Harrison Pitt Architects appointed to revamp historic Lancaster hotel

A 400-year-old Lancaster hotel is to undergo a significant refurbishment after being taken over by new owners.

Lancaster architecture practice Harrison Pitt Architects has been appointed by Artisan Hotels to draw up plans to renovate the ground floor and basement of the grade-two-listed Royal Kings Arms Hotel.

The project is part of wider plans by Artisan Hotels to conduct a sympathetic modernisation of the historic property. A rolling programme to upgrade the bedrooms is already underway. There are also advanced plans to improve the existing conference facilities within the building.

The hotel, which stands on the corner of King Street and Market Street close to Lancaster Castle, was originally built in 1625 during the reign of King Charles I and was rebuilt in 1879.

Richard Wooldridge, a director at Harrison Pitt Architects, said: “The Royal Kings Arms is an iconic listed building in the heart of Lancaster. It’s a real privilege to be given this opportunity to work on such a landmark property that’s on our doorstep.

“We’ve worked on a number of projects to restore and refurbish historic buildings in Lancaster. It’s great to be playing such an important role in preserving the city’s heritage.”

The Royal Kings Arms is where Charles Dickens is said to have stayed when he wrote ‘Tale of the Bridal Chamber’. A blue plaque on the building details how Dickens stayed at the hotel in 1857 and 1862 along with the quote ‘They gave you bride cake every day after dinner’. The hotel also features in the story ‘The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices’.

Harrison Pitt Architects, based in nearby Castle Hill, has already achieved a listed-building consent for the first phase of the refurbishment works which are due to be carried out in the four-storey sandstone structure.

The project will see alterations to the ground-floor reception, bar and restaurant areas, as well as refurbishing the existing cellar bar to create an exciting bistro and bar area. The first phase of the work is expected to commence in September and take 12 weeks.

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