2.3 Hotels of the United Kingdom


Eyre’s Hotels of the United Kingdom appeared first in 1879 (for 1879-1880) and again in 1881 but the indications are that it was published annually. The title page of the first issue promises “Published Every Alternate Year” while the title page of the 2nd edition promises “Published Annually”. Eyre’s Hotels of the United Kingdom was a lavish affair with red borders to each page, gilt edges and a very attractive cover with colour illustration. Besides maps of north and south Wales, Scotland and Ireland, there were 37 Philips county maps and a plan of the London area[i]; i.e. a complete atlas of the British Isles (Fig9.). These volumes were also bound by E Symmons & Sons of Bouverie Street in Fleet Street. Apart from advertising themselves as agents for the French Directory the only Eyre adverts are for their Watering and Visiting Places. Despite their announcement in the Introduction to the second edition that Our first issue of the Hotels of the United Kingdom which appeared in 1879, was so well supported that we decided to make it an annual publication relatively few examples are known. An advert in the Second Edition of their Plymouth Directory (see below) does advertise the forthcoming Fourth Edition for 1883 and one further edition has been recorded for 1886 and this is listed as the 7th Edition, so it would seem the work was indeed published annually. This later edition (published annually) has the slightly extended title Eyre’s Hotels of the United Kingdom and Continent. There are six collotypes included, with one of The Strand in Torquay (no.6). 


Fig.9. Map of Devon in Eyre Brothers´ Hotels 1st edition from Philips Handy Atlas map.

 The Introduction attempts to assure the reader that: it is not merely a list of advertisers, but is a reliable list of almost all the bona fide Hotels of the United Kingdom. The arrangement of each volume was the same with a complete guide to London followed by a gazetteer of the UK. In the second edition the maps are placed between these two sections. The List of Advertisers is long with Eyre Brothers having ads on no less than 12 pages with most being for directories or for Watering and Visiting Places (Fig.10.). From Abbeyleix to Youghal the 150 pages of the gazetteer list well over 1000 locations.

One pocket edition of this gazetteer guide is recorded. This has the title Eyre´s Hotel Guide for Everybody: where to stop and a note inside states: Published annually with Eyre´s Hotels of the United Kingdom and Continent, established 1879, giving also railway fares, market days, half-holidays, and all the provincial places of amusement. This was a small affair with just 36 pages and although the only copy known has an accession date in 1889, the last year for which Eyre Brothers publications have been found, an advert in the Fifth Edition of their Plymouth Directory (see below) does advertise the forthcoming 11th Edition of the full Hotels and announces; Recognising the increasing favour accorded to the above Guide [Hotels], the Proprietor has decided to still further popularise the work by issuing together with the above, A Railway Bookstall Pocket Edition. As the directory was published for the first time by W H Hood for the 1890-91 year the pocket edition known could be the first (and only) issue. 

Fig.10. Advert for Watering Places inserted in Hotels of the UK


[i] This has Eyre’s imprint below and is signed DOLLING SC.


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