The constant and steady erosion of our heritage is unfolding right in front of our eyes.  Have we become so forward-thinking, there’s little appetite left for our past?  Is it really a cost issue, and if so what is the cost of losing all our history, relegating it to musty books in libraries somewhere that no one really pays much attention to?  At times I am afraid that no one will notice until it’s all gone and nothing tangible remains.  Today’s post finds us back at the English Inn & Resort on Vancouver Island, BC where we take a look at what might be some of the last pictures taken of this landmark.  Our photoblog series “Anne Hathaway’s Cottage At The Olde Inn” takes us one last time to the facility where we see the perfect replica of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and a handful of other period-correct buildings and features.

Anne Hathaways Cottage (Replica), English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

Anne Hathaways Cottage (Replica), English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

As I had mentioned in our previous post, “Springtime At The Inn“, this is a place that is near-and-dear to my heart, a place my mom brought us on special occasions for a wonderful family dinner and an adventure strolling the grounds.  My mom immigrated from Europe at a young age, and she always loved the architecture and features from that area.  Tudor style buildings, in particular, were her very favorites, and really no wonder there as they strongly resemble the homes and communities from the tiny town she grew up in.  As a direct result of this, I have come to love and admire these exact same things which now form a huge part of the foundation of our photography practice.

This picture gives us our first glance into the challenges faced with this facility.  Unused now for several years, this is an exact replica copy of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the wife of famed writer William Shakespeare.  Every attention to detail was taken into consideration when they were building this place, right up to the  exact copy of the date-stamp of Anne’s original home included in the chimney.  Thatched roofs of this kind are complex and expensive things to maintain and replace.  Here on the west coast of Canada, there are no experts readily available to work on things like this.  I am sure that people exist here who could do the work, but locating them and then finding a big budget to support this must be a task of daunting dimensions.  This makes scenes like this all the more poignant; the tarps that cover the roof today are a sign of what’s to come for the building.

As we glanced inside in an effort to create final memories, ones that we will hold dear as this landscape goes through massive changes and modern buildings begin to be built where these once stood, we noticed dark marks on the walls inside.  These are signs of water damage, undoubtedly a result of the poor condition of the roof.  And with things like this, what you can see is usually just the very tip of the proverbial iceberg…  the cold and damp climate of the island here has been relentless on this building, resulting in something that is likely well beyond reasonable cost to repair.

English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

What at first glance seems to be an inviting home created with Tudor styling nestled in the countryside of England soon takes on a deeper sense when you realize that this building is less than 60 years old, and today is one of the buildings on the grounds slated for demolition.  Our pictures certainly don’t tell the whole story.  Behind the lovely facade of this building likely resides a plethora of issues in terms of maintenance.

Are stories like these a result of dwindling interest in these kinds of connections to our past?  Are the troubles they find themselves in purely to be found in balance sheets and ledger books somewhere?  Times are changing, there is no way around that, yet there is something bigger at work here.  Some kind of force slowly taking away the vestiges of our past and replacing them with things that bear no resemblance to that which stood here before.  And over time, our collective memories fade until all that is left are some photographs and the stories of those who remember coming here as a child.

Thank you so very much for your kind visit today.  Please do stay tuned as we continue to shares posts from here over the next little while.  And in the meantime, we really appreciate your visit and would love to hear from you, please leave us some comments!  Until next time.

  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    So sad that these buildings have to be demolished. What a lovely place. The beauty of it certainly comes out in your photographs Toad.

  2. Lovely! Like you, I remember that place warmly – we had some infrequent, but very special family dinners there too. I’ve lost touch with many of my old Victoria haunts, since I’ve lived away from there for so long now. I seem to recall hearing some years back that the Old English Inn was slated for demolition, so was a bit surprised to see your images and heartened that it’s still standing…for how much longer, I wonder?

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I really don’t know for sure, Laurie, but we are really compelled to photograph these places before they may disappear, as a record and a memory for those who follow. Thank you so much for your kind kind comments and your visit today, it was a real highlight of our day for us!

  3. Wonderful job of recording these things for history’s sake… 🙂

  4. avatar Vicki Ruff-Grilli says:

    I will share and post this on my status, hopefullu someone with some interest, funding and resourses can help save this grand lady!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We really appreciate your visit and your terrific comments here, Vicki, thank you so very much!! We sure do hope to see you here at The Hollow again, best wishes for a terrific day there!

