I’ve always been interested in history of any kind.
When we’ve moved from house to house, I’ve always tried to find out about the past inhabitants and little anecdotes. It’s also interesting to see how buildings have been changed over the years.
This is no different now we’re in Torquay and I have set about trying to find out more about what is now The 25 Boutique B&B.
I’d heard that it was once a doctors’ surgery, knew that it was once called Glen Mona, and also that it was the Glenross Guest House when we moved in. Having been a hotel / guest house for many years, it’s perhaps been a little easier to track previous owners, and as Torquay is such a beautiful place to live, all the previous owners who are alive are still living locally in the area.
The people who sold us the property were only here a short time but still made some changes to the area of the house we live in, but apart from that, not much else apart from a small amount of décor and some new carpets.
Previous to that, the owners were here for around 15 years and updated bathrooms and bedrooms over the years.
One day we had a knock at the door off the couple who had the Glenross before them, and we showed them round – they had not been here for 21 years! They were able to tell us things they’d done, most of which was what we ripped out when we got here like ensuites when we were enlarging the rooms. They had 20 bedrooms at the time – we now have six, which we reduced from the ten it was when we moved in. It was also them who built the extension which now houses the dining room, Elberry and Watcombe Suites, but was a bar and four bedrooms in their time.
Wanting to go further back, I put a shout out on some local Facebook groups and was quickly contacted by someone whose mother used to run the Glenross and he was a little boy at the time. I invited them to take a look round, which they did last week, having not been for over 30 years.
Sheila Dixon was here from the early sixties to the early eighties and it was fascinating talking to her as we walked round the building. Her son joined us and was able to fill in some information too.
When Sheila and her husband bought Glen Mona, the previous couple were quite elderly and had been renting out part of the house to a doctors’ practice. The doctors were due to move out when they moved in, but due to an issue with their new practice, they had to stay for a further twelve months. What is now our office was a consulting room, and our drawing room was the waiting room. What is now our cleaning cupboard led to the other consulting room.
Once they had moved, our current reception was built on as a games room and the waiting room was turned into a guest lounge. We know that in the late eighties / early nineties this became a bedroom, which we then returned back to its original use as a guest lounge.
Many of the rooms we now use as our own accommodation were bedrooms in those days, and our bathroom was Kevin’s (Sheila’s son’s) bedroom, tiny though it is. Our utility room used to be a shared bathroom, and what we know as the scullery was once their lounge / bedroom, hence the old wall light fittings, now no longer used, but we always thought a strange feature to have in a kitchen area.
In those days, there was only one bathroom per floor – for 14 bedrooms! En-suites weren’t seen as the necessity they are nowadays. I can’t imagine having to queue in a morning along with the other guests.
There were tales and stories at every turn and we had a lovely time reminiscing.
We hope to be able to add even more information over time and it would be great to find out about the house’s early years – we believe it was built around 1913.