I was lucky enough to have visited a truly amazing example of 1930s British architecture – the fabulous Art Deco Midland Hotel on the seafront at Morecombe Bay in Lancashire. This is it:
When the present Midland Hotel opened in 1933 it took the place of an earlier hotel, also called the Midland, which had occupied the site since 1848. The hotel was designed by Oliver Hill – his brief: to design “a building of international quality in the modern style“. It stands on the seafront with the convex side facing the sea, while the concave side faces the railway station – in homage to the railway company whose showcase hotel this was. Hill designed the hotel to complement the curve of the promenade, which also allowed guests to view spectacular panoramas of the north west coast.
Immediately after its opening the Midland became the place to stay and attracted the wealthy middle classes from across the north of England. Prosperous Yorkshire mill-owners and businessmen took whole suites for the summer, travelling by Pullman train to Leeds and Bradford in the morning and to Morecambe in the evening. Socialites came from even further afield, in pursuit of luxurious escapism. Theatre stars performing at the nearby Winter Gardens were frequent guests – George Formby, Jimmy Clitheroe, Billy Bennett, and big band leaders such as Geraldo, Harry Roy, Ambose, Joe Loss and Jack Payne. Parties went on right through the night.
Following the war years the hotel fell into decline and changed hands several times. In 1976 the building’s architectural importance was recognised when it was listed grade 2*. It continued to deteriorate and decay until it was finally bought by Manchester based development company Urban Splash, who are completely renovated the building and re-open it again as a hotel in spring 2008.
Being a big Agatha Christie fan I had a big interest in visiting the hotel as it was used in filming episodes of the TV series Poirot, starring David Suchet, in 1989. During one episode the actual name of the hotel is referred to by one of the main characters of the detective series – Captain Hastings.
You can find out more about the hotel’s interesting history here.
The building is fascinating to me in many ways. Here are a few examples of its amazing details and interior:
I particular love the fringing around these wonderful Art Deco lights in the bar and the fabulous chairs in the lounge – they were huge. Also, the design of the cloakroom window and door but most particularly I love the Art Deco font of the ‘Cloakroom’ sign and all the other signs in the building! I’m sure this piano has witness many happy and sad times during the hotel’s long life.