A Brief History of Sharrow Bay

Sharrow Bay's story begins when the original building – a fisherman’s lodge dating back to 1840 - was advertised for sale in the Manchester Guardian in 1948 as ‘a mansion on the edge of Ullswater with 12 acres of grounds and formal gardens’ – and Francis Coulson bought it.

Francis arrived by train with a suitcase and a saucepan tied to the outside. He had very little cash, no experience and a great deal of faith.

With the property’s magnificent views of Ullswater and its surrounding fells, Francis felt that if he worked hard, then he could probably be successful. With the help of some friends, who were mainly unpaid, he created four bedrooms and opened Sharrow Bay in the spring of that year - coining the phrase ‘country house hotel’ to describe it.

Food and petrol were still being rationed after the Second World War, there were no major roads in the area, and the English Lakes was not considered a fashionable destination at the time.

Nevertheless, by producing remarkable, homemade afternoon teas, making people feel at home and charging two shillings and sixpence (12.5p in today's money), Francis succeeded.

Magnificent views of Lake Ullswater and its surroundings

In 1952, he was joined by Brian Sack, whose original intention was to stay for just the summer. His arrival began a 46-year friendship of leadership and continual innovation in hospitality. In 1994, both Francis and Brian were awarded MBEs for their services to the industry.

Sharrow Bay is once again under private ownership and continues to be managed with the love, kindness and attention to detail for which the hotel is renowned.

To find out more about the history of Sharrow Bay, join our expert historian for a private history tour followed by either lunch or afternoon tea, contact us on +44 (0)1768 486301 or email info@sharrowbay.co.uk

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