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Beachcomber, Shanklin Hotel, Isle of Wight, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, UK (bar)

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Name:Beachcomber, Shanklin Hotel, Isle of Wight
Street: Clarendon Rd,
City:Shanklin, Isle of Wight
Phone:01983 862286


I bought these two postcards on eBay back in June and did a bit of urban-archeology and discovered the hotel still existed so I sent of an email and this is the reply I got back..

Thank you for your email.

The two pictures you have are the only ones we currently have on file. The Beachcomber closed in the late 80s (around 86) but there is no one that currently works here that know much about it.

One piece of information that we are told on numerous occasions from guests that remember the hotel in the 60s and 70s is that the water features had live baby alligators in them - in one of the postcards you can just make out the pool - in 'beachcomber 1' the lady in mauve and the chap in orange are sat next to it.

I understand that the bar was built in the early 60s when major development work took place on the Shanklin Hotel by the then new owner, Mr Ben Brown. He was a purser with P&O Cruises in the 50s and early 60s, before buying the hotel and is said to have got the idea for the Beachcomber from his many travels around the world.

We do still have in store several bits of memorabilia, including the totem poles, shields and spears which are for sales through one of our directors.

I am sorry we could not have been of more help.

Kind regards

Geoff Holt
Sales Manager
Shanklin & Trouville Hotels, Isle of Wight

...I suspect Mr Ben Brown had the touch of "Trader Vic" about him, the bar inspired by his world travels eh! not the beachcomber in Mayfair then. I wonder if this "Beachcomber" was inspired by the mayfair one or is it another GCB installation.

The bar as it is now, the beachcomber leisure facilities, tiki replaced by indoor grass bowling.

[ Edited by: atomictonytiki 2007-11-22 07:46 ]

[ Edited by: atomictonytiki 2009-05-06 14:44 ]

Its a shame another UK tiki bar is lost to history again,One of my friends mum went to this in the early 70s sounded quite cool compared to the usual smoky pubs selling warm beer we have got over here!

Have you asked her if she has any holiday snaps of the bar?

Time for a bump on this one. I found the two postcards from the Beachcomber at the Shanklin hotel and did some better scans.

Cool looking place, very similar to the Butlin's Beachcomber Bars.

Could find no more info, and word from our agents in the UK?


From a recent post on an Isle of Wight Memories Group on Facebook, an advertisement and menu..


Article from Shanklin Historical society Magazine 2019 :- In January 1956 the Shanklin Hotel was advertised for sale at an auction in Southampton. A notice in the Birmingham Daily Post offered the freehold property with '74 bedrooms, some with baths ensuite, 15 bathrooms, magnificent Public Rooms, Ballroom, Sundeck Roof Garden, Tennis Court, Gardens, Garage, Central Heating, Lift to all floors'. It is believed that the purchaser was Ben Brown, formerly a purser with P&O Cruises. He is said to have got the idea for creating the hotel’s Polynesian Beachcomber Bar, complete with live alligator pool, from his world travels. Ben Brown may also have been responsible for the unusual 8ft x 8ft 6in nail wall sculpture in the reception area commissioned in 1962 from Canadian artist David Partridge (1919-2006) who was then living in London. The artist called his works was ‘configurations’ or ‘naillies’ and there are examples in many public galleries including the National Gallery of Canada and the Tate in London. The Shanklin Hotel sculpture, named `Galaxy’, is also musical producing random tunes when a coin is dropped through the nails - it is not clear if this is by design or chance. S&DHS Vice President Andrew Asher, recalls the refurbished hotel from when he and Rosemary held their wedding reception there in 1963. The event took place in the glass pavilion which no longer remains. At that time Andrew believes the hotel was managed by Miss Grundy and Roland Ellis on behalf of the owners, the Moores family of Littlewoods football pools, retail and patronage of the arts fame. The nail sculpture which is still in the hotel reception and the now lost Beachcomber Bar and Alligator Pool Hotel advertisements in newspapers around the country in the 1970s boasted of nightly dancing in the Starlight Room and the 'now famous' Beachcomber Bar. The bar closed in the late 1980s, in the 2000s the room was used for indoor short mat bowling and in 2018 it was converted to provide additional hotel accommodation. During the refurbishment works a pre-decimal drinks menu for the Beachcomber Bar was found below the floorboards - Babycham 1/9, a pint of bitter 2/6 and V.S.O.P. Brandy 4/-.

According to some post on the Isle of Wight Memories Group it was the hotbed of underage drinking and debauchery, many tales of drunken teens being nipped by the crocodiles. The tables apparently had shelf underneath so you could hide your drinks when the police visited.

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