A HEREFORD hotel that will soon to be turned into flats has a history those that have lived in the city for years will remember.

The Merton Hotel in Commercial Road has been bought by Vennture, a local Christian charity which hopes to turn it into social housing.

But it has a long history as a popular hotel over the years after opening in 1890, according to Travel Weekly.

It included 14 en suite letting bedrooms, a bar, restaurant, and functions room with capacity for 70 people.



Merton Hotel after refurbishment in 1986

Merton Hotel after refurbishment in 1986


There was a manager's suite, and outside a patio beer garden.

The hotel was named after the 11th century Bishop of Hereford, Walter de Merton, and was once the official resident of the prison governor of the city.

In 1986 the hotel had a "major facelift" when it was owned by Roy and Anne Baker, according to a Hereford Times report.


Anne and Roy Baker owners in 1990 with RAC awards

Anne and Roy Baker owners in 1990 with RAC awards


Extensive building work took place for a year, and the changes meant a great deal to customers at the time.


In December of the same year, it came up trumps for Hereford when a chef of international repute joined its team and its new Governors Restaurant opened in time for Christmas.

Its lounge bar was also renamed Bar No 28, because the building had been numbered since it was built.

The bar's popular arch known as the 'hole in the wall' remained after the refurb, and further arches were added throughout the ground floor.

The kitchen team was headed by master chef Eric Corrigna, a member of Chaine de Rotisierre, British Guild of Chefs, and Salon de Culiniere.


Works being completed for refurbishment in 1986

Works being completed for refurbishment in 1986


He aimed to provide "a visual and gastronomic experience."


In 1989 the Bakers were awarded the coveted Blue R from the RAC for the second year in a row, having also won a two-star AA award.

"We just get a huge kick out of pampering people," said Mrs Baker at the time.

That same year they introduced gourmet meals to international standard, with wine to match.


Governors Restaurant 1989

Governors Restaurant 1989


The hotel was also voted to a top national award in 1994.

Its Governors Restaurant was among 120 establishments visited by guest who were really judges for the Morning Advertisers and Venners Competition for the Best Menu Wine List.

They decided that the quality and value for money offered by the Merton deserved first prize trophy and cheque for £750.


Nick Brown and Justin Lynes

Nick Brown and Justin Lynes


In 1999 Nick Brown owned the hotel. He made it into the Hereford Times for giving a set of knives to his 17-year-old chef Justin Lynes after he completed his NVQ level two in catering.

Merton Hotel has more recently been used as temporary accommodation for homeless people.

Now it will give Vennture's street presence teams an operating hub and provide housing for struggling families.