Set in 14 acres of private woodland and gardens, the Abbey House hotel was designed in 1910 and built in 1914 by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869 - 1944).
The original sandstone mansion was the home and guest house of Commander Craven, Chairman of Vickers Ship building. Many dignitaries came to stay, including King George V the Prince of Wales, The Queen mother whilst she was the Duchess of York, and even the Prince of Siam. They visited for the launching of ships and for conferences and enjoyed the local hospitality.
The great Abbey hall has remained the same, the main bar area was the original billiard room, the restaurant was the drawing room, the stable bar was used as the dining room, the Furness room was a private sitting room and just off that was the Lutyens which was used as the card room. The reception area of the hotel and back office were used as the servants hall.
In 1951 the building was taken over by Barrow Borough Council and was primarily used as a home for the elderly. We still have the occasional visitor who remembers it as this. The home was closed in 1983 as it was deemed to be uneconomical and fell into disrepair.
The present owners (Kilroe Family) bought the premises in March 1986 and converted the main building into the hotel that you now see today. The new extension was added and opened in 2000, ensuring that the original style and elegance of the building were preserved throughout.
Sir Edwin Lutyens designed over 3 dozen major English country houses and altered and added to many more.
He re-modelled Lindisfarne Castle and built Castle Drogo; both castles are now owned by the National Trust. Lutyens also designed Gertrude Jekyll`s Home.
He also designed the cenotaph in Whitehall, Thiepval arch on the Somme, the Viceroy’s house in New Deli India, the British Embassy in Washington and the magnificent Johannesburg Art Gallery.
Queen Mary’s dolls house was also designed by Sir Edwin and this stands in Windsor Castle.