A little of the hotel’s recent story and help to get your bearings by exploring.
The hall is a good place to start. The small, grey framed photograph of the 1927 swimming group is in honour of Ossie Morgan, the restaurant’s namesake, Chris’s maternal grandfather. A larger version dominates the restaurant.
Ossie was also the headmaster at the local Council School (click Ossie Morgan’s application for Headship in 1928) which is now the town Library on Greenhill Avenue. He believed that no child who lived near the sea should be unable to swim so undertook to teach them himself in the safe waters of the North Beach.
They were Quakers and ran it as a temperance hotel. Ossie’s very Welsh family from Llangatog, had refused to attend their wedding as he’d married a ‘Gog’ (Englishwoman).
On their death in 1963, their daughter, Mary Goleuddydd (Gly to friends and family – but hotel guests knew her as Mary – understandable with an unpronounceable Welsh name like that!) and her husband Peter, decanted themselves and their four children from Richmond in Surrey to take over the family business. An enormous task awaited them as the hotel needed major works and the impact of some post war rationing was still in evidence.
Life was very different then. To start with – horror of horrors – they established a bar. Ossie would be turning in his grave! Peter was at his post serving drinks each lunchtime and again from 6 until bedtime.
All staff lived in the loft rooms and each door had a small pane of glass – ‘for supervision’.
07.30 the day started with the chambermaids delivering early morning tea to the rooms.
Three meals were served daily- each announced to the guests by the GONG
08.30 – 09.30 for cooked breakfast.
Staff finished about 11.00 am and had an hour off before returning to serve the 3 course lunch at 12.00. Afternoons were free until 6pm when they began the preparation for dinner service – another 3 courses! Where did the guests put it all?
And between 9.30 and 10.30 pm Gly would be serving hot bedtime drinks – the Horlicks mixer still lives above the door on the way out of Reception.
The other large picture shows Ossie with his four children. The youngest, Rayner, added on separately as she was not yet born but wanted to be on the wall! She married the boy next door which was then the Croft Hotel, now Croft House Apartments, and is still there.
Pass through the restaurant to Seacroft – this is our small meeting room, named after what was originally No 5 the Croft. Here you will find a cabinet housing memorabilia of the Walled Towns Friendship Circle. In 1991, at the age of 70, Peter, founder and lifetime President, ‘had an idea’ and made it happen. Once he’d mastered computer use and email, it flourished to include 163 member towns worldwide. Please ask if you’d like more information or if you’d like to look more closely at some of the contents
Back now towards the pool. Here you will find a pictorial history of some of the developments of the hotel, including the installation of the lift in 1977 and the pool in 1984. A favourite is the picture of the first coach party in 1968: all those smiley ladies wearing hats, clutching their handbags.
Down the stairs takes you to our Dewi Sant suite, named after No 6 the Croft , then the St David’s Hotel – acquired in 1992. It will very likely be locked unless there is a conference or function taking place.
Take a right turn into our Games Rooms where you can while away the hours – especially if it’s raining, with snooker, pool (2 x 10p a game), table football, table tennis or carpet bowls. Enjoy the old enamel signs on the walls. They are originals collected by Chris’ brother James, responsible for a lot of Fourcroft’s fun elements.
Ask at Reception for opening times (varies seasonally).
Take the steps up to the back garden to the deliciously heated outdoor pool – often warmer in than out, though the back garden is a wonderful sun trap once the sun creeps over the rooftops in early afternoon. It’s well used between Easter and the end of October half term. Another mural can be seen on the far wall. This was painted by another family friend, Jacqueline Bateman, when the St David’s Hotel was incorporated in 1993 and a previous ‘Roman’ mural of hers was destroyed with the removal of the separating wall.
Back in and up the stairs to the conservatory, added in1988, a wooden dragon holds court above your heads. It was made by participants, mostly children, of one of the Hotel’s Fes Ty Fals many years ago – when the hotel used to close in the winter months.
The Prestrim – (the thing that looks like a gyroscope) was also installed in 1988 after James had seen one at a festival and thought it an essential piece of equipment no self- respecting hotel should be without. It works by harnessing your personal energy and centre of gravity. Try It. You’ll find muscles you never knew existed!
If you take the stairs back towards the sauna and turn right, past the changing rooms – you will see pictures of the swimming pool construction – quite some feat. No local contractor would entertain the idea as there was no access. However, Rob Bateman of Rio Pools, took up the challenge, dug the hole and ferried the soil in wheelbarrows through the dining room, out of the windows and down a plank into skips! Thank you Rob. He and his family and their pool business went from strength to strength and they’re still going strong in Gloucester.
Now back through the foyer and into Reception. The large painting of the hotel, with a little artistic licence, was done in 1975 by another family friend, Sasso – the little girl running on the beach is Ossie’s great granddaughter, now a successful lawyer with a family of her own.
The ‘Hollywood Mural’ has its own news cutting from 1976 displayed on the bar wall. The theme was decided when brother in law, Terry, passed Tenby Playhouse and retrieved a number of cinema seats from their skips. He and a friend made the stained glass canopy and the rest followed naturally, as donations from guests and friends. Note the references to Haggar’s Cinema on the way out to the car park. The projector is on loan from them (so far for over 25 years).
Through the door towards the lift, you will see a photograph of three rather Grim looking men. These are Gly’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Dickinson and her great uncles. Arthur, on the left, was a fine water-colourist as shown by the pictures hung in the lounge.
Left, into the Map Room, and you will see why it’s called that. James, Chris’ brother, and his wife Brigitte, worked alongside Peter & Gly for ten years and the maps, tins and old enamel signs are all their work.
Lastly, up the stairs to the lift (yes, we know it’s ludicrous but too costly to alter). There you will find one of James’ collections of old tins and memorabilia. Most, but not all, the items have been found in the hotel during past refurbishments.
Enjoy your stay and come back again, maybe with your family and friends.
Kath and Chris Osborne