Margaretta Lewis, a ‘loving and gentle lady’ who owned the popular Lansdowne Hotel on the seafront with her family, has sadly passed away at the remarkable age of 102.
Margaretta celebrated her milestone 100th birthday just one year before the Lansdowne marked a century under the family’s ownership – a period of time that has given the hotel the personal touch that is known and loved today.
Born in September 1911 in Sawley, Derbyshire, Margaretta moved to Eastbourne when she was 14 after her father decided to help his sister run the business, which she had started in 1912.
That was simply the beginning of the long love affair between Margaretta’s family and the Lansdowne Hotel.
Before joining the management team at the hotel, Margaretta attended Raven’s Croft School and later received awards in domestic cookery from the Eastbourne School of Domestic Economy in 1929 and in piano from the Royal Academy of Music in 1925 and 1930.
However, she was always destined to return to the family business, at first adopting a housekeeping role while the hotel was under the management of her father, William Robinson and his business partner.
It was through working at the hotel that Margaretta met her husband, Alan Lewis, who would often vacate to Eastbourne with his family from their home in Birmingham.
The pair were married in 1936 at the All Saints Church before moving back to the Midlands when the war broke out.
The family returned to the hotel, which had been requisitioned by the military, in 1946. Since then, it has continued to grow, expanding from two houses to the current 13.
Aside from the hotel, Margaretta was a woman of many talents, enjoying tennis, horse-riding and painting.
She marked her 100th birthday with a celebration lunch at the Lansdowne, which also then hosted a bash to commemorate a century under the ownership of the same family in 2012.
Mrs Lewis had two children during her lifetime, who later blessed her with two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Her family said, “She was a very loving and gentle person who always thought of everyone else. She was very complimentary – never had a bad word to say about anything.
“She was always appreciative of everything everyone did for her. She had a lot of loyal staff – one of her nurses has been with her for 30 years - and all she used to say was ‘thank you’ with a really big smile.”
Margaretta passed away peacefully at the Lansdowne Hotel. Her funeral will be held on Thursday, October 24 at All Saints Church, 2.15pm. Family flowers only and all donations to be made to Cancer Research UK via Haine & Son, 19 South Street.