The Midland Hotel - Morecambe

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The Midland Hotel in the 21st Century

Original LMS poster

The original 1933 poster advertising the Midland Hotel as England's latest seaside hotel

Modernist Britain

Midland Hotel streamline Moderne

Modernist image

Images © of Modernist Britain

1st June 2018 - Happy 10th Birthday Midland Hotel

Seahorse No. 10 Gin

Seahorse No. 10 Gin in a floral cocktail

Seahorse No. 10 Gin with juniper

A trio of Seahorse No. 10 Gin cocktails

Specially blended the Seahorse No. 10 Gin celebrating 10 years of a successful re-opening of the Hotel after a total refurbishment.

November 2017 - Manchester Evening News

Take a step back in time at the Midland Hotel Morecambe

Lovingly restored, the Midland Hotel is a tantalising taste of yesteryear - as James Robson discovered

Midland Hotel 2017

Image as used by the Manchester Evening News - courtesy & © of The Midland Hotel via Fb

There is something so familiar about the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. Memories of old black and white movies on rainy Saturday afternoons are brought to mind. It’s a great big warm hug of a place - a step back in time. Used as a setting for Agatha Christie’s Poirot it is impossible not to be whisked away to another era. The imposing art deco building stands out as a jewel of Morecambe Bay - beautifully restored and oozing history from its classic club chairs that circle the reception, to the grand staircase that just demands a Hollywood-style entrance. It feels like more than a hotel - rather a living, breathing tribute to a bygone time. Hours can be whiled away sitting on the terrace bar, sipping cocktails, overlooking the beautiful views of the bay, all to the soundtrack of a 1930s playlist on loop.

Originally opened in 1933, it was a favourite haunt of Coco Chanel**, Sir Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward. Since being reopened in 2008 - after closing 10 years earlier - that old fashioned glamour has been recaptured in loving detail, with original features pointing to its former glories. Today it can be enjoyed all over again by a new generation looking for a weekend away, with local attractions like Williamson Park, Bowland Wild Boar Park and Blackpool Pleasure Beach all in close proximity. But the Midland is an attraction all in itself - and the temptation is to just absorb the experience, venturing out for walks along the promenade in between drinks and meals back at the hotel.

The sun terrace restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea - sourcing local produce and offering a panoramic view of the bay. The duck egg benedict is a delicious twist on the classic dish, with a full English or Port of Lancaster grilled Manx kipper among the choices on an extensive breakfast menu. For dinner the roast rump of lamb with sweetbreads and pickled beetroot is luxurious - the Himalayan Salt aged fillet steak another example of an impressive menu. The bedrooms continue the art deco theme, with a modern touch, yet also antiquated. Designed by Manchester firm Urban Splash, the colour palette was taken from an old cine film that featured scenes from Morecambe. It is all in-keeping with a sense of deja vu that runs throughout the Midland - and even if just for one night, gives you an enchanting taste of yesteryear.

**I wish someone would provide a picture of Coco at the Midland and her 'reputed' landing on the beach in a aeroplane (one hopes the tide was out!)

September 2017 - Sam to return to the skies announcement

Sam in the nose cone


Sam the dog space adventure announced

Poor old Sam looks like he's going into space again this time as a nose cone! - Images courtesy of the Hospitality & Catering News

Cumbrian hotel group mascot turns his paw to rocket science

Sam the space dog is returning to the skies this autumn to help primary school children with another science project, this time as a passenger aboard a rocket. The mascot of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues caused a global internet news sensation last year when he disappeared during a balloon flight at an altitude of over 25 kilometres above the earth. (See below)

Now he is to be launched skyward once again, strapped into the eight metre tall Skybolt 2 research rocket for its inaugural flight courtesy of Manchester based Starchaser Industries, which specialises in space related projects. The purpose of the flight, sponsored by the University of Chester, is to test onboard electronics and demonstrate a bespoke parachute recovery system to be used aboard Starchaser’s future people carrying rocket.  It also aims to encourage young people to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects in higher education. The children of Morecambe Bay Community Primary School and the Midland Hotel were invited to get involved in the project, with Sam the Dog offered a VIP status boarding pass. The flight will take place from a testing site in the North East in mid-September, weather permitting.

"We were thrilled that Starchaser Industries wanted to give the school children and Sam another taste of space science,” explains Ben Berry from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.  “We are keeping our fingers crossed that Sam will be safely returned this time as he will fall to earth gently by parachute with the rocket intact.”

