The History of the Royal Esplanade Hotel
In the early years of the 19th century, the bathing machines on the beach to the east of the pier were owned by Thomas Kemp trading under the title of “Kemps Original Royal Baths”. The bathing house with the hot baths together with a waiting room for those waiting to use the bathing machines was on the Esplanade.
In 1856 Thomas Kemp handed the business over to son Joseph, who continued to run the bathing machines. Over time more sand was being deposited on the beach and the bathing machines moved to follow shore line. The nearby hot baths on the Esplanade were becoming more detached and therefore less used. In 1865 Joseph Kemp decided the baths were becoming uneconomical and invited tenders for there demolition with a view to redeveloping the site.
It was decided to construct a hotel on the site and the architect selected was Francis E. Drake, in 1820 he had been an articled pupil of James Southwood who was an assistant to the well known architect Sir James Wyatville 1766-1840, [among other work he remodelled Windsor Castle in 1824]. The architect selected had offices Leicester and Hinckley, and was well known for his work on Congregational chapels and such buildings.
The new hotel was called “Esplanade Hotel” and was to be built by local builder called Parsons and Saunders and opened in1867. The hotel was an immediate success and by 1873 Joseph Kemp acquired the site to the west of the hotel which had been a brewery run by a Mr Clements. The brewery was then demolished and a new wing to the hotel was build, the work was carried out by a local contractor called William Newman.
In the mid 1890s Joseph Kemp sold the hotel, and it was renamed the “Royal Esplanade Hotel” and reopened under the management of Mr W. Bowland Cross. In 1898 Mr. Henry Sirkett became the new manager and was there until 1904. Information becomes a little vague around this time, but it would appear that the hotel was closed for several years.
It would appear that in 1910 Mr. Frank Band was running the nearby Marine Hotel and in 1912 he moved to take over the Royal Esplanade Hotel staying there until the late 1920s. On his retirement Mr. W.E.Gilmore became the hotel manager.
During World War II, part of the hotel was requisitioned and used by the Admiralty as a naval supply office and accounts function, it became known as HMS. Osborne, it remained a naval base until hostilities ceased.
After the war the hotel reopened under the management of Mr. G.W.Brown and so remained until 1956. It was taken over by the Bailey family who then ran it until 1996 when the hotel was sold to Shearing Holidays who now bring visitors on coach holidays to the island, and so it remains today (2011).
Source: Royal Esplanade Hotel, Ryde.This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:23