THE new man at the helm of a famous Lake District hotel is hoping to solve a 60-year-old mystery.

Oliver Smith, of the Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater, is trying to track down a distinctive violin-shaped lampstand.

The hotel already has one which has held pride of place in the lounge since it was bought by its original owners, Brian Sack and Francis Coulson, in 1949.


The gold-painted wooden ornament is thought to be the first they purchased together and currently sits on a baby grand piano, once played by celebrity guest Paul McCartney as he wooed Heather Mills in 2001.

But the lampstand was believed to be one of a pair and now current general manager Mr Smith is hoping to track down the missing partner, which he believes may still be in Cumbria.

He said: “Brian and Francis were avid collectors and they set the tone for what became the hotel’s highly distinctive and quirky décor.

"The lampstand was the first item they bought when they took over Sharrow Bay after the war, but because money was tight back then they could only afford to buy one.

“So while it’s probably not worth a great deal in monetary terms it obviously has huge sentimental value to Sharrow Bay.”

Mr Smith believes it was bought locally, possibly in Keswick, and is hopeful that the second of the pair was picked up by someone from the area.

“It may be on someone’s sideboard or even gathering dust in an attic somewhere. It would be fantastic if we could reunite it with its twin after all these years,” he said.

The flamboyant Mr Coulson passed away in 1998 and was followed three years later by partner, Mr Sack.

Mr Smith, 33, was appointed to his new position in April this year having previously been general manager at the prestigious Amberley Castle Hotel in West Sussex.

The Sharrow Bay hotel holds four Red Stars and three Rosettes from the AA and is a member of the Relais & Chateaux group.

The 17-room hotel held a Michelin star for 14 years, is now owned by Andrew Davis, formerly head of Von Essen Hotels, who bought the premises from former TV Dragon James Caan in 2013.

Mr Smith said: “We have already carried out major refurbishments to the rooms and guest areas, and there are plans to further improve the hotel. However we are determined to retain the unique and much-loved character of Sharrow Bay, not only for our regulars but for a new generation of guests.”

Anyone with any information about the missing lampstand can contact Oliver Smith at the Sharrow Bay Hotel on 01768 486301