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    So sad to see our past being demolished Toad. Thanks to your images, there will be documentation of this place that conjures up memories of your mom. Love the images. The second one with the green foreground is killer.

  6. The photographs are beautiful (as always). As you kind of show here Mr Toad, it is a very hazy line that runs between architecture that has to be preserved and the areas or buildings that may have to be given up for modern developments.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That’s definitely a task I am glad I am not responsible for, that’s for sure. Thanks so much, Joseph, we really appreciate your kind visit and terrific comments here today my friend.

  7. I’m oohing and ahing over your photos, Toad. Yummy.

  8. avatar LensScaper says:

    A sad follow-on to your previous post, Toad. In the UK we have two powerful bodies – The National Trust and English Heritage – who because they are national bodies have the muscle, the status and more importantly the ability to bid for monies, to ensure important buildings that are in danger are able to be saved. The costs, the fund raising and the project management is beyond the capabilities of local communities. The impetus and the desire to protect heritage needs to come from the top or close to it. On an entirely different note, we were admiring the same green shrub that I note outside the English Inn and Resort, in the garden of my wife’s sister-in-law last week. By name a Euphorbia I am reliably informed. What a small world we live in!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What terrific comments here, Andy, thank you ever so kindly for taking the time to leave these!! It’s been confirmed on another site we’ve posted this shot, those are indeed Euphorbia in front of the cottage here, nice bit of noticing there! I really enjoy your comments on the aspect of preserving our heritage in our communities, it’s a subject near and dear to our own hearts.

  9. avatar ehpem says:

    It is so good that you are getting these pictures Toad. These places seem unlikely to last much longer. I hate to think how that thatch is rotting under the plastic. I bet it would be pretty easy to import a thatcher to do that roof. It might be a lot more difficult importing thatch if none is to be had in Canada., I can imagine the pest control and noxious weed regulations books being about 40 inches thick and chapters applying to thatch.
    Sadly there is no effective Federal heritage legislation in place in Canada – there are no penalties for disturbance of a National Heritage Site, which means there is little point in getting a commemoration. Provincially, places like this can be designated through local governments, or very rarely the Provincial government. Such designations do come with some protections, but if the owner is not cooperative, then likely also comes with a responsibility to compensate the owner for lost opportunities. Very limiting to protection. The top down approach that Andy mentions is missing here – the politicians very often come from the resource or urban development sectors and they view heritage as an obstacle to development. They don’t think much about tourism development.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’m very happy you weighed in on this one Ehpem, I was hoping you’d do so with your experience in the field. This is a topic that means an awful lot to us and we keep hoping that one day an appetite will be created to save places that are meaningful. As you so clearly mention, the loss of the tourism aspect of classic and historic places like this in our area is important, and very hard to measure. But, we realize this is a complex topic and in today’s economy it’s one that has a limited appeal.

  10. avatar ken bello says:

    It is sad to hear of the demolition of such a beautiful building. It’s fortunate that you were able to document the beauty before it’s too late.

  11. avatar Linda Otterstrom says:

    This makes me so sad. I have had the wonderful opportunity to stay at The Olde Inn a few times and truly enjoyed the Cottage each time. I was dismayed when booking our upcoming trip to Victoria to find out what is happening to this wonderful place. It seems that more and more we are losing our treasured places. Our children will miss out on some beautiful places to relive history. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos that brought back great memories

    • Thanks ever so kindly, Linda. I am sorry to hear of your disappointment in trying to book at the Inn. We totally agree with your thoughts here, both my wife and I are dedicated to documenting the true character of the island that we call home for just this exact reason… it seems that much of our heritage and history is disappearing, right in front of our eyes. We hope you come to Victoria this year on your holiday and enjoy it. Best wishes, and thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

  12. avatar Lawrence Berge says:

    Stayed there (by accident) with my parents, wife & 2 kids over 40 years ago….what a charming experience!! Hope there is a way to save it??!!

    • Hi Lawrence, thanks for popping by our little corner of the internet today and leaving us your comments! It was a really special place to many people, both locals and visitors alike. I believe that it might be too late to save this place as I write this unless some miracle has happened here recently I haven’t been made aware of yet. I am saddened to see us lose many of these types of places here on the island, and this actually motivates us in our practice to document as many of these sites as we can. Thanks again for your kind visit!

