Like many businesses in Lynmouth, The Bath Hotel and The Ancient Mariner have been owned by the same family for a number of years – in our case, since 1951, the year before the terrible flood that devastated Lynmouth and changed the face of the village irrevocably.
The Bath Hotel is the large white building in the centre of the image, where the flood water reached in 1952.
But what is the history of the building, and why is it called The Bath Hotel?
Sections of The Bath Hotel go back to the 1880’s – the area that is now called ‘The Galley’, (what is now the cosy restaurant area just off from The Ancient Mariner bar and in-between the main restaurant room) was formerly known as The Pixie Dell – it’s the part of the hotel, bar and restaurant that looks like a cottage. This was the original part of ‘The Bath Hotel’, built by The Revd W Halliday.
The foyer of The Bath Hotel, circa 1910.
The Rhenish Tower, by Guy Harrop
The Bath Hotel was, as the name implies, a bath house in the Victorian era. The iconic Rhenish Tower (which was sadly destroyed in the flood of 1952 and rebuilt in 1954) at the mouth of Lynmouth Harbour, originally housed water tanks to pump sea water to The Bath Hotel for bathing, as the health benefits of salt water were esteemed by the Victorians.
As the popularity of Victorian coastal holidays grew, and the Victorian’s love of ‘Little Switzerland’ grew, so did the hotel with many sections being added. At one stage, there were 22 rooms, some of which have been merged to create more comfortable accommodation in the last sixty years, so that now there are 20 rooms.
The current generation of family to run the hotel have redeveloped the bar and restaurant areas into the popular Ancient Mariner, along with The Aubrey guest lounge, and work continues on development of the hotel rooms. In 2018, 4 rooms were fully refurbished in the Mariner Wing of the hotel, and this year work has begun on redevelopment of 6 further rooms on the Victorian Wing.
As a small, independent hotel, work takes time, but progress is being made and we will soon fully be able to honor the Victorian heritage of our fantastic hotel, bar and restaurant on the coast of Exmoor.