Do you know the history of the Invicta Hotel?
3rd November 2016
The Invicta Hotel on Lockyer Street overlooking Plymouth Hoe, has a long and interesting past. Today the building is an English Heritage Grade 2* Listed building with a history stretching back to circa 1845.
Built during the reign of Queen Victoria by the accomplished builder William Phillips on designs by the celebrated architect George Wightwick. George Wightwick worked with the renowned architect John Foulston. Foulston was Plymouth’s leading architect for some 25 years and was responsible for the creation of Union Street and Frankfort Gate. George Wightwick was originally from Wales but became based in Plymouth and is thought to be the first architectural journalist. He was also known as an amateur actor and comedian. Examples of his work can be seen here.
The properties original use was as two separate Merchant Traders’ houses and in 1941 the properties were severely damaged by incendiary bombs during the blitz of Wolrd War II, which also destroyed many of the neighbouring buildings. Sadly the then owner of the hotel, Reginald George Hyett, was killed in the gardens of the property during a bombing raid along with four milliary personnel who were trying to defuse a bomb.
Having owned the two properties since 1890 the Hyett family brought the two properties together and ran it as one business for the first time and named it The Osborne Hotel.
The buildings next life was as a hostel for the British Sailors Society between 1947 and 1950 before being refurbished in 1952 and renamed as The Invicta Hotel which it still operates under today. Commander Joseph Palmer RN was responsible for this and chose the name which means ‘unvanquished, unconquered’ which is very appropriate for a building that survived both the blitz and the regeneration of Plymouth.
Since 1968 The Invicta Hotel has seen several owners with the present being the Martin family who acquired it in October 2002.
Source – English Heritage, Plymouth Records Office, Property Deeds