  13. avatar Howard Shakespeare says:

    It would be terrible to see these buildings demolished. Can nothing be done to save them?
    There are plenty of timber frame specialists in England. Peter McCurdy for example. His company constructed the Globe Theatre in London.
    Some years ago the Japanese created a Shakespeare Theme Park in the district of Chiba-Ken. The buildings include Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Mary Arden’s House and New Place. All these replicas were constructed in England by a company called Border Oak, and shipped to Japan for assembly. They even manufactured a replica of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, but it was never assembled due to planning regulations with regards to thatch in Japan.

    • What wonderful comments! It’s been last May since our most recent visit and fear the news won’t be good when we return. The entire location is owned by a private group with intents to build a modern facility here. At least they are planning on maintaining the heritage building that sits at the front of the site, but I am quite certain the fate is sealed for these buildings that were in the back. Many many thanks for your kind comments and encouragement here, Howard, we really appreciate it.

  14. avatar Howard Shakespeare says:

    Japanese replicas of the Shakespeare buildings are at “Shakespeare Country Park”, Maruyama Machi, Chiba-Ken, Japan. It may be worth taking a look to see what could be!
    Couldn’t funding for repairs be obtained from a charity? In the U.K. we have the Lottery Fund for such things.
    All lovers of the Bard will be very sorry to see these buildings lost.
    One final idea. To get the ball rolling, why not contact, “The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust”, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom.
    Good luck…..Don’t give up!

    • This place meant so much to me and my family over the years, it’s with a heavy heart that we see the state of things in their current form. I really really appreciate your kind words of friendship, support and encouragement here, we’ll be revisiting the site soon for an update although as I mentioned in my previous reply I suspect the news won’t be good under the circumstances… thank you so much for your kind visit and caring here, this means the world to us.

      • avatar Howard Shakespeare says:

        These buildings are wonderful. To knock them down to create a housing estate would be a crime. Have the media been involved?
        Lets face it, unlike in England, there is plenty of land in Canada!
        I wonder what sort of money we would be talking about to purchase the land from the developer. They can always go elsewhere.
        I could see this place being developed into an educational centre for the study of Shakespeare.
        As always the factor is money. But perhaps if the general public throughout Canada and the USA became aware of the situation, there just may be a way to raise funds?
        If you think anything can be done from my side of the pond, please don’t hesitate to ask.
        Finger crossed!

        • Thanks so much Howard! We haven’t been back in a few months for a follow-up visit yet and to be honest I am expecting the worst. I have been following the news and I know the new owners are anxious to get on with the proposed development. I hope to return soon for a follow-up check and if things haven’t progressed in terms of the new development we’ll be in touch. Thank you SO much for all your kind support and encouragement of saving these special places, I don’t believe enough people in the world share our passion for this and it’s wonderful to connect with like-minded folks like you. Please pop by again in the future, Howard, and best wishes to you and your family!

  15. avatar Angela Lewis says:

    I am so sorry to hear that Anne Hathaway’s cottage is disappearing. It was one of my favorite things in Victoria and the best place to take my children for a history lesson–one they never forgot! I especially loved the way they connected our current “sayings” with their origin. How many of us would have known there was an actual reason for the “cold shoulder” or “chewing the fat”? What an awesome place. It will be greatly missed.

    • Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment here, Angela, we sure do appreciate it. We do agree, this is a real loss for the city and the community. We’ve had many memories there ourselves. Wonderful comments here, my friend, thank you for taking the time to leave these!

  16. avatar Amelia says:

    I’m so disappointed to hear this awful news! I used to have lunch and tea at the Inn with my grandma, and have visited Ann Hathaway’s cottage and the grounds as a school trip when I was younger. I had hoped to use the Inn as my wedding venue, and unfortunately it can’t happen. Such great photos, thank you for sharing such great memories!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind visit and comments here today, Amelia! That means an awful lot to us! I am sorry to have had to be the one to share this news with you, we totally understand how terrific a venue this spot was for weddings. We have tons of personal memories there, as well, and we totally appreciate the deep connection we seem to all make with places like this. Thank you for popping by, we hope to see you here again at The Hollow!

  17. avatar rich says:

    Wow!!! Thats all i can say! I loved this place. Everytime I came to Victoria I came to The Cottage. Ive been there 4 times being from Vancouver, and was about to plan my 5 th visit to show someone who wanted to see for themselves the stories i told. Its horrible to see, but the value of History has been replaced with the value of a Dollar!!!

    • Hi Rich, so sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this facility my friend. Thank you so much for your kind visit and comments. We, too, have many wonderful memories from here and are very sad to see it’s demise. Best wishes, my friend, and thanks once again for visiting.

