History of the Hotel
A look back in recent history
Rob’s Mother and Father, Doxie and Thatch Wilson (pictured bottom left), purchased the hotel with a group of others, becoming sole owners in 1942. Doxie and Thatch, followed by Rob and Helen with their family, ran the hotel prior to it being bought by Simon Friend from Red Earth in 2017. Rob and Helen have fond memories of their time at the hotel, which have been shared here.
HELEN, WHICH FAMILY MEMBERS WORKED AT THE HOTEL AND WHAT DID THEY DO?
“Thatch worked in the bar, well, mainly in front of it. He wasn’t really bothered about having too many customers. He used to say, ‘If I were you mate, I’d go down the Dolphin!’ Doxie worked incredibly hard, running all aspects of the business. Sadly she passed away aged 65 in 1975 which is when Rob took over. When I first met Rob, working in the hotel was the only way I could get to see him. He was the hotel manager, and I did various jobs.
Everyone who worked with us was considered family. Chris Harper was the Chef for many years, and Woody the waiter everyone remembers fondly. We had a number of people from the villages who worked with us and we were delighted to host some of their wedding receptions at the hotel. There was also ‘Nan’. Doxie employed her as a Nanny to help look after her children. She very much became part of the family and stayed on at the hotel as the housekeeper after the boys grew up.”
WHAT SPECIAL MEMORIES DO YOU HAVE OF THE HOTEL?
“Working in the hotel was hard work with long hours, but good fun. I remember taking morning tea to all the rooms. There were no locks on the doors in those days – you just took in the tray!
Alex Moulton, a highly respected English engineer specialising in suspension design, became a regular. Alex used to bring his own steam launch with him and would bring coal in paper bags to feed the engine. We had frequent stays by film crews using the Yealm Estuary as a set, as well as several visits from cricket teams. We also recall Peppe the Macaw fondly too. Peppe became part of the hotel’s character and would greet regulars with an ‘ello’. He belonged to a friend of Doxie and Thatch who moved away and just left Peppe behind in the bar one day!”
WHAT DOES THE HOTEL MEAN TO YOU AS A FAMILY?
“It’s meant everything to us. We owe Thatch and Doxie for all their hard work. We’re so grateful for living here; the view, the peace and the magical memories of taking the children out on to the water every afternoon. Now we can do this with our grandchildren.
It’s special to us, but what Simon has planned for the hotel is lovely, and we look forward to seeing the finished development.”
14 Luxury Apartments
The Yealm Development consists of 14 luxury apartments, comprising the restored former hotel, two woodland area buildings and one beautiful contemporary house. See the entire development by clicking below.
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