The once impressive Skinburness Hotel was designed by leading Cumbrian architect Charles Ferguson in 1878 and constructed for Edwin Hodge Banks of Wigton whose family owned a small cotton mill.
Banks enjoyed the lifestyle of a wealthy country gentlemen, keeping his 30-foot steam yacht, The Neptune, moored nearby. He was declared bankrupt in 1889, setting an unfortunate precedent, and vanished from the area.
The hotel has since passed through many hands. Between 1916 & 1971 it was run by the government, as part of the Carlisle State Management Scheme and during WWI it was used as a billet for munitions workers.
Following return to private ownership it has never regained the glory of former times, having a succession of owners. The hotel has been closed since September 3rd, 2006, following the bankruptcy of its then owners (owing £1.2 million) and is currently boarded up.
An application for “listed” status was made by Skinburness residents in October that year and the following month English Heritage arrived for an inspection. However, they would have seen only an empty shell as scores of bargain hunters had packed into the hotel, which lies just along the Solway coast from Silloth, and bought items ranging from a staircase to cups and saucers in a bankruptcy “everything must go“ sale.
The hotel was sold to new owners for £450,000 at an auction in December 2007, attracting four bidders and selling for £70,000 over the guide price.
The new owners are System Cycle Ltd, a holding company for developers North Star Capital Projects whose plans involve the hotels demolition and replacement with a retirement “village”.