The first known building on the site of Alton House Hotel were those of the medieval leper hospital of St Mary Magdalen. At least some of the buildings were still standing in 1818 when the corner plot was sold off.
Four years later, the main property was sold and by 1828 a ‘lately erected mansion’ could be seen here. One of the first owners was Rev. John Banister who ran a gentlemen’s preparatory school.
In 1845, Alton House was bought by John Edward Spicer of the Paper Mill. He chose to live next door renting ‘Beckington House’ (as it was then called) out to various tenants.
1867 saw the property coming into the hands of Sir George Samuel Brooke-Pechell and the name changed to ‘Alton House’.
After Sir George died there were other occupiers including Mrs Bentinck who died in 1924. The house then stayed empty until 1932 when it was acquired by artist Charles Henry Duckett who tried to turn it into a Country Club.
Failing to pay it’s way it became the ‘Alton House Hotel’. When the mail steamer ‘Mauritania’ was broken up in 1935 it’s canvas swimming bath was installed for visitors to use. (The swimming pool no longer exists.)
After WWII the hotel was enlarged with the addition of the side wings, a banqueting hall and extra bedrooms – giving the elegant building we see today.
© Jane Hurst