Midland Hotel, Morecambe

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For the Midland Hotel in Morecambe demolished in 1932, see North Western Hotel, Morecambe.

Coordinates: 54°04′20″N 2°52′31″W / 54.0721°N 2.8754°W / 54.0721; -2.8754

Midland Hotel in 2008 after restoration

The Midland Hotel is a Streamline Moderne building in Morecambe, Lancashire, England. It was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), in 1933, to the designs of architect Oliver Hill, with sculpture by Eric Gill, and murals by Eric Ravilious (subsequently destroyed).[1][2] It is a Grade II* listed building. The hotel has been restored by Urban Splash with architects Union North, Northwest Regional Development Agency and Lancaster City Council.

Construction[edit]

Midland Hotel staircase with Eric Gill's Neptune and Triton Medallion

The Midland Hotel was built to replace two earlier hotels: the North Western Hotel built in 1848 by the "little" North Western Railway which had been renamed the Midland Hotel in 1871 when the Midland Railway took over the North Western Railway; and another hotel at Heysham, the Heysham Towers, which was converted from a private house in 1896.[1][2] The Heysham Towers served railway steamer traffic from Heysham Harbour to Belfast; but it was not a success and was sold in 1919.[1]

In 1932, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) bought land from Morecambe Corporation to build the 40-bedroom Midland Hotel replacing the old hotel. It opened in July 1933.[1]

The design[edit]

One of Eric Gill's two seahorses above the entrance to the hotel

The hotel is designed in the Streamline Moderne style of Art Deco. Oliver Hill designed a three-storey curving building, with a central circular tower containing the entrance and a spiral staircase, and a circular cafe at the north end. The front of the hotel is decorated with two Art Deco seahorses, which can be viewed at close proximity from the hotel's rooftop terrace.

The hotel stands on the seafront with the convex side facing the sea, and the concave side facing the former Morecambe Promenade 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 allowed guests to view spectacular panoramas of the North West coast.

War time use and disposal[edit]

The Midland Hotel and Morecambe began to lose popularity and in September 1939 the hotel was requisitioned by the Royal Navy.[1] The navy used it until September 1947; paying £1,900 rent per year.

On nationalisation of the railways, ownership transferred to the British Transport Commission (BTC) on 1 January 1948 coming under the control of the BTC's Railway Executive; however on the 1 July 1948, along with the other railway hotels, ownership was transferred to the BTC's Hotels Executive.[3] It was sold by the Hotels Executive in 1952.[1]

A new lease of life[edit]

Union North were employed as architects by Urban Splash for the refurbishment and expansion of the hotel commencing in 2006. It opened its doors to the public in the summer of 2008.

In April 2009 Urban Splash announced a partnership with English Lakes Hotels to manage the Midland Hotel from 8 April 2009.[4] Further developments on the Central Promenade were completed by Urban Splash.[5]

Other history[edit]

The hotel was used in filming episodes of the TV series Agatha Christie's Poirot, starring David Suchet, in 1989, most notably in the episode 'Double Sin' where the name of the hotel is mentioned by one of the characters - Captain Hastings.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Carter, Oliver (1990). An illustrated history of British Railway Hotels: 1838-1983. St Michael's: Silver Link Publishing. ISBN 0-947971-36-X
  2. ^ a b Simmons, Jack and Biddle, Gordon (1997). The Oxford Companion to British Railway History: From 1603 to the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211697-5.
  3. ^ Skelsey, Geoffrey (2006). "Famous Hotel-Keepers for over a century: British Railway Hotels under State Ownership, 1948-84". In: Back Track, Volume 20, No. 7 (July 2006). Pp 390 - 399. ISSN 0955-538071.
  4. ^ English Lakes Hotels News Archive
  5. ^ "Splash 'committed' to finishing Morecambe scheme". Place North West. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Article in The Visitor

External links[edit]