Dorset

Seaside villa where John Fowles lived to open doors after £1.8m restoration

  • 24 September 2015
  • From the section Dorset
Belmont Image copyright John Miller
Image caption Belmont will open to the public for the first time on Saturday and Sunday

A Georgian seaside villa in Dorset, where author John Fowles lived, will open its doors after a £1.8m revamp.

Belmont, a Grade II* listed building in Lyme Regis, has been restored following eight years of research and two years of restoration work by the Landmark Trust charity.

It was owned in the 18th Century by Eleanor Coade, who built up a successful artificial stone business.

The building will open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Image copyright John Miller
Image caption Craftspeople have recreated any damaged or missing items, such as fireplaces, architraves, shutters and skirting boards
Image copyright John Miller
Image caption Belmont was where John Fowles completed his novel The French Lieutenant's Woman
Image copyright Landmark Trust
Image caption Belmont before the £1.8m restoration programme started

Dr Anna Keay, director of the Landmark Trust, said the rejuvenated building was "a fitting monument to the genius of Eleanor Coade".

She added: "Visitors will now be able to stay in her Georgian architectural gem and in so doing experience the beauty and peace that inspired one of our greatest modern writers, John Fowles."

Belmont was Fowles's home for almost four decades from 1968, and it was where he completed his classic novel The French Lieutenant's Woman.

The Landmark Trust's craftspeople have recreated any damaged or missing items at their studio in the Cotswolds, such as fireplaces, architraves, shutters and skirting boards.

Coade stone was a ceramic, synthetic stone that was first produced during the 18th Century.

Like the trust's other 195 buildings, Belmont will be let out for short breaks.

Image copyright John Miller
Image caption Eleanor Coade's business earned the respect of architects such as Robert Adam and John Nash

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