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Death of a Victorian villa

On a hill overlooking the main beach of Torquay (SW Coast, England) stands one of the last original Victorian villas yet to be turned into expensive apartments.
Built from locally quarried limestone around 1850, it served as a private residence before conversion into a hotel when the tourist industry grew in the bay.

After the boom years in the 60's & 70's though, and as tourist tastes changed (especially with the explosion in car use and the need for on site parking) the visitor numbers dropped and the hotel finally closed in 2002.
The final nail in the coffin came in Feb 2009 when fire broke out, damaging some of the roof. The last year and a half of rain entering the building has contributed to the deterioration of the 160 year old property, meaning it is scheduled for demolition soon, to be replaced with 14 modern apartments when planning permission is aproved.

With this in mind, I took a last look around the place with a couple of friends, before we're no longer able to afford the view for ourselves Wink Lol

This is a scan of an old picture postcard I have showing the building many years ago...

Current view from the roof...

Inside, sadly trashed...

One of many missing floors between rooms...

...RIP Conway Court Hotel Sad

6 blog comments below

Nice photos! Thanks for posting them. Are all the surrounding buildings modern ones now?
deanhills on Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:40 am
Cheers Dean, the whole row of buildings have either been demolished and newly built or undergone massive conversion like this property next door but one... the way, a small two bedroomed apartment there is currently on the market for GBP 450,000 Shocked
watersoul on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:09 pm
Destroyed by fire

Walking home from a friends last night it was a scene of emergency sirens and blocked roads - The Conway Court hotel has finally been torched, I was just surprised it took so long to happen.
80 firefighters at the scene with nearby homes evacuated as the 4 story building burned ferociously.
The following pic is from as close as I could get due to road closures for the emergency services:

So far the reports are that no-one was injured, but an investigation will certainly be carried out to see how a leaking, rain dampened building with no gas or electricity supply, could suddenly burst into flames?

My guess is arson as I struggle to imagine even a discarded cigarette igniting anything in the soaking damp shell of that ruined building.
It also conveniently assists the developers with their new plans now because there are no issues with retaining any of the buildings original features.
Concrete and steel new-build is on the cards for sure, cheaper and easier yes, but another little piece of building history sadly lost.
watersoul on Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:04 pm
Tragic loss :/. It was a beautiful building, it's too bad that it was let fall into disrepair... And that human nature did its thing and destroyed it.
Ankhanu on Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:04 pm
I agree, ankhanu, that is such a loss to see such a beautiful structure go away. Thank you for the pictures (everlasting memories). RIP Conway Court Hotel.
standready on Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:23 am
I'm with both of you guys on this, and I feel a lil sad for every hand cut stone which will now end up as some forgotten hardcore base for a new road or whatever.
Too much romanticism about a building? Perhaps.
...just a pity the push-fit-bolt-on replacement
will probably be replaced again in half the life of
the building we lost this week.
watersoul on Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:28 am

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