In 1809, a plot of land was purchased to build the hotel on, which cost £1,000. The foundation stone was laid eight years later, on 18 July 1818 by the granddaughter of the original landowner. The hotel was officially opened on 19 August 1819 by Mrs Greatheed, wife of the previous landowner Berties, accompanied by actress Sarah Siddons. The hotel opened as Williams Hotel, but 3 weeks later was renamed The Regent by permission of the Prince Regent (later George IV).
In 1830 Princess Victoria, then aged 11, stayed overnight at the hotel with her father. Eight years later from the balcony of the hotel it was announced that Victoria, now Queen, had allowed the prefix Royal on its name, which the town still bears to the day. The hotel then had more than 100 rooms.
The first of the Regent Hotel's set of sporting visitors stayed at the hotel on 8 April 1882. These men had held a few other meetings around the county and had formed a cricket team. It was on this date however that Warwickshire County Cricket Club formally came into existence. The Directorate of Camouflage, part of the Ministry of Home Security moved its main base in early 1940 from London to the hotel. The Directorate brought 250 artists, designers and technicians to the town who worked in secret on aspects of military and civilian camouflage. In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, according to Billy Wright's autobiography Captain of England the England national football team used to meet before they travelled to away matches abroad. More recently the cast and crew of the British comedy Keeping Up Appearances including Patricia Routledge, Clive Swift and Geoffrey Hughes stayed at the hotel whilst filming in Leamington.
The Hotel todayEdit
Since 1953 the hotel has been a Grade II* listed building. In 1998 the hotel fell on hard times and closed its doors. There was even talk of the hotel being demolished which led to an outcry amongst the residents of the town. In 2003 however it was decided that the hotel was to be extensively redecorated and refurbished as part of a scheme to regenerate the area around it. The hotel reopened in March 2005 with 54 rooms. The total cost of the work was £3 million. Although the facade had changed little, most of the ground floor is now used for as a Wagamama restaurant, although it also contains a small café. The hotel itself, occupying the other floors, is a Travelodge.
- "Regent Hotel". Historic England. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
- "Queen Victoria visits Warwickshire". Our Warwickshire. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- A history of the town
- Brief history of the hotel in a Warwickshire County Council report on the building
- History of Warwickshire Bears on their official website
- "History of Camouflage". leamington-camo.co.uk. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- Filming locations of Keeping Up Appearances
- The building's entry on britishlistedbuildings.co.uk
- Building company Wilson-Bowden's end of year report
- Local newspaper report on the opening of the restaurant