Our Development Manager, Elinor Eaton, digs up her roots and shares her story…
“Plymouth has unquestionably the finest natural location of any UK city. It’s easy to be connected and to care about our dazzling and enchanting home. The width and breadth of Plymouth’s offer takes a unique shape in comparison to other city destinations in the UK. It has a wealth of history and heritage. Its cultural heartbeat creates a rhythm that is rich and varied and this coupled with its beautiful waterfront hook…what’s not to fall in love with?
For almost 20 years, my pride and passion for Plymouth has been evident both in my professional career and personally. Having worked for many years as a senior level fundraiser and consultant, my work took me all over the UK. But Plymouth was always home and the one place in which I wanted to make the biggest of differences.
A Big Change…
Three years ago; I had the opportunity of a new challenge in a new sector, with Plymouth very much at its heart. I knew when entering the world of hospitality that a career here would be characterised by diversity and constant change. But I also knew that the challenge would be an exciting and rewarding one; keeping pace with upcoming industry trends and aligning the New Continental Hotel & Strathmore House Apartments with the changing rhythm of our city with the visions for 2020 and beyond.
I felt fortunate that I could see the sector through a new lens, but also see Plymouth in a new way; loving my city, sharing it with guests and ultimately telling a story about beautiful accommodation, in my favourite place to be.
There are many cities that have become cultural icons; incorporating buildings, landscapes and other features of huge cultural significance. However what Plymouth does so well is keep history alive and intact – a major challenge because it involves integrating conservation of the old in the development of the new.
Throughout my professional career, Mayflower 400 and 2020 has been more than just a date in the dairy for a city celebration. More than the Pilgrims being figures of legend and lore. It represented something of great significance to me and many of the people I worked with. I just couldn’t pinpoint why!
With 2020 now just a stone’s throw away, I was doing a huge amount of work researching the historical footprint of both the New Continental Hotel and Strathmore House Apartments; learning and understanding more about the Mayflower and the seeds that were then planted helping make Plymouth what it is today.
I could not have dreamt that my very own Mayflower adventure would then begin!
The discovery of a Francis Eaton, son of John Eaton who married Sarah in 1618 on our Eaton Family Tree stored in Liverpool, shared the same information as the Francis, Sarah and Samuel Eaton who boarded the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620.
Although currently we have yet to prove our ‘Eaton’ lineage. This has started a journey of discovery that may explain so much to our Plymouth loving family! ‘Pilgrim blood’ conversations are now flooding the ‘Eaton’ table talk debates. The genealogy bug has hit the Eaton shores and we are enthralled with every new discovery that we make.
Growing up as a very large family in Plymouth, we have always been told that we must be brave, bold and curious. That we must have pride in place and respect for our past and our family. No greater platform could these morals have grown than from a brave family who took sail in the middle of July 1620 to start a new life, unsure of what may become of them but spellbound by the desire of a better tomorrow and the curiosity of the promise of a New World.
Would I be so brave – I hope so!
The idea that my family history could be so entwined with a history of a city I care so much about, and that I have been so fascinated by for the last 20 years is thrilling. A journey that is so personal and has opened topics of our families past, making us all reflect on our DNA, our culture and beliefs.
Just as Francis and his wife Sarah and “sucking child” Samuel stepped off the Mayflower to the dawn of a new adventure almost 400 years ago, so too are we!”