The Cavendish is one of Torquay’s largest family-run hotels, and we are very proud of the business we have built up over the years. The Cavendish has been in the family’s hands since 1992, but we have been in the trade for far longer than that.
The first members of the family to start in the hotel business were Joyce and Ernie Blagden, who moved down from Darlington with their youngest daughter Sarah and bought a small hotel called the Shirley back in 1980:
Back in those days everyone had to help out and as the family moved down bit by bit more and more of us got involved. The grandchildren were put to work almost as soon as they could walk:
We all worked hard to make the Shirley a success and we even built our own swimming pool for our guests to use:
They were great days but in time the Shirley got too small for us all. By now Vicky and Andy had come down from Knaresborough so the five of them took over the Crofton House Hotel in Croft Road:
As you can see from the picture these were great times to be a Torquay hotelier and with our huge outdoor pool we were always busy through the summer. We usually modelled for our own brochures back then and fortunately a few of those photos have survived:
The best photos however were the ones where everyone had to go into the bar and pretend to be having a really good time while drinking ridiculous-looking cocktails. Many connoisseurs consider the following photo to be the type specimen for the genre:
In 1992 we bought the Cavendish Hotel on Belgrave Road, which brought Joyce and Ernie’s middle daughter Angela, her husband Alan and sons Richard and Edward into the business.