  18. avatar Barbara says:

    We spent two Christmases there years ago. They were wonderful experiences! The Christmas dinner and preceding pageantry are memories we won’t ever let go.

  19. avatar Susan Findlay-Nomura says:

    Thank you for these wonderful photos and commentary about The Cottage. My husband and I visited there in 1998 during our honeymoon on Vancouver Island. We were able to go on a tour of the cottage and I often remember how fascinating it was as the origins of many expressions such as “burning the candle at both ends” or “giving you the cold shoulder” we’re explained. My daughter has been learning about Shakespeare’s time and I was hoping to take her on a tour of the cottage. I am wondering what the current status is on this magical place.

    • I can’t find any updated information online that pertains to this facility, so sadly I don’t know what to expect at this time. Last we heard development was slated for this location, but I am not sure this has happened to be honest. Your best bet might be to call the facility yourself and ask them about current status. We live and work quite a ways away from here so don’t find ourselves in this area very often, but if we do in the near future I will be sure to let you know what we see. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting here, and we’re sorry we couldn’t be of more help to you at this time. Cheers for now!

  20. avatar Lorna says:

    Tonight, I thought to look up The Olde England Inn and came across this. Reading ‘demolition’ made me feel rather pensive, even after all these years. I remember this place dearly and with great fondness. We would go there for weekend getaways around 1980-84 from Vancouver. It was charming beyond expectations. We even use to stay in Hathaway’s Cottage. Yes. Few knew there was one room that, for a time at least, if you were privy to it you could stay. In the photo, you can see the window to it on the upper floor at the right end of the building. We’d listen to the tour groups walking past the room and we’d have to make a mad dash to the washroom trying not to be seen, as it was not attached to the room. We’d be praying the tour guide would hurry it up; we’d be bursting to use the lavatory lol. Unbelievable when I think about it now. We had Anne Hathaway’s entire cottage to ourselves. And we never once thought about taking advantage of the privilege of staying there. Sadly, that just wouldn’t happen these days. The second photo, we stayed in the bottom left suite, which had the most darling sitting room. You felt like like you were in the British countryside with tall holly hocks and larkspur (I believe) outside the window. I remember one time, it was during the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Canucks were in it. The boys wanted to stay inside and just watch the game on a little tv while us girls where trying to have a ‘romantic’ weekend lol. The property was beautiful. My family’s from the UK so it was very nostalgic going there; like a mini trip across the pond. In the main building, I’d stay in the King Charles room I believe. Had a big dark mahogany four poster bed that was so high it had a wooden stepping stool to help climb up/in. It was featured in their promotional postcards with staff dressed in period attire. Each room in the main building was named after person of royalty. One stay, we arrived late on a cold wet night and they brought up firewood and lit the fireplace for us, and brought us some snacks and some wine/drink. Incredible. It’s like a dream thinking back on it now. The grounds even had large wooden stocks, which we’d have fun taking our pictures in, like prisoners. Wow. These pictures brought back so many wonderful memories. It was a wonderful and simpler time then. A time left back but still in our memories. Thank you Toad Hollow! ♥

    • What wonderful memories you’ve shared here with everyone, thanks Lorna! I too have many personal memories from visits here and it’s really nice to see others feel the same way. Many thanks for your kind visit and for taking the time to leave these comments that I am sure everyone will enjoy! 🙂

  21. avatar C. MacRae says:

    My childhood was deeply enriched by many visits to Victoria and stays at the Olde England Inn. It was always one of our favourite family trips. Then when I “grew up”, there was only one place in my mind to get married…we had a lovely day, more than 30 years ago, and were thrilled to introduce the setting to all those who celebrated with us. Although our visits over the last years have been sporadic, we were saddened by the changes that had already occurred and how the cottage was being let fall into disrepair the last time we were there. As much as life changes occur, my heart is sad today at the loss of such a beautiful space. I am grateful for all the special memories. Thank you for your lovely photos that help keep our memories alive.

    • Oh, thank you so very much for taking the time to visit, and for your wonderful comments here today. We always love to connect with people who have experiences at the places we explore, and just like you I have a ton of great memories going back to childhood of this place. We used to come quite often before we moved to Vancouver Island on visits, and then after we moved here it was a frequent destination for us. It is hard to see changes like this as they tend to transcend across our memories and transform the landscape they inhabit. Thank you for sharing your terrific memories, it really means a lot to us.