TRIBUTES have been paid to a hard working hotelier who single handedly ran Britain’s largest privately owned hotel.
Joyce Craig-Tyler, who was the leading lady at the Hotel St Nicholas for 14 years, has died at the age of 86.
Described by family as “strong, honest and generous” she was a well known figure in Scarborough’s hospitality industry throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s.
Her sons Nick and Jon Craig-Tyler said: “She was very caring and loved her family. During her career she thought nothing of working 18 hours days, and after her retirement she kept a keen interest in business.”
Mrs Craig-Tyler came to Scarborough from the West Riding just after the Second World War to work in the Hotel St Nicholas, which was owned at the time by Jack Tyler and his wife Jennie.
She worked in housekeeping and reservations, and was often sent to cater at the 300 seater restaurant Mr Tyler owned in Vernon Road, sometimes serving 2000 meals a day in summer months.
While working at the hotel romance blossomed and Joyce married Mr Tyler’s step son Douglas in 1950.
The pair loved trips abroad, and Mrs Craig Tyler soon started to play a more active role in running the hotel.
However she unexpectedly found herself in charge of the entire business following the death of her husband Douglas in 1969, then his mother and step father Jack and Jennie two year’s later.
Her sons Nick and Jon said: “It would have been very hard for her at that time being a woman and taking on a business of that size. She wasn’t a large lady at 5ft 1in, and she could have sold the hotel.
“She chose to keep it though, and run it herself. That choice demonstrated her character; she was fiercely independent and very strong mentally.”
The pair said staff at the hotel knew their mother as “tough but fair”.
Mrs Craig Tyler ran the Hotel St Nicholas, in St Nicholas Cliff until 1985 when she sold it.
After her retirement some years later she enjoyed gardening, cooking and entertaining at her home in Scalby, where she lived independently until her death.
Mrs Craig Tyler, who had six grandchildren and one great grandchild, died at Scarborough Hospital on February 3 after contracting pneumonia.
Her sons described her death as “a bit of an end of an era” in the hotel trade, as the industry bids farewell to another big player in the glamour of Scarborough’s hotel glory days.