Inverness Court Hotel
The original house on the site probably dated from the late 1850s but it later underwent radical alteration and enrichment, amounting almost to rebuilding. Mr Louis Spitzel, a merchant banker, took a 99 year lease in 1905 and the theatre was probably made for him. He died the following year. The house became a hotel in 1966 and was reopened after refurbishment in 1972.
The house front is of stone in an elaborate Franco-Flemish style which must have made it stand out in an area whose older buildings are predominantly stucco Italianate. The interiors at upper ground and first floor levels are panelled and painted in opulent taste, equal to the most elaborate contemporary work in Mayfair. The private theatre in the upper ground floor rear room is a rare survival, a spectacular plaything, contrasting with Normansfield (q.v.) which was intended to work for its living.
It originally consisted of two rooms, the front circular and domed (the auditorium), the second (the stage) rectangular with a proscenium arch between them. Both rooms had much Rococo plaster ornament and the domed room was mirror-lined with a movable bombe-fronted balustrade, presumably to enclose the seating area. The rooms were flat-floored, with the rectangular room raised up a few inches. There was nothing in the way of stage equipment since this type of private theatre was normally fitted up when required.
Sadly the 1972 alterations to the building destroyed the rectangular room.
There is a persistent tradition that the theatre was created for Lillie Langtry by her Royal patron. Their affair was notorious twenty years earlier when he was Prince of Wales but by 1905 he was king. No evidence has been found to support the story but without positive disproof it is likely to go on running.
In 2008 the building is undergoing repair and restoration by architects Dream Design & Architecture for use as a hotel for Guest Invest Limited.
- 1905 - 1910: probably
- 1905 Design/Construction:Mewes & Davis- Architect
- 1905 Owner/Management: Louis Spitzel
- 1905 - 1910 Use: probably
- 1966 Owner/Management: C G Hotels
- ListingIICommentprobably merits upgrading