Steve Bennett from Starchaser Industries says:  “The duration of Sam’s flight will be just under four minutes, but our rocket motors will provide enough thrust to accelerate him to the maximum permitted altitude of 4,000 feet in less than 20 seconds

Siobhan Collingwood from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School added: “When Starchaser Industries approached us to see if the children would be interested in putting Sam into a rocket, we jumped at the chance.  It’s another exciting and inspiring project for them to be involved in, bringing science to life with a real life experimental rocket launch.” Source : Hospitality & Catering News and Cumbria Crack

September 2017 - Annual 'Vintage by the Sea'

Saturday 2nd September - Sunday 3rd September 2017

Midland Hotel aerial view 2017

Azure Blue Sky and Sea, Lush Green foliage, Terracota walkways, bright white rendering, I could wax poetic for hours - the perfect setting for Morecambe's 'Jewel in the Crown' - the Midland Hotel - image courtesy of Midland Vintage

The Midland created the Vintage by The Sea festival in collaboration with Hemingway Design to celebrate the building's 80th anniversary in 2013. Now an annual event in Morecambe's calendar, the festival returns on 2nd and 3rd September 2017. This year The Midland is delighted to host Vintage Afternoon Tea and The Torch Club as well as the Design and Craft market, Makers Workshops and vintage vehicles.

Afternoon Tea

What better way to spend an afternoon than experiencing authentic and elegant 1930s Afternoon Tea in our Sun Terrace Restaurant overlooking the splendour of Morecambe Bay.

We will host four Afternoon Tea sittings throughout the weekend from 12:30pm until 2:00pm and 3:00pm until 4:30pm on the Saturday or the Sunday.

2017 - Preparations for the 5th outing of the 'Vintage by the Sea' Fun Fun Fun Festival at the Midland Hotel!

Vintage by the Sea 2017 Poster

Wayne Hemingway hashtags my Fb page My Midland Hotel Fb page

It's quite gratifying to see that the Festival backed by Wayne Hemingway hashtags my modest little Fb fan page tribute to the fabulous Midland Hotel! (A far cry from the nasty and dismissive e-mail he sent me when the Midland was derelict and I was a humble member of the 'Friends of the Midland' LOL - what comes around turns around! Definition)

Read what Country Life had to say in 2016

June 2017 - Former Midland Manager Returns for Nostalgic Visit

It was a privilege to welcome the Speirs family back to The Midland after many years. Mr Robert Speirs, now 91, was The Midland Manager through much of the 1960s. The current Midland Manager, Mark Needham, was able to chat with Robert and his son, Stewart, and hear some of the stories of their time at The Midland. Stewart has fond and vivid memories of living in the hotel until he was nine years old, and he has kindly shared some of his stories and given us a peek in his father’s photograph album.

Robert Speirs then and now

Images of Mr Robert Speirs courtesy and © of The Midland Hotel

Thunderbirds are Go!

We had our own self-contained apartment on the hotel first floor of the hotel. I remember playing Thunderbirds with my big brother, Jonathan. When we received an ‘emergency distress call’ we would drop down through the laundry chute from the ground floor store to the basement laundry basket to pick up Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2 (scooter and pedal car). Then we would take the lift to the ground floor, peddle out the service door and down the ramp to the car park to start our rescue mission. Obviously Health & Safety wasn’t quite so stringent in those days!

Strictly Ballroom

Mr and Mrs Speirs brought ballroom dancing competitions to the hotel which was very popular.

Miss Great Britain

The sixties was the era of beauty pageants and none more popular than Miss Great Britain. Many of the competitors and judges would stay at The Midland. Recently we invited the girls of 1968 back for a reunion dinner.

Some Famous Faces

The Midland has hosted many famous faces over the years, and quite a number came to switch on the Morecambe & Heysham Illuminations, including… Acker Bilk, the musician famous for the timeless classic ‘Stranger on the Shore’. Stewart tells us that after lunch he and his brother went up to the family living room to listen to our favourite Yogi bear record on the family radiogram. The foyer and restaurant were very busy with residents and clients eating and drinking with some suitable Acker Bilk background music. All of a sudden this was replaced with Yogi Bear and Boo Boo planning a special “pic-a-nik”. I don’t think my dad had ever moved as fast, racing up the stairs to fix the problem! How were we to know that someone had wired our record player to the restaurant?

(Sir) Roger Moore switched the illuminations on in Morecambe in 1965 and stayed at the hotel. As you can imagine, there were a lot of hysterical fans desperate to get a glimpse of him and some had climbed on the scaffolding that was in place for exterior painting. I remember Dad being fearful that someone would fall off, but fortunately nobody got hurt. Roger mentioned that he loved Morecambe Bay Shrimps and one member of staff went out of their way to go out and buy him some but forgot to give him them as he was leaving the Hotel. Another team member jumped into his car and chased Roger Moore down the M6 and managed to catch up with him and gave him the shrimps.

