THE last of what was once a group of Railway Convalescent Homes will not be reopening after the coronavirus pandemic.
Bridge House in Dawlish had closed its doors in the spring as the lockdown started, having been offering convalescent and recuperative breaks to railway and other transport staff for more than 100 years. In the past there had been similar homes in Llandudno in Wales, Asgog in Scotland, and Margate and Herne Bay in south east England.
They were founded as the Railway Convalescent Homes Charity, and the chairman of the Trustees Colin Mills said they were now considering how to redefine the charity’s work for the future.
He explained that the number of visitors had been falling over the past ten years, and that the pandemic had been ‘a stretch too far’.
In a letter to past clients, he continued: ‘To the many who have visited and have experienced that high level of our hospitality afforded at Bridge House, and left with high accolades for Annette and her team, a big thank you from all of us for your support and understanding.
‘We have always enjoyed your company and are sorry to bring you this news.’
Bridge House itself dates back to 1793, and it is believed that Charles Dickens wrote part of Nicholas Nickleby while he was staying there. Another famous guest later on was Edward VII, who visited Dawlish with his mistress Lily Langtry in the early 1900s.