Sunday, 14 February 2016

Look into life of luxury lost to the 1911 blaze

THE dramatic story of how Ulverston’s County Hotel was gutted by fire a century ago was told in Saturday’s Memories – but what did the rooms look like before the blaze?

Maurice Atkinson, who many readers will recall from his Ulverston carpet shop, kindly loaned a booklet given to hotel guests around 1900.

It shows all the main public rooms and gives some fascinating details on what it cost to live the life of leisure.

Arthur Kirby was the proprietor and the hotel’s telephone number was the easy-to-remember 33.

A single bedroom was 4/6 (22p) a night with seven shillings (35p) for a double.

Breakfast was extra and cost a half-crown (12p). Lunch was the same price and dinner was four shillings (20p).

En-suite rooms were still a thing of the future in Ulverston.

Using the hotel’s bathroom was sixpence (2p) while to have a bath and hot water brought to your bedroom was a shilling (5p).

Most people would have arrived by train, but while you were in Ulverston the hotel had every means of transport available.

The booklet noted “Landaus, Victorias and all kinds of carriages, with india rubber tyres, can be obtained from the hotel stables, which comprise a large number of loose boxes, coach houses etc.

“They are the most complete livery stables in the country.

“Char-a-bancs and coaches may be had for picnic parties.

“There is also a motor garage.

“Saddle horses and hunters are kept for those wishing to indulge in those delightful pastimes of hunting and rising.”

Although the hotel trade came to an end with the fire of October 9 in 1911 it did provide the site for what became the Coronation Hall.

Mannex’s Directory of Furness and Cartmel, from 1882, gives a little of the history of the original building.

It noted: “The County Hotel, formerly called Lightburne House, was the residence of the Gale family, and latterly of A. Brogden, Esq., M.P.

“It was altered and extended in 1878 and converted into a commodious hotel.”

The Coronation Hall cost £8,513 and the foundation stone was laid in 1914.

The stone can still be seen in the entrance hall bearing the inscription: “This stone of the hall built to commemorate the Coronation of His Majesty King George V was laid on June 3rd 1914 by Myles Kennedy of Stone Cross Ulverston”.

The official opening took place in 1920 and took the form of a masque ball.


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