Established in 1882, the Fowey Hotel is located by the bank of Fowey River Estuary. It has classic Victorian architecture retaining many features, including a working period lift. The hotel is set in a landscaped garden with a second, lower garden area just across the Esplanade, which is right by the water’s edge. Here, in the summer, traditional Cornish cream teas are served overlooking the estuary.
The hotel was built at a cost of £5,000 to cater for the growing number of tourists now visiting Fowey. It was enlarged in 1891 at a cost of £14,000 from the design of Mr. Alex S. Clunes, a Fowey architect. During the First World War it was a convalescent home for officers. In 1940 it was requisitioned by the British government and was used by the Royal Navy until 1941, and by the U.S. Navy from August 1943 to June 1945. Like many other buildings requisitioned for troops there was damage. The manager reported the damage to be extensive with hardly a pane of glass remaining in the doors, and some completely broken. Most of the woodwork had knife marks in it and repairs took several months.
The hotel hasbeen host to many famous names, including Daphne du Maurier, Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and Kenneth Graham. It was whilst Kenneth Graham was staying at Fowey Hotel that he wrote arguably his most famous book The Wind in the Willows. There are many photographs depicting the hotel’s history displayed in the hotel, including letters from Kenneth Graham to his son (nicknamed Mouse).
Research Sally Penhaligon
Sources: The National Archives: WO 339/18077 WW1 Service papers of Lt. Albert Adams; Paul Richards, Rediscover Fowey, (Palace Printers, 1996); Interview with joy McCormack (Lounge Manageress of Fowey Hotel 02/02/12)