Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Seaside Writing Retreat!

From September, writers and history lovers will have the opportunity to book a gorgeous Regency seaside villa in Lyme Regis for their writing retreats. Belmont, which once belonged to Mrs Eleanor Coade, has been renovated by the Landmark Trust and will be taking bookings from July.

Eleanor Coade was born in 1733 and built up a hugely successful business manufacturing Neo-classical statues, architectural decorations and garden ornaments. These were made from high quality stone and graced such buildings as the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and Carlton House in London. Latterly her business was by Royal appointment to George III and the Prince Regent.

Eleanor came from a line of successful businesswomen. Her grandmother Sarah Endmarch ran a textile business in Devon and her mother, also called Eleanor, ran a linen business in London. In contrast to the successful female entrepreneurs in the family, Eleanor’s father went bankrupt twice. She however, went from strength to strength, managing her own artificial stone factory in Lambeth. As a proponent of women’s rights she left sums of money to female friends in her will as well as to charities, stating that her friends’ husbands had no control over the money she had bequeathed.

Eleanor’s uncle gave her Belmont, a two-storey Georgian seaside villa built in 1774. It is lavishly
decorated with Coade stone from her own factories. After years of decay, the house has been painstakingly restored to feature its original elegant Georgian windows, a parlour with sea views and a first storey sitting room with an iron veranda accessed in the Georgian style via a sash window.

Eleanor was not the only famous resident of Lyme to live at Belmont House. John Fowles wrote and published The French Lieutenants Woman whilst living there. It was his wish that the house be restored so that other writers could stay there and be inspired!


Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I enjoyed this post, Lynne. Am I right in thinking that the secret of the constituents of Coade stone has been lost?

Amanda said...

Fascinating post, Nicola.

Nicola cornick said...

I hadn't heard that about Coade stone, Elizabeth. How interesting! I will have to see if I can discover any information on the "recipe".

Nicola Cornick said...

Thanks, Amanda! I am pleased you enjoyed it. I'd love to visit!

Melinda Hammond/Sarah Mallory said...

What a wonderful place - a visit is definitely on my wish-list, thank you Nicola.