The British Hotel Through the Ages

By Mary Cathcart Borer

A rich and detailed social history of inns and hotels in Britain, first published in 1972.

ISBN: 9780718895808


The first inns in Britain were built by the Romans, for the accommodation of road builders and government officials. Their history since then ranges from pilgrim hostels built by monasteries to coaching inns and palatial railway hotels. Throughout this book runs a rich vein of social history detailing the food, drink, furnishings and costs of British hotels. Travellers’ tales, both British and foreign, from the sixteenth century onwards, are quoted at length, so that the book comes alive with first-hand impressions. We learn how some of the Regency Hotels of London came into being, such as Grillion’s, where Louis XVIII stayed in 1814, and there are accounts of the early railway hotels, and the great provincial hotels of Britain’s coast and countryside.

Mary Cathcart Borer’s study still provides a detailed historical perspective of her subject almost fifty years on from its first publication, while at the same time offering a glimpse of contemporary attitudes to the rapidly expanding British hotel trade in the 1970s.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 138 mm
Pages 283
Illustrations 35 b&w

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Trade Information LGENPOD

About the Author

Mary Cathcart Borer (1906-94) was a prolific novelist, playwright and non-fiction author. She worked as a museum curator and archaeologist early on in life, but rose to prominence as a screenwriter for children’s films and television plays in the 1940s and 1950s. After this she focussed on non-fiction writing, covering subjects from King Alfred the Great to the Boer War alongside historical studies of various London boroughs. This is one of several books she wrote on British social history.


List of Plates

1. The First Inns
2. Medieval Inns
3. Tudor Inns
4. Inns of Stuart England
5. Georgian England
6. The Mail Coaches
7. On the Roads
8. Travellers’ Tales
9. High Noon of the Coaching Inns
10. The Coming of the Railways
11. The First Luxury Hotels
12. César Ritz and the Savoy
13. Back to the Roads
14. The Nineteen-Seventies