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TMCNet:  Faded glory of spa's former hotels ; Nostalgia [Gloucestershire Echo (England)]

[December 14, 2013]

Faded glory of spa's former hotels ; Nostalgia [Gloucestershire Echo (England)]

(Gloucestershire Echo (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WE have the local historian Peter Stephens to thank for the period postcards you see on this page, showing hotels in Cheltenham that are no more.

With the exception of the Rodney Private Hotel, all the other buildings can be seen to this day, although they now fulfil different functions.

When the Regent Arcade was built in the early 1980s, the terrace end that had been the Rodney Hotel in Rodney Road was demolished.

It was replaced by the block that was at first home to UCAS and is now the offices of another organisation.

What is billed in the picture as the Thirlestaine Hall Hotel was until not long ago HQ of the Chelsea Building Society in Thirlestaine Road.

In the 19th century, however, it was home to one of the largest private libraries in the country.

Sir Thomas Phillips was born in Manchester in 1792. He inherited a house named Middle Hill at Bourton-onthe-Water from his industrialist father and so moved to Gloucestershire.

Bringing with him a substantial book collection, which he added to all his life, Sir Thomas had three daughters who were kept in full time employment cataloguing and indexing.

He also engaged a bookbinder and set up a printing press to produce still more volumes. When Middle Hall became too small, Phillips acquired Thirlestaine Hall, as it was then called and it took from 1859 to 1861, plus countless journeys by horse and cart, to transport the library from Bourton to Cheltenham.


Phillips died in 1886 and his collection was split then sold at auction for Pounds 50,000.

The house later became Thirlestaine Hall Hotel and has recently been converted into flats.

Also now split into apartments is the Montpellier Spa Hotel.

The building stands at the end of Lansdown Terrace opposite the Gordon Lamp and at one time was called the Gloucester House Hotel.

In this guise a town guide book advertised that it boasted "electric light and a corporation sanitary certificate".

You wonder how accommodating an establishment it was if these were the best attributes the proprietors could think of to promote the place. The postmark on the card that shows the Budapest Hotel in Bath Road is 1966.

This property is also flats, while further up Bath Road at the junction with Suffolk Road the building that used to be the Hotel Irving is now offices. Charles Irving, who was MP for Cheltenham from 1974 to 1992, was managing director of this hotel.

It was a favourite with actors and musicians appearing in the town. The late Roger Crabtree, a well known local musician in the 1950s and '60s, once showed me a photo from his album of a jam session in the hotel bar with himself and others accompanying Tommy Steele who had given a show in Cheltenham.

Other Cheltenham hotels that have disappeared within living memory include the Langton in Bath Road, Eltham Lawn in Lansdown Road, Pyatt's in St. George's Road, Beeches in Suffolk Square, County in Bayshill Road, Majestic in Park Place, Royal in the High Street and the Star in Regent Street.

More picture postcards from Peter Stephens' collection showing long gone hotels in town will appear in the Echo's daily nostalgia page in the week ahead.

If you have photos of local people, places and events from days gone by, why not share them? We'd love to hear your recollections too.

Email robin.brooks @glosmedia.co.uk or send to Nostalgia, Gloucestershire Echo, Third floor, St James's House, St James's Square, Cheltenham GL50 3PR (c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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