Historian wants Bognor Regis hotel owner to celebrate milestone

A HISTORIAN wanted the owner of the oldest hotel in Bognor Regis to mark its 175th anniversary.

Sue Kidd said the latest milestone in the Royal Norfolk Hotel deserved to be celebrated.

But she claims she was unable to involve its owner, Leisureplex, in the occasion.

Mrs Kidd said: “You would think they would be interested in the history of the hotel but they’re not.

“I know the fact they bring in coachloads full of people every week is good because it means the hotel will hopefully survive.

“But I just find it sad they are not interested in celebrating the anniversary with local people.

“They could have done something, but it is up to them if they don’t want to.”

Hotel manager Lucasz Jans said he was happy to allow Mrs Kidd a room to stage an event.

“It would be best between 11am or midday and 3pm-4pm on a weekday and Mrs Kidd is welcome to have somewhere like a coffee lounge for free for a special event,” he said.

“She wanted the hotel to organise something but we cannot do that.

“This is our busiest time of year and we cannot get involved in an event like that.”

Mrs Kidd wrote the definitive history of the hotel on the seafront at the junction of Aldwick Road and West Street in 2008.

But she had been unable to find out its opening date.

She continued her research and found an article in the Hampshire Advertiser dated February 25, 1837, which proved the first family arrived at the hotel on September 6 the previous year.

“The fact the hotel is 175 years old makes it a bit special for the town,” she said.

“Bognor people should be proud of it because there is very little of the past which is left in the town. So much of it has been, and still is being, destroyed.

“Most people don’t realise how old the hotel is.

“They probably think it dates back to the 1850s but it took at least five years to build.

“It’s a beautiful-looking building even though it has been altered over the years.”

The hotel is a Grade II listed building in which Leisureplex has made internal alterations to expand its capacity to 60 bedrooms.