The Badger Inn has had a few names of the past, the information that we have gathered thus far is broken down into the periods that the Inn has held each name. You can expand and find out more below...
- The New Inn (1790s – 1830s)
Research so far suggests we started trading on this site in the 1790s; the first proprietor was probably Charles Uren. At the time it was by no means unusual for the owner or tenant of a larger house to venture into the licenced trade as a side-line. The freehold was owned by the Praed family, major landowners in the Lelant area.
By 1802 the publican was Captain Edward Richards, who styled himself “mariner and innkeeper” – the first of several proprietors to have two occupations. Our first press cutting is dated March 1802, advertising a “sale of Black Tin at the house of Captain Richards, the New Inn”. (“Black tin” is the tin ore cassiterite.)
The original building was a wide and shallow private house, facing on to Quay Lane (later renamed Station Hill). The front door was where the narrower window at the end of the bar is now. The site also contained a stable – still standing – and a barn, long-since disappeared, which stood in the region of today’s main car park.
In the 1820s Captain Hugh Richards became the proprietor. Sadly, on 16th August 1831 his wife Elizabeth was accidentally killed in an outhouse by an intoxicated employee; the verdict was manslaughter.
He was succeeded a few years later by Joseph Polglaze, whose wife Jane Polglazecontinued to run the pub after Joseph’s death. Around this time the name was changed to The Praed’s Arms, after the landowners.
- The Praed’s Arms (1830s - 1899)
During the 1840s Thomas Hocken and Ann Hocken (sometimes recorded as Hockin or Hocking) took over as publicans. Thomas continued his other job as maltster (preparing grain ready for brewing) at the Lelant brewery for some years; after his death Mary continued running the pub until 1878, helped for some years by her mother and sister.
In 1875 the leasehold of the building was bought from the Praed family’s Tyringham Estate by Messrs J. F. Ellis, wine and sprit merchants, of Hayle.
In 1877 the St Erth to St Ives branch line opened, and Quay Lane was renamed Station Hill.
From 1878 the proprietor was John Thomas Bowden Bennetts, “innkeeper and musician”, and his wife Mary Jane. John Bennetts left in 1883 to open a music shop in Helston; he also built, repaired and tuned organs.
Edward Rodda, born in Gulval, was publican from 1883 to 1888; he had previously managed The Mexico Inn at Long Rock.
From 1889 the proprietor was a Lelant man, Paul Roach. His day job was as a blacksmith, and he returned to this full-time in 1898.
By the late 1890s it had become apparent to the leaseholders that The Praed’s Arms was missing out on the trade generated by the growing popularity of West Cornwall as a holiday destination, so Messrs J.F. Ellis decided to increase the accommodation and facilities by enlarging the building. In July 1899 tenders were invited for rebuilding what was briefly called “The Praed’s Arms Hotel” – before it was really big enough to be called a hotel!
The architect was Oliver Caldwell, of Penzance, whose designs can still be seen all over Cornwall. The successful bidder was Robert Toy of St Ives, whose recent work had included building the new St Ives School. Work began late in 1899 and “The Lelant Hotel”, as it was now known, was finished the following year. The extensions and alterations created most of the building we know today, but the frontage and depth of the original house are still obvious.
- The Lelant Hotel (1900 - 1975)
In 1899 Walter William Chapple and his wife Jane move to Lelant from The Cornubia Hotel, Phillack, to manage the emerging Lelant Hotel through the transition period. Walter retired in 1902 and was succeeded by Frederick J. Thomas, lately of The Three Tuns Hotel in Gulval.
In 1907 Thomas and Jane Dunstan arrived from Eastbourne to manage the hotel. Two years later they had an unexpected guest when Virginia Woolf (then Virginia Stephen) arrived late in the evening of Christmas Eve and stayed until 28 December 1909. Letters written at the hotel show she enjoyed her stay.
Virginia returned again for a few days in March 1910, accompanied by her sister Vanessa Bell, the painter, and her brother-in-law Clive Bell, the art critic.
William Henry Comer and his wife Grace arrived in 1914, having previously run Paull’s Hotel in St Agnes.
By 1920 J.F. Ellis and Co had become Christopher Ellis & Co., and in that year bought the freehold of the property when the Tyringham Estate put most of its holdings in the village up for sale. William Comer left in 1923 to take over The First And Last Inn at Sennen.
In 1923 Captain (Retired) Edward Codyre and his wife Elizabeth took over the licence. Born in St Just, Edward Codyre had served in The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI) in the second Boer War and the Army Pay Corps in World War One. His son, Edward Casley Codyre, also served with the DCLI in World War One, winning a Military Cross in 1916.
William E. Ingram was landlord from 1926 to 1928; he moved on to manage The Queen’s Hotel in St Ives. He was succeeded by David and Kate Crombie, who left after three years.
Between 1931 and 1934 the hotel was managed by Major (Retired) Frederick Philip Perkins. He had served in the ASC and the RAOC, and left The Lelant Hotel to manage The Gurnard’s Head.
In 1934 the owners of the freehold, Christopher Ellis and Son Ltd of Hayle merged with Walter Hicks and Co. Ltd of St Austell to form the St Austell Brewery Company we know today. In the same year Bertram and Bertha Mainwaring took over the licence, staying for nearly 20 years.
From the mid-1950s the manager was “Sunny” Dale, who had previously owned a garage in St Ives. The hotel also had another distinguished guest: Molly Joan Lamb Bobak (1922-2014) was Canada’s first woman war artist and her work is much prized in North America. In 1956 she and her husband Bruno stayed here, and Molly produced four studies of the hotel; this is “Lelant Pub #1”.
In the late sixties and early seventies the pub suffered a slump in its fortunes; local lads who wanted a quiet evening would visit what they irreverently called “the chapel of rest”.
- The Badger Inn (1975 - Present Day)
In 1975 Robin and Mary Allen left their restaurant in St Ives and took over the licence; they changed the building’s name to “The Badger Inn”. Sadly Robin died some years ago, but Mary is now pursuing a very successful second career as an artist.
They were succeeded in 2005 by Charles and Susan Bright, who are now enjoying retirement in Portreath.
In October 2011 our current master and commander Robert “Bertie” Bodmer arrived from “The Dolphin” in Penzance. In 2012 Elvis the Great Dane joined the team and becomes a regular at the bar.
A special thanks to Paul O'Brien for his time and efforts in researching all the information contained here!