Norwich woman opens luxury hotel suite 55 years after she was born in the room
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
Just over half a century ago, Jenny Sadler was born in a room above a Norwich shop. She was back in the same room on Friday - but it was unrecognisable.
For it is now part of a luxury hotel suite in one of the city's oldest and most eye-catching hotels.
The Palace Street property had previously been owned by her father and mother, John and Dorothy Watts. The couple ran one of a row of shops, while their living quarters were located upstairs.
On Friday the hotel officially opened the Cathedral Suite in which she was born. It is one of seven suites that are part of a £230,000 refurbishment project.
Mrs Sadler, her mother, family members and other invited guests including Lord Mayor David Fullman were invited to the opening.
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'My grandparents owned this part of the hotel back in the early 1900s,' she said. 'Granddad Arthur Watts was a baker and he delivered to places around Norwich.'
She said her grandparents had 14 children, all of whom were born at the site.
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'My dad John Watts was the youngest of the 14 born in 1933. They ran a shop from downstairs where they sold most things.
'Dad met my mum and they married in 1957 and lived here for a number of years. Eventually I was born in the room in 1962, making me the last person to have been born here.'
She said her father had passed away in 2013.
Historian Paul Dickson said The Maids Head Hotel had taken over the premises, known as the Palace Street wing, in the 1980s. Having been run by a succession of hotel groups from 1974, the hotel was bought by the Chaplain family in 2012.
'Since then just short of £2m has been spent on refurbishment of the hotel in total,' he said.
The hotel's general manager Christine Malcolm said: 'It was a pleasure to welcome the Watts family to the hotel to celebrate the renovation of our feature rooms. We have really enjoyed learning about Jenny Sadler and her family's Palace Street story, which now takes its rightful place in Maids Head's history.
'Our aim is to be recognised as Norfolk's finest for hospitality and we believe that the quality of our feature rooms project strongly supports our ambition and will enhance Norwich's reputation as one of the UK's top city destinations.'
The Cathedral Suite consists of a lounge and bedroom with en-suite and is available for £180 per night.
Oldest hotel in UK
The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich is believed to be the oldest hotel in the UK.
The claim is based on the site's continuous use for hospitality since the 12th century.
Located in Tombland, a hospice was originally established on the site for visitors to the new Norman Cathedral.
The hospice eventually became the Murtel Fish Tavern.
In the official Norwich records of 1287 mention is made of an inn at the site.
In correspondence dated November 02, 1472, Mr John Paston, a benefactor of Norwich, recommends the Maids Head, confirming the changing of its name.
Famous early guests include Edward the 'Black Prince', the oldest son of King Edward III in 1359 and Queen Elizabeth I in 1587.
Today the hotel consists of 84 bedrooms including standard double rooms, executive double or twin rooms and historical feature rooms and suites.