Max Bygraves was a regular celebrity visitor and became friends with my parents.

Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell aka Steptoe & Son, the hugely popular sitcom. In their honour, Chef arranged a cake in the form of their Rag & Bone cart.

Simon Dee,  TV personality/DJ and a cameo role in The Italian Job. The Midland pastry cook made an icing sugar replica of his signature E Type jaguar. Now if we can track that pastry cook down, she would be a very worthy +1 winner!

A Heritage In Safe Hands

The Midland is quite different in many ways to the 1960’s hotel that was Stewart’s home. However, it retains many of the original features and all of the style! He commented… "The Midland will always have a very special place in my heart, and it is great to see it looking so good, and it being in good hands." Mr Robert Speirs

June 2017 - Annual Kitefest

The annual kitefest held on the beach behind the Midland Hotel.

Kites at the Midland

Kites at the Midland

Kites at the Midland

Images courtesy & © of

May 2017

The Midland Hotel a perfect backcloth or 'Bus Stop' for the beautifully restored double decker bus.

Restored Vintage Double Decker Bus 2017

The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust will be operating its popular ‘Vintage Bus Running Day’ in Morecambe Sunday, May 28th, 2017.  There will also be a display of vintage buses and coaches on the promenade near the Midland Hotel.

April 2017

2017 Aeriel view of the Midland Hotel April

April 2017 Aeriel view of the Midland Hotel

Two fantastic aerial views by Sean a UK CAA Approved aerial drone photographer & cinematographer

December 2016

Drinks at the Midland

A lovely array of refreshing cocktails in the Rotunda Bar

Midnald Hotel December 2016

Christmas lights in the restaurant at the Midland Hotel 2016

All decked out for Christmas and then the magic inside to follow - all images courtesy and © The Midland & English Lakes

October 2016

MH - October 2016

Beautifully captured image of the Midland - courtesy and © of Dominic Cumming

April 2016

Space Toy det

Space Toy

Going up: Sam the mascot begins his ascent over Morecambe. He was attached to a helium balloon along with GPS tracking equipment and cameras - Image courtesy and © of Mercury Press

Watch Sam being launched from the Hotel on You Tube

Harness repairsBalloon launch

Harness repairs prior to the launch from the Midland Hotel roof

Sam has the MH as a backdrop as he ascends

Sam has the Midland as his backdrop as he ascends into the sky

Sam has the MH as a backdrop as he ascends

Sam keeps the Midland as a backdrop as he ascends and swirls until he catches his 'space wave'

From the Morecambe Visitor

Cuddly dog launched into space from Morecambe

Sam was filmed by specially attached GoPro action cameras and tracked by GPS equipment as he rose, propelled by a helium balloon, from the Midland hotel roof at a rate of six metres per second. The mascot of the Morecambe hotel was launched by a team of Morecambe Bay Primary School pupils as part of a science project. They joined forces with Midland Hotel managers English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues and for the launch in windy conditions on Tuesday morning.

Children cheered with excitement as the canine astronaut took one small step for Sam and one giant leap for dog-kind. School pupil George, aged 10, from Morecambe said: “We’ve made history for the school here today and I’m excited to have helped send a toy into space.” Ben Berry from English Lakes said: “This has been an exciting science project for the children – it has put them in charge of their very own edge of space mission and we were more than happy to give Sam the Dog the chance to follow in Tim Peake’s recent footsteps. “We were fortunate enough to get a nice clear day which has provided some stunning aerial photographs and footage from above Morecambe and the whole bay area.”

The UK Space Agency also provided the school with a real life space suit for the children to learn about space survival.

Siobhan Collingwood, head teacher of Morecambe Bay Primary, said: “We have been able to tailor lesson plans, presentations and worksheets around the project to add to the usual science curriculum. “We will also be using the data and the images recorded from Sam the Dog’s flight as teaching materials. It all contributes to the learning experience for the students and provides a sense of visual achievement.”

Chris Rose, from Sheffield based, said: “We have a passion for practical science projects like this and for helping students of all ages and abilities become more engaged in learning. “Sending Sam the Dog into space was an ideal opportunity for the children to learn more about gravity, meteorology, technology and of course travel at the edge of space.”

