Save The Three Cups Hotel

The Three Cups Hotel

Campaigning for preservation of the hotel where J.R.R. Tolkien stayed and gained inspiration for his mythology. Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, Tennyson and H.W. Longfellow were also guests. The hotel featured in the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. Please send articles to me, Andrew Townsend, at or add a comment. Thanks to David Moss for all his work. Comments are closed at WDDC for the plans to redevelop the site but you can still write to the papers.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Three Cups: Regency or Georgian? - Revised

[I have revised this post in the light of Jo Draper's article, "The (new) Three Cups" in The Lyme Regis Society's Newsletter of June 2007 which explains that although the present building has been The Three Cups since 1844, the structure dates from 1807 and the business was previously located on the other side of Broad Street until those premises were burnt down in 1844.]

The Observer’s Book of British Architecture has some interesting illustrations from the point of the view of saving The Three Cups Hotel.

Note: You can now download this post as a PDF file which includes scans of the pages referred to below. You may need to download and install software such as Foxit Reader (recommended) or Adobe Reader to open the file.

In my 1951 edition (which, I hasten to add, was given to me by an older friend), some examples in the Visual Index show striking similarities with features of The Three Cups Hotel.

On pages 186 and 187, there are drawings of two and three storey Regency buildings, which are both of two bays with bowed windows. The first is labelled “Regency Villa” and is less like The Three Cups because the bowed windows stop before the highest storey, forming a balcony. However, the other, of three stories and two bays, is very reminiscent of The Three Cups in that the right hand bay contains the main entrance on the ground floor where the bow forms an open porch supported by two columns.

This key feature of The Three Cups Hotel is also seen in the Doorways section on page 208.

The Windows section of the Visual Index (pages 216 – 8) shows various examples which have similarities to The Three Cups.

As we can be fairly certain from the datestone in the north wall that the present building was erected in 1807, Pevsner's description of it as "Late Georgian" is typically spot-on. I would suggest that the Regency style bowed bay could have been added by the new owners when it became The Three Cups in 1844 to advertise its status as "the best hotel in Lyme Regis"


Blogger Andrew Townsend said…

Regarding the definition of architectural periods, the UK Building Cost Information Service defines the Georgian houses as those built between 1720 and 1840 and Victorian from 1840 to 1920. So perhaps Pevsner's description of The Three Cups Hotel being "Late Georgian" is just about right after all.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

i support it!

Blogger Lee said…

i have lived in that hotel for the early part of my life - in fact my parents were the landlords before it was closed. Its a wonderful building, and i can still remember its layout to this day (i must have been about 15).

I read somewhere else that they are planning on doing it up now.

Blogger Andrew Townsend said…

Regarding my speculation that the entrance bay to the building was added when the owners of the old Three Cups took it over, I have been advised that there is proof in the Lyme Regis Museum that this change was made earlier.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Something very fishy about ownership of the Three Cups?

Facebook: Lyme Regis Trust


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