites appear cleaner and brighter.

Its composition was based on synthetic ultramarine, a cheaper alternative to the natural pigment derived from lapis lazuli. Developed in the early 19th century, this synthetic form revolutionised the industry. Dolly Blue dye was commonly sold as small blocks or cakes, either swirled in rinse water wrapped in cloth or grated into powder.

Dolly Blue: A Cultural and Industrial Legacy

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Dolly Blue dye became a household staple, symbolising the industrial revolution’s impact on domestic practices. Its cultural significance was particularly pronounced in the Lake District. Backbarrow, for instance, was home to the Backbarrow Blue Mill, a prominent production center for the dye.

The term “Dolly Blue” entrenched itself in British culture, synonymous with the dye’s distinctive blue hue. Although modern laundry methods have rendered such dyes obsolete, the legacy of Dolly Blue endures, embodying a pivotal era in the cultural and industrial history of regions like Cumbria, marking a significant transition in everyday life practices.

"Delicious quaint historic pub! Great pub with interesting history! Fabulous sharing platters and burgers! It’s a friendly place with a lovely terrace and river side views. Good menu and cocktails. There is a happy hour too!"

Lisa T

Reviewed on Trip Advisor

"Lovely view with a great selection of drinks! The staff were really friendly too. We went here several times whilst on holiday in the local area. Would recommend."


Reviewed on Trip Advisor

"The staff were chatty and friendly and the chef was very helpful too. The meal was plentiful and my steak was one of the best I've eaten. My husband had a burger and really enjoyed it. It was really nice as it was a sunny day to look out onto the lovely scenery outside."

Tracy W

Reviewed on Trip Advisor

Request a Table

Complete the short form below and we will be in touch as soon as we can to confirm your booking.