The History of The English Inn
The Rosemeade, Thomas Harry Slater, Samuel McLureThe English Inn manor, originally called “Rosemeade”, was built in 1906 for the Yorkshire-born realtor and developer Thomas Harry Slater, who brought over artisans from England and Scotland to work on the project. Victoria’s most renowned residential architect, Samuel McClure (a one-time Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company telegrapher) designed the Tudor revival home. The manor displays fine examples of the trademark characteristics of McClure’s design, including the expansive roof with large front gables and bracketing finials, stone bas and tapering columns to the roof-line, and the large paneled front hallway and grand staircase.
The manor at the English Inn is the only existing example of McClure’s work in Esquimalt, but many of his homes still grace Victoria’s streets. One of these homes includes Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University.
In 1917, the English Inn’s manor house began to have a number of different occupants, including Senator (later Sir James) Lougheed, a prominent Calgary pioneer and lawyer, who became the Conservative leader in the Senate after Sir Mackenzie Bowel retired in 1906. A well remembered Victorian, the late Mrs. Tyrell Godman, resided here in the early 1920’s. She was the oldest surviving student of Metchosin School and was the founding member of the Craigdarroch Castle Preservation Society. She also had many other activities. During the Second World War, the Rosemeade was used for the naval officers and it was called “Stag Holm”.
In 1947, this fine Edwardian half-timbered style of home received a new lease on life and was purchased by a Yorkshire couple, Rosina and Sam Lane. They would create the hotel that became well known as the Olde England Inn on Lampson Street. The name of this street was likely derived from the Lady Lampson, a ship that once anchored nearby the Esquimalt Harbour. Lady Jane Lampson was the wife of Sir Curtis Miranda Lampson, a deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company and a promoter of the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. The Lane’s filled the house with armor and antiques and built a faithful replica of an Elizabethan street, Shakespeare’s birthplace, and Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Craftsmen came from England to thatch the cottage roof using straw for which 13 acres of wheat where grown especially. The Olde England Inn was renowned for its museum like quality, costumed staff and classic roast beef dinners. As the Lanes passed on, so did ownership of the estate which now lies in the hands of a local investment group.
Now run by LFC Lampson Hospitality Inc, the new business embraces the history and unique quality of the estate, acknowledging the roots of the landmark and the handsome municipality that surrounds it.