The End of the Partlands Hotel
Built in the 1860s the Partlands had a chequered history, with many changes of landlord and brewery ownership. It appears to have had swings of popularity, enjoying halcyon days, thriving on its regulars, famed for its quiz and petanque teams but also on occasions threatened with closure and its tenants facing bankruptcy.
In 1874, Mr. Ernest Hayles, the landlord of the Partlands Hotel, applied for an extension of time for two hours on Monday evening, on the occasion of a ball at his house. The Mayor informed the applicant that under the new Act he could not have dancing on his premises. If they allowed him to do so, they would be obliged to have him summoned for what they gave him permission to do. Under the old Act there was also no dancing allowed on licensed premises. Mr. Hayles said that the Bench had granted extension of time on former occasions when there were dancing parties. The Mayor explained that the magistrates, when they granted the applications, were not aware that any dancing was to take place. In this case they refused the application.
It was reported in August 1883 that the Partlands Hotel Club had their annual outing on Monday, starting about 9 o’clock in a four-horse brake for Blackgang, returning by way of Newport. A most enjoyable day was spent.
There were certainly some good times. In July 1884 the Band of the Ryde detachment dined at the Partlands Hotel. Lieut. Flux presided, and a very pleasant evening was spent. Many events such as this were in evidence over the years.
It was once famed as the grottiest pub, not only on the island but in the whole country after a survey carried out by the News of the World. At the time they displayed a banner proudly announcing that they were the worst pub in Britain. The Isle of Wight pub guide of 1997 reported that this had led to a boom in business; people just had to go and see how bad it was! This boom was much appreciated as in the mid 80s, SPAG (Save Partlands Action Group) had secured a stay of execution but the pub had actually closed for a time in 1996.
The Winter 2005 issue of Wightwash reported that, “The once famous grottiest pub on the Island has closed its doors for the last time (probably!) The Partlands Hotel, recently known as Lily Deacon, looks set to be converted into housing since being boarded up in November.”
In 2006-7 the process of demolition began.
A later press report stated, “The first residents have moved into Swanmore Court, the new housing complex in Swanmore Road, at the junction with Partlands Avenue and formerly the site of the Partlands pub, also known as the Lily Deacon for its last few years.”
Sources: RSHG Archive, IW Observer
Images: Dave Bushell, Tony Gale
Article: Ann Barrett