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.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why are we waiting?

While literary fans around the world wait to stay in The Three Cups HOTEL, spending their money elsewhere and the economy of Lyme Regis suffers, other parts of the country are getting on with business.

The BBC TV Series, "Last of The Summer Wine", may not be everyone's idea of high culture but that has not stopped the commercially minded people of Holmfirth in Yorkshire, taking every opportunity to exploit its fame as a filming location for the benefit of the tourist industry.

There are Sid's Cafe and The Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room among other venues to try. On a recent visit, my wife and I were looking for bed and breakfast accomodation and came across Ash House, which we can thoroughly recommend. Click here for their website. Interestingly, the owners also run a business called Summer Wine Classic Car Hire Ltd, mainly for weddings. Well, why not include that name in the title? I'm sure that the connection has been converted into sales many times over. I believe in Yorkshire such commercial acumen is called "Nouse". It's how they bring in business and create employment.

Obviously, there is a lesson for business (and property) owners in Lyme Regis that if you have famous media connections like, say, a film location (e.g. The Three Cups and The French Lieutenant's Woman) or links to authors such as Tolkien, Austen, Chesteron, Tennyson and Longfellow, you could be bringing in tourists to spend money in your town. And these people would want somewhere to stay which would create even more demand for HOTEL rooms. Others would want to see inside a hostelry with such literary and historical connections and spend money on drinks and meals. And when a hotel like that once again becomes the most famous venue open in the town (as opposed to a shut up decaying eyesore), I would expect it to be the most sought after place for wedding receptions. Then you would see people spending some money. And there would be life, laughter, enjoyment and happy memories. That would be enough to bring a smile to the face of even the most dour Yorkshire man and certainly this Lancastrian.

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Guard Duty

Things may have seemed quiet on the campaign front recently but Save The Three Cups HOTEL activists have been keeping watch over West Dorset District Council and Palmers Brewery to ensure that due diligence is applied to all plans for the HOTEL. Click on the link below to read more.

John Dover, chairman of the campaign group, wrote to local papers with the update printed below. You can see it in the 3/8/2011 edition of The View From Lyme Regis by clicking here and turning to page 16. Look for the headings, Lyme Letters Extra and Three Cups wait.

"For several months now it may seem that little has been happening regarding the future of the Three Cups Hotel in Broad Street, Lyme Regis. To the contrary, Palmers Brewery has been required to prepare further in depth reports for West Dorset District Council and English Heritage as part of the pre planning application process.

Currently we are content for this process to take its course. Following our regular and ongoing meetings with the Leader and Director of Planning at WDDC we are satisfied that a thorough and comprehensive ‘due diligence’ process is underway and has in part been brought about by the pressure from Lyme residents and our group in particular. This process will determine the extent of demolition, if any, that Palmers will be allowed to inflict on this important Georgian heritage asset.

Palmer’s current proposals, in the public domain since last September, are to demolish two thirds of the building including the historically important rear section where JRR Tolkien is known to have drawn his famous drawing of the Cobb and where we believe Jane Austen stayed in 1804 when it was Hiscott’s Boarding House and included what is now Sea Tree House next door and still linked to the Three Cups building.

Considering this is a grade two listed building, in a conservation area, in an area of outstanding natural beauty and adjacent to a World Heritage site it will be revealing to see the extent these factors protect this important icon of Lyme’s literary heritage.

It is likely that during August we will at last know how far Palmers will be allowed, if any, to include demolition in their future plans. We anxiously wait to see how much Lyme’s heritage will be allowed to be destroyed or whether common sense and the effectiveness of the protections available to this heritage asset really do apply. We have recently seen how the Planning Inspector has rejected an appeal for demolition and residential development within a ‘stone’s throw’ of the Three Cups at Holmcroft in Broad Street. Let us hope consistency by the planning authorities continues to apply.

Our group will continue to strive for further constructive dialogue with WDDC and to achieve a positive outcome not only for Palmers but Lyme as well’."

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