The Collingdale was built in 1869 and when we bought it in 2003 we decided to do some research and popped into Ilfracombe Museum. They had a wealth of information and we found out that it had been an hotel or boarding house from at least 1882 and has always been called The Collingdale.
Over the years we have had a number of guests stay who have history with the Collingdale. Someone who was researching their family tree found that their great aunt owned it from 1891 until 1911 and run it as a boarding house. We also know that in the second world war American officers were housed here whilst they did their training on Saunton sands.
We had a gentleman stay last year who, as a child came to stay every year with his parents for 3 weeks in the summer for about 10 years running. He told tales of how, as every house on Larkstone Terrace was an hotel, it was a very busy area. Everyone used to spend the day at Rapporee Cove and Larkstone cove and as all the hotels offered full board they would come back for lunch and then go to Larkstone Café to play tennis or boules whilst all the parents sat and drank tea. They would then come back to the hotel for dinner and everyone dined together and then sat and played games in the sitting room. Plus the lady of the house would insist they all go to the Gaiety Theatre on Wilder Road on Saturday nights to watch her in concert!
Photo of Rapparee Beach in the 1950s courtesy of North Devon Gazette
What has prompted me to write this is that we had a lady staying this weekend who actually lived here for 4 years in the early 50s with her aunt and would help out with chores throughout the hotel. Luckily when she arrived Friday most of our other guests had not checked in so I was able to give her a guided tour of the house. Her bedroom as a child was room 8 in the attic and she was absolutely delighted to see it and regaled tales of things they would do, including having classical music concerts in what is our guest lounge with refreshments being bought up via the dumb waiter which still links between our office and what is now the bar.. who knows perhaps the gentleman that stayed as a boy may have been here at the same time.