A VISITORS' book containing entries which pre-date the Second World War has been put on display at an historic South Lakeland hotel.

It was found amid an array of chamber pots in the loft at the Netherwood Hotel and Spa, Grange-over-Sands, during refurbishment work. It contains handwritten entries dating from Friday January 1 1937. A second book, found alongside, logs guests up to 1970.

Curt Green, general manager of the hotel, said: "We have had several guests that have located old relatives. They've sat in the library and taken the morning to go through them."

The find is particularly unique as, according to Mr Green, General Data Protection Regulations mean the hotel can no longer keep a visitors' book - which would require personal information such as names and addresses to be kept indefinitely.

"That means that in 100 years time we won't be able to find stuff like this. We won't be able to find our ancestors," he said.

The books contain various points of interest. Unsurprisingly, there is a noticeable increase in the number of army personnel logged during the wartime years, while at a later date an extra column was added for car registration numbers - car ownership in the UK began rising steeply during the 1950s.

The Netherwood Hotel, originally called Blawith House, was first built as a private residence by cotton trader George William Deakin, from Bolton, and his wife, Maude Mary Dickinson, from the Eller How Estate, near Grange-over-Sands.

The house, completed in 1893, was bought and given its present name by a Miss Lawrence and Miss Chalmers in the 1930s. The pair had previously run a guest house nearby, but this was damaged in a fire prior to them buying the hotel.