Midland Hotel, Morecambe
OutstandingÂ art deco railway hotel on the sea frontÂ at Morecambe.
Period of construction:
1900 - 1949
Transport Trust plaque:
Marine Road West, Morecambe LA4 4BU
The Midland Hotel is an outstanding Art Deco building in Morecambe. 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.
It was built to replace two earlier hotels: one in Morecambe that was built in 1848 by the 'Little North Western' Railway (see OTH entry for Ingleton) and had been renamed the Midland Hotel in 1871 when the Midland Railway took it over; the other, a hotel at Heysham, called the Heysham Towers, which was converted from a private house in 1896. The Heysham Towers was intended to serve railway steamer traffic from Heysham Harbour to Belfast, but it was not a success and was sold in 1919.
In 1932, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) bought land from Morecambe Corporation to build the new 40-bedroom Midland Hotel. It opened in July 1933.
The building owes a lot to the Streamline Moderne branch of Art Deco. Oliver Hill designed a three storey curving building, with features such as a central circular tower containing the entrance and a spiral staircase, and a circular cafe at the north end. The front of the hotel also boasts two Art Deco seahorses, which can be viewed at close detail by access to the restored hotel's new rooftop terrace.
The hotel stands on the seafront with the convex side facing the sea, while the concave side faces the former Midland Railway Promenade station. Hill designed the hotel to complement the curve of the promenade, which also allowed guests to view spectacular panoramas of the Cumbrian coast and Lake District.
In September 1939 the hotel was requisitioned by the Royal Navy, who used it until September 1947.Â Upon nationalisation of the railways, ownership transferredÂ in January 1948 to the British Transport Commission (BTC), coming under the control of the BTC's Railway Executive. However, inÂ July 1948 -Â along with the other railway hotels -Â ownership was transferred to the BTC's Hotels Executive. It was sold on in 1952.
After a period of gradual decline, it re-opened after a major refurbishment in 2008. It is a Grade II* listed building.
Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)
Carter, Oliver, An illustrated history of British Railway Hotels: 1838-1983, Silver Link Publishing, ISBN 0-947971-36-X (1990)
Simmons, Jack and Biddle, Gordon, The Oxford Companion to British Railway History: From 1603 to the 1990s,Oxford University Press,ISBN 0-19-211697-5 (1997)
Skelsey, Geoffrey. "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.
Permanently viewable. Visit website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01524 424000.
How To Find:
By road: On A589, Midland Road Central, in central Morecambe.
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