Strand Palace Hotel

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The Strand Palace hotel photographed on 25 August 1981.

The Strand Palace Hotel is a large hotel on the north side of the Strand, London, England, positioned close to Covent Garden, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square and the River Thames.[1]

History[edit]

The hotel was built after Exeter Hall was demolished in 1907. It opened in 1909 [2] and was refurbished in the Art Deco style during the 1930s,[3] but has now been modernised.

Strand Hotel Limited was incorporated on 31 October 1907 with some 4,000 shareholders. Created by the Salmon & Gluckstein families, it was established to fund the building of the Strand Palace Hotel. J Lyons & Co acquired shares in this enterprise in 1922, and also bought the adjoining Haxells family hotel in order to expand and improve the Strand hotel.[2]

After extensive redevelopment, the hotel became an art deco showcase, and reopened in 1928 boasting 980 bedrooms. The same year, some not so prominent changes were being made behind the scenes. Two secondhand coal-fired steam boilers, salvaged from World War I battleships, were installed in the boiler house. The rear of the property was occupied by the Winter Garden Restaurant. The Winter Garden restaurant had a large domed ceiling and could seat over 500 guests, which were served by over one hundred staff. Due to its large number of bedrooms, the hotel became popular with American forces before they were sent into action in World War II. Indeed, the hotel was in fact commissioned as an official U.S. rest and recuperation residence.

Once again the hotel became an important social venue as Londoners and war-weary soldiers jived and jitterbugged long into the night. Over the years, many of these service personnel have returned to relive memories, and today their families and relatives still visit the Strand.

The postwar era saw the Strand Palace Hotel implement a number of improvements. The introduction of private bathrooms in all guest rooms in 1958 reduced the overall number of rooms at the hotel to 786. The increased number of bathroom facilities meant oil-fired boilers had to be installed to cope with the demand for hot water.

In 1968, the front hall and ground floor restaurants, including the Winter Garden, were redesigned, and the first computerised billing system in London was installed. The revolving doors designed by Oliver P. Bernard were removed in this redesign, but were of such fine quality and historic interest that curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum requested them for their collection. The doors were exhibited in 2003 in the museum's major exhibition 'Art Deco: 1910-1939'.

In 1976, Forte bought the lease for the Strand Palace Hotel from the Lyons Hotel Group. Over the next ten years minor refurbishment took place throughout the hotel. In 1985 a more in-depth refurbishment was undertaken on all floors of the new hotel and this included new furniture, new bathrooms and a redecoration of the bedrooms.

'London and Regional Properties' took over the hotel in 2006.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Review of the Strand Palace Hotel". Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b "The Strand Palace Hotel - The History". The Strand Palace Hotel in Central London. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Strand Palace". Art Deco: 1910-1939. Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′40″N 0°07′16″W / 51.511°N 0.121°W / 51.511; -0.121