From the Daily Mail

Sam the fearless space dog lost in action 12 miles above Earth: Hunt for toy sent to edge of space only for contact to be lost as he fell to the ground

- Sam the toy dog was sent to the edge of space as part of a school project
- He was attached to a helium balloon, GPS tracking equipment and cameras
- Hunt has been launched for the toy after it lost contact with ground control
- Sam could have landed anywhere across a swathe of northern England 

If you find a bedraggled cuddly toy dumped on the ground today, give it a second look – you may have stumbled across a pioneer of space exploration. The hunt is on for Sam the toy dog, who was launched to the edge of space as part of a school project before contact with ground control was lost. Space scientists say he could have come back to earth anywhere across a swathe of northern England and have appealed to the public to be on the look-out.


The white fluffy toy was attached to a helium balloon along with GPS tracking equipment and cameras on Tuesday before being released, travelling more than 12 miles above the Earth’s surface. Pupils from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School in Lancashire – who monitored Sam’s flight to teach them about space and illustrate the curvature of the Earth – enjoyed several stunning images showing him floating high above the planet. But after the balloon popped and the equipment returned to earth, landing around 48 miles to the south-east in a field near Burnley, Sam – the mascot of a Lake District tourism organisation – was nowhere to be seen.


Now mission scientists are grappling with the hitherto overlooked discipline of the aerodynamics of a toy dog in the hope of tracking him down. And if that fails, a luxury stay at the art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe is being offered to anyone who finds and returns the toy. Ben Berry, of English Lakes Hotels, Resorts and Venues, which has put up the reward for the return of its mascot, said: ‘Space travel is a risky business and Sam’s freefall didn’t quite go as planned.’ Siobhan Collingwood, headmistress at the school, said: ‘The children would love to see Sam the dog safely returned with tales to tell of his adventures.’


Chris Rose, of Sheffield company Sent Into Space, which works with schools around the country on budget space projects, said: ‘We’re pretty sure Sam landed within a 40 to 50-mile radius of Burnley. He could have landed in North Lancashire or as far afield as York, Sheffield or the Peak District.’


June 2015 - Catch the Wind Festival

Kites on the beach at the Midland Hotel

Numerous 'kites' 'catching the wind outside the Midland Hotel - image courtesy and © of The Midland Hotel & English Lakes

September 2015 - Party Time

September 2015 Link to Fb page

September 2015 - a happy view of the Midland Hotel as the centre of attention on a sunny day - image courtesy of Morecambe & Heysham Past & Present

2015 - Chisel and Mouse Sculptors

Midland and Ocean on Chisel and Mouse

Once again the Midland and its twin the Ocean Hotel feature on the 'same page' this time in an initiative launched by Chisel & Mouse sculptors

2015 - Champagne Afternoon Teas

Afternoon Tea at the Midland

Great to see the Artwork reflecting the 1930s period!

2014 - The Fly Past

Flypast over the Midland Hotel

Image courtesy of Zoe Humpage via Vintage by the Sea

Fly past the Midland Hotel

Image courtesy of Richard Gill and Great Impressions

2014 - Vintage-by-the-Sea

Green Car at the Midland

I love Veteran and Vintage vehicles - isn't this great? Image courtesy of Kris Littlewood


A Pontiac for us to admire - courtesy of John Bleakley

2013 - The Torch Club

Torch Club Menu at the Midland Hotel

Dining at the 'Torch Club' - image courtesy of Midland Vintage

An unforgettable night of 1940s glamour returns to The Midland on Saturday. Join us as a guest for this very special evening or take a look at our weekend accommodation packages below.

Arrive at 7.00pm for a welcome drink before taking your seat for a elegant four course dinner in this most iconic venue at 7.30pm.

Fancy fox trotting to one of the UK’s best 1930s orchestras and DJs? Perhaps a classic party dance such as 'The Palais Glide' would do the trick? Once again, we will host live music and entertainment throughout the evening.

Rotch Club ad and review

Celebrating 80 years of Seaside Glamour

"The Midland first opened its doors in July 1933. Designed by Oliver Hill with interior decoration by Eric Gill, the hotel has a rich heritage. It was requisitioned for use as a military hospital during the Second World War and during the eighties the hotel was even used as a location for filming TV episodes of Agatha Christie's detective stories Poirot, starring David Suchet. In a state of disrepair, The Midland was forced to close its doors in 1998, and stood derelict and at the mercy of the sea air for almost 10 years. In 2006 Urban Splash commenced the restoration
and refurbishment of the building. The Midland re-opened its doors on 1st June 2008, with beautifully restored original features such as the grand cantilevered staircase, a number of artworks by the renowned artist. Eric Gill, and a few contemporary additions, such as the chandelier in the Rotunda Bar. In April 2009, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues took over management of the hotel. English Lakes is a family business who run five very individual properties and have over 60 years of experience in the hotel industry.

