Jimmy Allens nightclub exists in the center of Durham City alongside the River Wear. Situated under the arched Elvet Bridge – the nightclub has been a popular venue for party goers in the seven years of its existence.
The History of Jimmy Allens
However, the location hasn`t been used as a nightclub for its entire history. From the 16th century, the location was used as holding cells for Durhams dregs and it was from what is now the night club that these condemed men and women used to be marched to the nearby local market square and hung.
The name of the nightclub was taken from the gaols most famous prisoner. Jimmy Allen (1733 -1810) had a chequered history. He was a very talented player of the Northumbrian Pipes, he was even official piper to the Duchess of Northumberland for two years. But he liked to drink, and gamble, and he also liked pretty women, conning them out of money to support his drinking habit. As well as this he was a horse rustler, consequently he was almost continually on the run from various authorities. He travelled as far afield as India, the Dutch East Indies and the Baltic, making money from playing his pipes with his extraordinary skill.
The authorities caught up with him eventually, however, and he was caught in Jedburgh, Scotland, for stealing a horse in Gateshead, Co Durham. He was sentenced to death in 1803 and spent the last seven years of his life in a cell beneath Elvet Bridge, his sentence having been reduced to life inprisonment. He died a few days before a pardon came through from the Prince Regent. It is said that if you listen carefully, you may still hear his ghost playing the Northumbrian Pipes from the cell beneath the bridge.