The Royal Clarence Hotel
The Hotel was purchased by Ann-Marie and Paul Chatwin in March 2013 and has undergone extensive redecoration and modernisation since.
A new fire alarm system was installed in the first week as we discovered the existing one didn't work; despite having guests occupying rooms. The plumbing has been upgraded, electrics rewired and four new ensuite guest rooms were added.
We have also built a dedicated reception area on the ground floor and now have several brand new holiday apartments available.
The redecoration of our communal corridors is near completion, new carpets have been installed and the upgrade of our sea front veranda is set to capitalise on the stunning sea views and magical sunsets.
This old coaching inn welcomed weary travellers when Burnham was little more than a small cluster of cottages and a Church set behind windy coastal dunes.
Built as a coaching inn, these are the oldest licensed premises left in Burnham. The earliest known deeds date from 1792. This was the period when the future King William IV was still the popular Duke of Clarence. It is hard to believe it is as old as that when there was really no village here then.
The Hotel was originally built at the head of a causeway which extended from the sands to the brink of the river. It was more than once swept away by floods during its construction. The hotel is certainly likely to have been linked with the first activities of the neighbouring Spa development in the 1820‘s.
In 1836 it was reported that “the hotel is about to be re-opened” The main entrance archway was on the side, (now Regent St), not the front, because no Esplanade then existed, there being only grass and dunes from the building to the beach. It was under this archway the horse and carriage would have delivered their customers.
In 1838 the owner Mr W.Clements had an area with its garden of three rods, 14 perches for which he paid a tithe of 4 shillings and 2 pence, (22p) plus a boat house and rabbit warren and sand dunes of 10 acres. An advertisement in 1903 states ’an inspection pit for motor cars is upon the premises and a motor car, carriages and horses are for hire’.
Of interest – George Pruen is the best remembered landlord here as he had an 1898 Daimler Wagonette in which he used to collect his customers from the railway station in the 1930’s. This vehicle, which used to frequently back fire resulting in very loud bangs was affectionately known as ‘Fiery Liz’, as local residents could hear its backfire ‘from one end of the town to the other’.
Fiery Liz is still on display at the Haynes Motor Museum. It was made at the Motor Mills factory in Coventry and would have cost £373 when new (around £40,000 in today’s money). It also served for a spell as a school bus.