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.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another Item for the Agenda

I'm sure that the meeting in Lyme Regis on 5th June to discuss the future of The Three Cups Hotel will be an exciting affair with many ideas under examination. Here is another one.

A BBC report, "New plans to stop 'ghost towns'", describes goverment plans to find new uses for high street shops which have lost their traditional customers to the recession or out of town malls.

As far as I am aware, The Three Cups Hotel is the only derelict commercial property on Broad Street so the overall situation in Lyme Regis is not as bad as Stockport (featured in the BBC report) but this government inititative offers help to those working to re-open empty business premises.

I don't think that there is any need to consider a change of use for The Three Cups. Twenty years ago, traditional customers may have gone elsewhere but now there is a growing market this famous hotel:

- as a Jurassic Coast study centre
- as a destination for cultural tourists
- accommodation for cultural tourists
- as a tourist attraction in itself

As stated previously, cultural tourists and visitors could include those interested in Tolkien, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Lord Tennyson, Turner, Whistler and Charlie Chaplin. Lyme Regis can also expect more visitors as fewer British people take their holidays abroad.

Hopefully all the above would prevent Broad Street in Lyme Regis from ever being blighted again by a commercial property left empty for so long.

However, if plans for compulsory purchase of the hotel are to go ahead, a business plan for the new owners must be put together and any help the government can give would be most welcome.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Next Steps

Following the successful meeting in Bridport last month, the next step forward will be a Public Meeting at the Woodmead Hall in Lyme Regis Fri 5th June at 7:15pm to discuss how to SAVE THE THREE CUPS HOTEL. More details to follow.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thoughts from Dublin

On Wednesday of this week I had the pleasure of travelling to Dublin on business and I couldn't help but be impressed by the way visitors are made aware of the cultural and literary heritage of the city in such tasteful ways.

My first appointment was on Abbey Street which hardly needs publicising so famous is its theatre. I walked from there to O'Connell Street for lunch, seeing the statue of the great politician and speaker after whom this central space is named. A little further on, I spotted a statue of James Joyce of human scale, "standing" casually just down a side street. (See photograph on right. For copyright notice, see end of article.)

As I sat in the lounge of The Gresham Hotel, looking out on O'Connell Street, I was aware of a tremendous sense of history. I think that the proprietors appreciate that this is part of the experience of visiting their hotel as can be seen from the history page of their website. I believe that visitors to a re-opened Three Cups in Lyme Regis could also enjoy a sense of history by being in a place with so many links to national culture.

For me the sense of cultural heritage was increased by seeing the magnificent buildings of Trinity College Dublin so near the centre of the city. That is something which Lyme Regis does not possess on a similar scale but I always enjoy seeing the collection of buildings at the bottom of Church Street including the Guildhall and the Museum.

On this visit to Dublin, my business did not take me to the Temple Bar area or Grafton Street which are also noted for their cultural connections and occasional statuary. This rather begs the question as to whether Lyme Regis would benefit from some statues of the many famous figures from its cultural history. Of course, many of them including Tolkien, Chesterton and Austen would be linked to The Three Cups and perhaps Broad Street would get rather crowded. Alternatively, busts of these writers could be placed around the walls of a lounge in The Three Cups to entice visitors to enjoy the ambience and perhaps inspiration of being guests of the re-established hotel.

However, I thought that the most impressive public art in Dublin and which should be an inspiration for Lyme Regis was at the airport. Throughout the lounge area for arrivals and departures there are storey height ground glass screens separating the walkway from various cafes and bars. These are inscribed with the names, images and quoted words of famous Irish writers associated with Dublin such as Joyce, O'Casey and Synge. I was captivated by the screen nearest to my departure gate which depicted W.B. Yeats with lines from his poem "Sailing to Byzantium". There is something haunting about harbours and prospects of journeying across the sea which Lyme Regis has in abundance and which could attract travellers and tourists and hotel guests from around the world at many times of year.

Even in these days of controversial expense claims, I would suggest that it would be justifiable for decision makers involved in developing tourism in Lyme Regis to travel across the water to Dublin's fair city and see how things can be done so effectively and with great style.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE. Photograph from Wikipedia article on James Joyce: "James Joyce statue next to O'Connell street in Dublin". This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one. Official license.

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