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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
My response to Palmer’s plans for destroying The Three Cups HOTEL is to take a leaf out of John Ruskin’s book and turn to the Stones of Venice.
I think we can learn some lessons from the history of Venice with regard to preserving the cultural history of Lyme Regis.
Both Lyme Regis and Venice were important trading ports which now rely on tourism for their livelihood. Of course, Venice is much larger and has more buildings of historical and cultural interest which means that it is all the more important that the local authorities who serve the people of West Dorset do all in their power to preserve a unique cultural asset like The Three Cups Hotel.
Although The Three Cups may not compare with the palazzos of Venice in terms of splendour, I would ask you to consider a comparison on two points: the importance of their guests and the need to avoid destruction of interiors.
In my last post, I discussed how a hotel on Jekyll Island is infamous as the location of the meeting which spawned the FederalReserve and financial serfdom for the people of the USA. The Three Cups Hotel is famous for hosting good and honest men like Chesterton and Tolkien who brought much happiness to mankind through their writings, particularly in support of the common man opposing oligarchy.
In Venice, there is a building which might be regarded with more foreboding than the dark tower of Barad-dur in Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. The Palazzo Grimani di San Luca is a beautiful, elegantly proportioned building but is thought to have been the venue for the Venetian think tank called Ridotto Morosini whose secret plotting helped bring about the devastation of The Thirty Years War.
I would say again that The Three Cups should be preserved as a hotel so that tourists and visitors can enjoy being in the rooms where so many great and good writers sat and thought about how to make the world a better place.
Another Venetian palace admired for its appearance and history is the Ca’ d’Oro. For me, it has echoes of The Three Cups due to its asymmetry and mixture of styles alluding to seafaring influences. The Ca’ d’Oro was built for the Contarini patrician family but changed hands several times until it was acquired by the Italian state and it is now open to the public as a gallery.
The people of Venice are very fortunate that their government saved this building which is so admired around the world because one owner set about removing key structural elements and fittings from the interior. Thankfully the state was able to restore the damage for the greater good.
Obviously, there is a lesson for Lyme Regis in the case of the Ca’ d’Oro that responsible public servants should step in to avoid cultural vandalism to a vital historical asset. However, Palmers’ plans for The Three Cups Hotel would be much worse than the damage done by the internal alterations to the home of the Contarinis. I would say that Palmers’ plans for The Three Cups have more in common with what another Venetian, Francesco Morosini, did to the Parthenon, one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. See image below.
God forbid that The Three Cups should be totally gutted and destroyed like the Parthenon by the actions of patrician families meeting in private. As long as local authorities meet in secret cabinet sessions, we are not much better off than the 17th century victims of Venetian oligarchy.