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Selling the Shoals

Victorian Tourists
The year was 1898 and the Laighton Brothers, Cedric and Socar, now elderly, were running both large hotels on the Isles of Shoals. Their famous sister Celia had died in 1894 and, before selling out, the boys made one more push to bring in the tourists. They had been in the hotel resort business since their father Thomas Laighton opened the Appledore House in 1846.



VISIT our Isles of Shoals section and Celia Thaxter section

Shoals adThis poster tells us what tourists were looking for at the dawn of the 20th century – quiet, ample food, health, history, accessibility, recreation, reputation, safety and affordability. Cedric died the following year in 1899, but his older brother Oscar lived four more decades to the age of 99. This ad then, is from the final year of their partnership. Why the spelling of their last name seems to vary with different advertising – is still a mystery to us.

The Oceanic was sold to a church conference group a few years later and is still run by the Star Island Corporation. The Appledore Hotel burned in 1914.

To see the promotional poster, from the Portsmouth Public Library collection, scroll to the bottom of the page. Pictured above it are the Appledore and the Oceanic hotels and two Victorian tourists, courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum.

SEE: Treasures in the Wall from the Laighton Bros. Era



The complete text of 1898 promotional flyer

Portsmouth, N.H.

An Ideal Summer Resort of the Highest Class
and full of historic associations
Pre-eminently the place for the tired worker

No Noise No Dust No Trolleys A rest cure in these Isles is a thing of joy
The climate is perfect The sunsets glorious
Highest shade temperature 75; Average 65 t noon

The hotel opens the last week in June
and closes about the 10th of September.

September is an ideal month and guests satisfied with a plain table after
10th September can be accommodated by special arrangement until the
end of the month.

This is a great resort for anyone suffering from
insomnia, hayfever or rosecold.

Many guest have been visiting these islands regularly for 20, 30 and
40 years, and all there who go there once invariably return.
Families desiring absolute privacy can rent some of the cottages which
are quite close to the hotel while still taking their meals in the main house.

Terms: From 2 ½ dollars and upward.
Excellent table.

A good steamboat connects the island with the mainland, distant about
7 miles. The most timid sailors can choose their own day to cross, remaining at Portsmouth to suit their convenience.

Perfectly safe bathing, and of course, boating and tennis.
A wireless stations connecting the islands with the mainland.
Boat service thrice daily, connecting with Portsmouth N. H. service.

A doctor in residence at Appledore all season

APPLEDORE HOUSE, Appledore Island
LEIGHTON BROS. Proprietors Appledore


Isles of Shoals 1898


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Monday, December 18, 2017 
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