Kirstine’s book reveals history of Exmouth hotel 28 years after her death
PUBLISHED: 09:55 25 May 2017
A new book is to give readers a look behind the scenes of an Exmouth hotel during the 1940s and 1950s.
The Seagull Hotel tells the story of how the eponymous establishment was set up by two young war widows.
It was written by Kirstine Richards, based on the diaries she kept while running the hotel with friend Gerdy Ramsay between 1945 and 1959.
Kirstine never sought a publisher during her lifetime and her manuscript lay almost forgotten among her papers for decades until it was re-discovered by her son, Dr Nick Richards, three years ago.
He joined forces with his sister Louanne Richards to edit the manuscript and it is now being published for the first time - 28 years after Kirstine’s death.
Nick said: “I found it among a pile of my mother’s papers, which were gathering dust in a box, and was astonished. People who’ve read the book tell us it’s moved them to laughter and tears and say it’s so good, it should be made in to a TV series.”
The book explains how Kirstine and Gerdy, widowed with two children each to support, decided that the best way to earn a living and provide a stable family home was to run their own hotel.
They found a derequisitioned building, which had been used by American troops during the war, available cheaply, in Morton Crescent, and transformed it into a family hotel.
Nick said: “It was quite unique because the old hotels that were around at the time were very fusty and not very inspiring and they didn’t like children.
“The Seagull catered for families. It was busy all year round and it was known to be the main centre in the South West for gastronomic dinners.”
After its closure, the hotel was converted into apartments, now known as Seagull House.
The book is priced at £10, published through YouCaxton Publications.
A launch event, at which Nick will appear, will be held at Exmouth’s Glenorchy Church Hall on June 10, between 9am and noon.
Tea and cakes will be served, and there will be a brief presentation about Kirstine’s exploits running the hotel.