The Midland Hotel - Morecambe
Eric Morecambe returns and shares equal space with the newly refurbished Midland Hotel on the Promenade, Morecambe Bay and The 'Sunshine Express'
There's something about postcard collections isn't there? I am not a collector of postcards (as such) and yet I seem to have hundreds of them strewn over the house! Most of them, as I look at them nostalgically are from people I cherish who originally sent them as a means to let me know they had reached their destination safely or wanted me to know what a wonderful time they were having. Today, of course, that has been superceded by the use of text/sms or Skype or any number of other electronic methods which leave no physical trail - after all who wants to keep an 'arrived ok' or 'held up at the airport' or 'stuck in traffic jam' notification. The postcard at least is a very personal thing. I know that when I sent any, it was with the recipient in mind and wherever I could, I chose appropriately. I think only the Eiffel Tower matches the Midland Hotel for variations on a theme! It's interesting to follow the fortunes of the hotel (the Eiffel Tower of course has never lost its appeal) as my examples will show how the hotel became diminished after the war and throughout the 50s to well into the 2000s before its Renaissance in the first and second decades of the 21st century. An additional bonus of having so many images over the years, it gives us a historical record of the hotel. For my own part, I created a postcard with a chronological record printed on the reverse (not leaving much room for any messages) for the simple reason that having been involved for so long in the campaign run by the 'Friends of the Midland' and suffering so many setbacks, by the time Urban Splash took over I was seriously afraid that the hotel would fall down before it was saved. Luckily that was not the case.
I was so impressed with a postcard that had been created for the closing of the 'Ocean Hotel' in Saltdean, that I was inspired to create my own when it was announced that after many disappointments and stop/starts yet another company, this time Urban Splash, were to take over the restoration. At the time we did not know Urban Splashs' pedigree and their success in restoration.
English Lakes have created a series of 'reproduction' and original variations on the postcards already known to us from previous pages and have used their own Seahorse Graphic to accentuate the revival. These two postcards are at opposite ends of the spectrum - the top faithfully recreates the stylised image which was seen on posters in the 1930s and the bottom is from an original painting by Patricia Haskey which shows us the new improved hotel with its additional roof top suites and the preservation of the shrub in the middle of the car park.
Who doesn't love these little fellahs? Sculpted by Eric Gill to represent the famous Morecambe Shrimp these Seahorses greet the visitors from the top of the entrance tower/atrium - commission and © Simon Webb photography - from my private collection
Entrance and front elevation of the restored Midland Hotel - commission and © Simon Webb photography - from my private collection
The stairwell and entrance lobby reproduction from the original 1933 architectural sources - from my private collection
The side entrance from the sea front (no longer in existence) - reproduced from and © of the Architectural Press Archive/RIBA Photographs - from my private collection
Rear of the Hotel the Rotunda café bar - commission and © Simon Webb photography - from my private collection
Approaching the hotel from the road reproduced from the original 1933 architectural sources - from my private collection
Front elevation from an unusual angle © Mike Shepherd 2011 - from my private collection
The restored Eric Gill 'Neptune and Triton' medallion - commission and © Simon Webb photography - from my private collection
The restored Eric Gill 'Map of North West England' - commission and © Simon Webb photography - from my private collection
Eric and his brother MacDonald Gill both used maps for illustrative purposes - see Queen Mary 1936
Rear of the Midland commissioned using RIBA sources - artist John Dean Monroe Harvey - from my private collection
Wonderfully atmospheric Rotunda (or rear elevation) © Mike Shepherd 2011 - from my private collection
Rear of the Midland commissioned using RIBA photographic sources - from my private collection
Page updated: 30th September 2016