Great Western Hotel
The Great Western Hotel came into the ownership of the Furlong family in around 1853 when John Furlong bought the property having moved from the Kings Arms in the town. When he died in 1876, his son Alfred purchased the hotel from the estate of his late father. He paid a considerable sum for it in the firm belief that it was a good investment as Fishguard was on the cusp of becoming a tourist location.
Alfred Furlong’s desire to be hotelier did not last long as it seems he preferred his original role as being the transport hub for Fishguard – Furlong’s Coaches – a livery service providing all types of horse drawn vehicles for hire.
By 1878, the hotel owner was Robert Burge who was originally from Gloucestershire. He was a well respected hotelier and continued to run the business up until his death in 1903.
The four photographs are thought all to date from the mid to late 1870s and are believed to be the work of Henry Jackson who was a photographer in the town at that time. The first three show the Great Western when in the ownership of Albert Furlong who can be seen in the doorway of photos 1 & 2 standing next to his wife, Jane.
The fourth photograph is from the period when Robert Burge took over (post 1878) as his name is engraved on the fanlight over the main door.
The group of young men who feature in both Furlong and Burge photos were apparently students from Cambridge who visited the town over a number of years as members of a “Cambridge Reading Party”.
Following the death of Robert Burge, the Great Western Hotel was once again on the market and was purchased by a Mrs Sarah Price of Swansea who ran it for a number of years.
An article in the Carmarthen Weekly Reporter in February 1919 reported that the Great Western Hotel had been sold and was being converted into offices for Williams & Williams Solicitors.
The originals of these photographs are to be found in an album recently lent to Ein Hanes on Fishguard Square where they can be viewed.