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Driscoll House Hotel founder dies

Terence Driscoll - who founded and ran Driscoll House Hotel in New Kent Road - has died aged 95.

Terence Driscoll's funeral was held at Southwark C
Terence Driscoll's funeral was held at Southwark Cathedral
Driscoll House Hotel
Driscoll House Hotel pictured in 2003

His funeral was held in Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday morning attended by more than sixty people.

During the service a passage from St John's Gospel was read by grandson Simon Shilston.

The Dean of Southwark, commenting on the reading during his address, highlighted Christ's words: 'In my house there are many dwelling-places'.

"This is especially appropriate in that Terry Driscoll's work throughout most of his life was devoted to his hotel and accommodating as many people as possible."

Terence Driscoll, an engineer, opened Driscoll House in 1965. The distinctive building had been erected in 1913 as a women's hostel called Ada Lewis House after the wife of philanthropist Samuel Lewis. The original opening ceremony was performed by Princess Louise.

Although Terence Driscoll died in hospital he had continued to be active in the running of Driscoll House until his very last weeks. Last April he celebrated his 95th birthday in the building.

He was a constant presence in the hostel's office and at the front desk. A regular feature of his week was the speech delivered at Sunday lunch. Much preparation went into this address which included news from past residents, letters received that week and mention of interesting events in the capital.

With bed in a single room, breakfast and dinner costing just 30, the 200-bed Driscoll House offered London's cheapest hotel accommodation. It is claimed that more than 50,000 guests from 210 different countries have stayed there.

Driscoll House Hotel is due to close this weekend with the future of both its few long term residents and the building remaining uncertain.

However, last year the structure was listed which means that the landmark near the Bricklayers Arms flyover will remain although its use may change. Oracle Homes and Hamiltons architects have already prepared a scheme to turn the building into 61 apartments. An earlier plan to demolish the building and build 91 affordable homes on the site was rejected by Southwark Council in 2005.

Terence Driscoll leaves three daughters, one son and a grandson.

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