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.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Letter from Ted Nasmith

A letter from the famous Tolkien illustrator, Ted Nasmith, appears on page 20 of the View From Lyme Regis for 3/12/14.

I have amended this blog to take into account the drawings which have been made available online for Palmers’ planning application.

Working from newspaper reports, I was under the impression that Palmer’s plans were for a retained facade scheme. Having looked at the drawings, it is now apparent that the structure will remain for the “Front Building” which will be gutted and the rest will be demolished as per the description of planning application. So when I said earlier that “Palmers are planning to "bulldoze" The Three Cups”, I don’t think I was entirely wrong.

To see the drawings, go to

and search on “THREE CUPS” in the Address box.

In the next screen, click on Select for application number WD/D/14/002879, then click on Select against Plan in the Application Documents section at the lower left. You can then view the various drawings in turn.

Regarding Ted’s letter, to save you clicking on the link above and moving through the pages, here is the text:

Dear Editor

I’d like to add my Canadian voice to the debate over the fate of The Three Cups Hotel. I gather the present owner feels entitled to dispose of ‘his’ property asset, including destroying 95% of it, purely as a financial investment, but is affronted at any suggestion he has an obligation to posterity.

Many an Amazonian land baron might nod in agreement, faced as they are with pesky ‘tree-huggers’, or the captains of the cosmetics industry when faced with animal rights protesters.

Yet in any democracy worth its salt, environmental, cultural, or historical considerations must be included in the equation or risk abandoning such vital ‘intangibles’ in favour of profits and short-sighted private interests. The greed motive has its place, but has only ever been kept in check by citizen activism and whatever legal mechanisms may be available officially. It is the sad reality that money talks loudest in this arena too often, invariably aided by pliable local councillors.

Lyme Regis is already a key archaeological treasure trove. Destroying a beautiful cultural asset like The Three Cups would be like digging up a nearby Jurassic graveyard as if there were no bones, or like Americans bulldozing a place long associated with the likes of Twain, Hemmingway or Poe.

It surely doesn’t have to end that way.

Ted Nasmith
Illustrator of J.R.R. Tolkien

It appears at first sight helpful that the newspaper added a footnote to explain that:

"Many famous names including Tolkien, Jane Austen and Lord Alfred Tennyson stayed at The Three Cups. Owners Palmers Brewery have now applied for planning permission to convert the building into shops and apartments, retaining the Georgian front, with a restaurant and letting rooms behind."

However, this is misleading. The plans are not just to "convert" the building but to demolish a large part of it and obliterate the interiors which the famous guests would have known. And, of course, it will no longer be a hotel open to the public.

Thank you Ted for this valuable contribution to the cause of saving The Three Cups AS A HOTEL. I would encourage anyone reading this of like mind to write to the newspapers, particularly the View From Lyme Regis ( and The Bridport News (

Now that Palmers plans are registered on-line, anyone who wants The Three Cups Hotel saved from demolition should send their objections (or "comments" as they are euphemistically called) to West Dorset District Council. To do this, go to the Application Details page as described above and click on the button to “Make a comment” at the bottom.

Please don't let Palmers and West Dorset District Council get away with their plans to rob us of our literary and architectural heritage.

If you would like to know more about Ted Nasmith's work, click on this link:


Post a Comment

<< Home