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Clevedon > Royal Pier Hotel
Royal Pier Hotel
Rear of Royal Pier Hotel, 2022
Photo © Steve Turner
The Royal Pier Hotel was situated at 5
Marine Parade. Grade-II listed in
2001 as 'Hotel, now public house'. Originally known as Rock House it was
built in 1823 by Thomas Hollyman. Local architect Hans Price extended it in
1868-69 for a Mrs Perry in time for opening of the pier and it was renamed
Rock House & Royal Pier Hotel. W G Coles took over management prior to WWI
and remained there until 1920 when their son Vivian took over. He died in
1932 but his wife Ellen continued with it, helped by her children. Famous
visitors is said to have included Cary Grant, Tessie O'Shea and Ivor
Novello. Allied troops occupied it for much of WWII. Clevedon Sailing Club
was formed in the bar here in 1947. The Coles gave up management of the
building in the 1950s. It closed in October 2001 after being used as Blitz
nightclub and bar from the 1990s. It was saved from demolition by public
opinion. One end was ruined by fire in May 2003 with the nearby historic
pier closed after the heat weakened a chimney breast leaving it in danger of
collapse. Despite the listing, the 20,000 sq ft building was converted into
17 luxury apartments, with the facade retained, in 2014-16. Architects were
O’Leary Goss and Wotton Donoghue developed the design and produce all
working drawings and details for Freemantle Developments Ltd. A search of my
directories reveals; 1889 Otto O'klemm manager; 1897-1902 Alfred Brice
manager; 1914 Henry Thomas Haynes Manager.
Hotel, now public house. 1869
remodelling by Hans Price; extended circa 1890s. Rock-faced snecked stone
with freestone dressings. Steeply-pitched slate hipped and gabled roof, the
original iron ridge cresting is missing. Axial and gable-end stacks with
stone and rendered shafts.
Plan: A long range, designed in two distinct parts; built into cliff with
entrance at higher level on landward east front and lower seaward elevation
at rear [W] with projecting circa 1890s bar extension on right [SW].
Victorian Gothic style.
Exterior: 2 storeys, attic and basement. Asymmetrical 3:3:1:2:1 bay east
front; depressed 2-centred arch windows with alternating rusticated
voussoirs, quoins and 4-pane sashes; on left canted bay with steeply-pitched
hipped roof, stone frieze below eaves inscribed ROCK HOUSE HOTEL and
projecting porch and integral bay with shouldered head doorway and windows;
2-storey gabled porch at centre, left bay set back with corbelled gabled
oriel in the angle; small gables and triangular dormers. Left [S] return has
similar depressed 2-centred arch windows and chimney breast with integral
corbelled gable with stack above. Rear [W] elevation facing sea has basement
level, circa 1890s bar extension projecting on right, two gables with
arch-braced bargeboards, three steeply-pitched gabled dormers and similar
depressed 2-centred arch windows.
Interior retains some C19 joinery, including open-well staircase with turned
balusters and moulded mahogany handrail, and bar with panelled front to
counter, panelled doors and moulded elliptical arches.
Note: The Pier, its tollhouse and The Royal Pier Hotel were built in 1869,
the hotel to provide refreshments and accommodation for visitors brought by
steamers who disembarked at the pier. The hotel is a remodelling of the
earlier Rock House Hotel which existed in the 1820s.
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