The Top House Inn was originally a farmhouse until it became a hostelry, some 200 years ago. Known by a variety of names it was formerly The Lizard Hotel and Hills Hotel. The Inn earned its current name following years of having the nickname given by locals as “The Top House” when there was another hostelry just down the road which was known as “the bottom house”!
The Inn has been at the heart of the community over the years and we been told snippets from customers of roles the Inn has played in the past including a doctor’s surgery and a post office. With the lifeboat station at Polpeor Cove being such a prominent part of life it is only fitting that many of our walls in the bar have photos of Lifeboat rescues and crew over the years. If you sit at table 6 you will be seated on benches from The Wandsbeck, a German sailing ship that ran aground and was wrecked on Stag Point, The Lizard on 26 May 1900.
Recently the Inn was selected as a location of historic transport interest and was awarded a red plaque by The Transport Trust. This was in recognition of the Top House Inn being the terminus of the first railway-operated motor bus service in Great Britain when a service was introduced by the Great Western Railway on 17 August 1903.
There is also the theory that Jack the Ripper stayed here. The writer Patricia Cornwell presents the theory that Walter Sickert, a British painter, was the 19th-century serial killer known as Jack the Ripper in her 2002 book “Portrait of a killer, Jack the Ripper – Case Closed”. Walter Sickert stayed here at The Top House Inn and during his stay he drew pictures in the hotel visitor book which are presented in Patricia Cornwell’s book alongside comparisons of photos Jack the Ripper drew in letters to the police.
If only walls could talk ……. We would seriously love to find out more about the building’s history so do get in contact with us with details and photos if possible.