Originally Mr Thomas came over to Lundy from Sennen every year for the fishing. He paid £10 per annum and this rental included the use of The Fish Palace (now demolished) on the beach and a store on the Beach Road. He and his colleagues caught lobster, crabs, crayfish, mackerel and herring. Some of the catch was smoked at the Fish Palace or salted, but mostly it was sent across to the mainland for sale. When, as a boy, he had first come to Lundy with his uncles for the fishing, they were frequently troubled by poachers. These thieves would pilfer their crab and lobster pots as well as the store pot, known in the West Country as the ‘carb’. To counteract this problem the Lundy fishers, armed with shotguns, would keep nightly watch over their pots and fire warning shots if they saw any craft approaching with dishonest intent.
George Thomas became a full island employee after 1879 and an invaluable general factotum who often took the Heaven children out sailing. He was also the gardener and introduced mesembryanthemums to the island. One of his duties was to look after the church and keep the clock wound. First he lived at one of the Castle Cottages, then at the Quarry Cottages (now ruined) before building his own 'Palace.' This comprised a kitchen and two bedrooms with a separate washouse at the back. He and his wife, Susan, lived there with their four sons and a daughter, Hetty.
After Mr and Mrs Thomas left Lundy, probably in 1911, the Palace's next occupant was the curate, Rev. Mr Swatridge, who took the Rev. Mr Heaven's place after the latter moved to the mainland in 1911. At about this time it was renamed Cliff Bungalow. Mr Swatridge gave it up in 1916 and was succeeded by Mr and Mrs Allday, who lived there until 1926. Frederick Allday had been appointed to the Lloyd's signal station on Lundy in 1896. In those days Lloyd’s had signal stations all round the coast of the British Isles reporting passing shipping. That on Lundy consisted of a look-out on the old parade ground east of the Castle and a pair of cottages behind it, linked to the mainland by telegraph. Being in such an exposed position, these cottages were impossible to maintain and were eventually pulled down in 1989.
Mr Allday, who doubled as post-master (see also Castle Cottage), retired from Lloyd’s in 1909, but stayed on Lundy, moving first to the old Quarry Cottages, before settling at Cliff Bungalow. This they may have done in 1916, the same year that their daughter, Mildred, had the distinction of being the first bride to be married in the church of St. Helena, with Mr Swatridge presiding.
In 1927 a Miss Wilda Gee visited Lundy and decided she would like to live there for long periods. She subsequently hired the Cliff Bungalow. Miss Gee, who referred to the Tavern as 'the only blot on the island,' was an individualist. She had been a militant suffragette and had served a short prison sentence for chaining herself to the railings at the Houses of Parliament. She would invite the islanders for vegetarian suppers and then entertain them by reading aloud in a high pitched falsetto voice.
In 1939 Mr Harman granted Mrs Hanmer a repairing lease of the Cliff Bungalow rent-free for seven years. He had met the Hanmer family on a ski-ing holiday and for some years they had stayed annually in the Old Light. The Hanmer regime was spartan. Once on the island the children had to cut bracken, then choose a spot on the floor for their ‘mattresses’. Between six-thirty and seven in the morning they had a nude swim and then after breakfast, each child was given a piece of bread and a bar of chocolate and told not to appear until supper at six o'clock that evening.
Rebuilt by the Harmans
In 1963 the Harmans decided to rebuild and renovate Hanmers for holiday lettings. The main building and the wash-room had been separate, but the main building was extended to provide a new kitchen, bedroom, w.c. and wash-room. The sitting room and bedrooms were fitted with new windows and the walls lined with new panelling of tongue-and-groove boards. The exterior corrugated-iron sheeting was removed and replaced with cedar boarding.
In the roof a large new tank was positioned to catch rainwater. The water supply inside the bungalow had to be pumped up by a semi-rotary pump daily but Landmark removed this and water is now conveniently supplied by gravity pipe feed. Calor gas lights and cooker were installed. The views from Hanmers along the island's east side are rivalled only by those from Castle Cottage.