Interview with One of Suffolk’s Finest Authors on His New Book
A View of Felixstowe from the Bath By Dick Moffat – £16.00
Following the chance finding of a nineteenth century visitors’ book for The Bath Hotel, this potted history unearths the fascinating story of Felixstowe’s first and foremost luxury hotel. Beginning in the 1840’s, and the brainchild of on the the Cobbold family, it ends in 1914, being completely destroyed by a fire started by two suffragettes, just before the outbreak of the war.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, isn’t it ironic that we celebrate the Suffregettes burning down the finest hotel in Felixstowe; one of the most iconic buildings in Suffolk, but we don’t celebrate The Bath Hotel for what it was; one of the first quality, classy hotels in the country (and in a time when wasn’t much, this truly meant something to the Felixstowe Town). People would come from all over to holiday and convalesce. The Suffragettes burnt down Sou thwald Pier, and so in anticipation of more piers being destroyed, security was high on all piers. So the next best thing to target was prestigious buildings. Every 2 months there is a book auction in Aylesham. I always go. When browsing through the catalogue addendum I noticed in th e word “Felixstowe.” I found that is was the visitors’ book of the Bath Hotel and the Cliff Hotel in Felixstowe, and I must have spent a good couple of hoursgoing through them, and finally bought them. The Bath Hotel was run by Quilter and his daughter up until 1907, at which point he had an altercation with Lord Tollermache (the co-owner) and left. Quilter went on to build the Cliff Hotel in 1908 and many of the original clients, visitors and staff from the Bath Hotel moved with him. Later the Cliff Hotel was turned over to a medical facility for the soliders during the war. The visitors’ book is full of notes, poems, drawings and articles from the Ipswich Journal in 1800, not least was the beginnings of the cricket club, golf club and tennis courts. The Felixstowe Tennis Courts was one of just five in the UK. People from all over came to play there.
Where can we buy your book and where will we see you next?
You can purchase the book from Poor Richard’s Book Shop, 17 Orwell Road. And I’ll be talking at the library for the Felixstowe Book Festival. www.felixstowebookfestival.co.uk