Once a social hub for the maritime community in Burnham, subsequently a boarding house and a care home for children and now a private residence once more.
This building (on the corner at middle right in the picture above) was standing by the time of the Peachey Williams survey of 1838. It is likely it was a private residence of some importance at that time, as it is one of only two listed as ‘House and lawn’ rather than ‘House and garden’, suggesting the owners were of the leisured class.
The first reference we have found to the ‘Steam Packet Inn’ is in a report in the Taunton Courier, in September 1860, of John Neck being granted a license. It is interesting to note in the same report that Sea View House, next door, was refused a license. Being next door to the Customs House, it was a popular rendezvous for the seafaring community. Throughout the 1860’s it is believed to have provided commercial accommodation and some stabling facilities. At this time it seems it was known as The Pier Hotel: it was labelled as such n a planning map of 1852 (below); in a newspaper report of 1859 noted by Mike Matthews (see comment below); and still listed as such in the 1861 census. Perhaps its different functions were carried on under different names for a period of time?
The name of the inn refers to ships operating maritime postal services so it is often found near quays from which such services were operated. We have no evidence to suport the idea that a packet ship postal service ever operated to Burnham but the jetty was used by stream ships which may possibly have carried mail. Also the proximity to the Customs House may have influenced the naming.
Below is a clipping from an unidentified source, found among the Dupuis Diary entries relating to 1867:
Sometime between 1866 and 1871/2 it was acquired by Millicent Bowley and began operation as an apartment and boarding house and was renamed York House. In the 20th century it became a Residential Home operated by Somerset County Council. During the 1960’s & 1970’s it accommodated children.