News from Budock Vean

Blog: A slice of Budock Vean history

As life slowly returns to something close to pre-pandemic, we turn our attention to life at Budock Vean in the 1930s, and how the hotel became a holiday retreat for 20th century film makers and artists.

In 1930, after a visit to the deserted manor house, Harry Parkinson and Eddie Pilgrim began a major refurbishment. Three years later Budock Vean was opened as a country house hotel, welcoming its first guests in 1933. The process was sped along with the arrival of Walter Bartholomew, a friend of Parkinson, who put forward £10,000 for the manor’s development. At this point the manor house became what we now know it as today: Budock Vean Hotel, first appearing in The Sphere’s register of British Hotels in October 1933. The new hotel was eagerly anticipated, with hopes that its golf and tennis facilities would attract tourists to Falmouth, and that its development would make the district more accessible.

In 1937 Walter Bartholomew’s interest in the hotel was bought by Canadian Mr H Whiteside. Mr Whiteside was a confectionary manufacturer who, amongst other things, introduced Sun-Pat peanut butter into the UK.

Parkinson returned to Budock Vean as managing director. Just as Parkinson and Pilgrim designed the hotel to be a first-class experience, Whiteside aimed to create an atmosphere of more than just a conventional hotel, but of a family country house.

A regular clientele was established, including several figures from show business, such as George Black, managing director of the London Palladium, and film distributer C M Woolf along with his sons John and James, who were involved in the production of feature films such as The African Queen (1951). Now, try as we might, we can’t find if there’s any connection to C M Woolf and Virginia Woolf – can that really be a coincidence? If anyone knows we’d love to find out more.

Today Budock Vean remains a popular, family run, country house hotel attracting people from all corners. Our long held links with Cornwall’s thriving arts community remains firmly in place. Throughout the hotel you’ll see beautiful art depicting the local area by artist Maxine Hart, pottery by Charlotte Jones and gorgeous hand-built model boats dotted around. Our roots go deeper too with longstanding support for Cornish theatre company Miracle Theatre, ongoing support for the arts programme run by our neighbours at Trebah Gardens and our own support of local performers through our winter strand of live performance event nights.

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