Thank you for joining us at Vintage by the Sea to celebrate our 80th anniversary."

Morecambe's iconic Midland Hotel set to celebrate its 80th birthday in style

PUBLISHED: 14:10 05 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:05 01 May 2016 | Roger Borrell reportspeople

Morecambe's iconic Midland Hotel will celebrate its 80th birthday in style.

Back in the 1930s a reviewer described the spiral structure that coils sinuously upward through the heart of the Midland Hotel as 'a fairy staircase which one would willingly climb until it reached heaven.' It would be tempting to conclude that the old boy had been at the cooking sherry. But the truth is, even 80 years on, once you have reached the top of those stairs you know what he meant. The chrome handrail that has been gripped by the likes of Laurence Olivier and Coco Chanel reaches a dramatic full stop with a ten foot ceiling medallion depicting Neptune and Triton, carved by sculptor Eric Gill and painted by his son-in-law Denis Tegetmeier. It is heavenly.

While many talented, hard working people were responsible for building Morecambe's monument to the art deco era, it was Gill who made it a really remarkable structure. From the outside, it looks like a great white liner but it was his beautifully carved seahorses, like huge chess pieces, that give it that extra something. Gill carved them in situ and hotel guide and historian Brian Taylor takes great delight in recounting that the artist, high on a scaffolding platform, worked wearing an artist's smock. And nothing else, much to the alarm of passers-by who happened to look up. Like many geniuses, Gill had his flaws and they are demonstrated in some of his pieces at the Midland. Look closely, and you'll often see someone with their hand where it ought not to be. His masterpiece towers over the reception desk, a polished Portland stone relief of Odysseus being welcomed from the sea by Nausicaa. Gill thought the theme a good fit with the concept of hospitality and he was right.

Thieves were less hospitable when the long-closed Midland was a crumbling wreck. They removed the six tonne artwork but later panicked and abandoned all 16 pieces in a service station car park in Yorkshire. Since it was saved from destruction by Manchester-based developer, Urban Splash, the people who loved the hotel and the items that disappeared from it during the bad times have been returning.

English Lakes Hotels will continue that process during 2013 as part of the 80th anniversary celebrations. 'Many people have special memories of the Midland,' says the general manager, Matt Stanaway. 'But there must be a lot of people who also have mementoes.' Matt and his team are putting together an exhibition of memorabilia and former guests are loaning items. The hotel is also doing its bit – they have recently bought a piece of china from one of the original tea services and the team tracked down and brought back a beautiful art deco cabinet. 'We've also found 40 of the original walnut veneered bedroom doors,' adds Matt. 'They were just stacked up across the road in the Winter Gardens. We can't use them as doors any more so we are having them made into coffee tables.'

While he is keen to celebrate the past, the Midland team knows their big challenge is to meet the expectations of guests who want the history but with 21st century luxury. 'This is never going to be a museum piece or a pastiche of a 1930s hotel,' he declares. Nevertheless, they are doing their best to recreate the finer points of the Midland. Urban Splash started the process with great attention to detail, such as using tiny shards of coloured glass in the render so it sparkles in the sunlight. And soon, Matt hopes to have the striking lobby floor back to its best with thousands of restored mosaic glass tiles being relaid.

During this year, the Midland is planning a series of events to celebrate its 80th. As well as the exhibition of memorabilia, there are plans for a gala dinner, a special afternoon tea and a vintage day with vehicles from the 1930s. You suspect there will never come a time when the Midland is totally restored. Too much has changed and the hotel has been through too many traumatic times, but the levels of hospitality and service which made the Midland world famous are back. Brian, who is also concierge, came here because of his love for the hotel. He packed in a senior role in business and moved to Morecambe with his wife just so he could be at the Midland. 'My wife and I used to come in the days when you could get bed and breakfast for £20,' he recalls. 'But before it closed, it was pretty grim. One couple complained to the then owner that they had no hot water in their room. He told them: "Well, you've only booked for bed and breakfast, not hot water." Happily, those days are gone never to return.' Morecambe's iconic Midland Hotel set to celebrate its 80th birthday in style

2013 - The 1968 Miss Great Britain Reunion

In November 2013 a group of the contestants from the 1968 contest gathered together for a meal and get together reunion.

Contestants recreating the 1968 publicity shot on the Midland stairwell and the 21st century Menu Card for the occasion - thanks to © English Lakes for the use of the images

2013 - Iconic Backdrop

Tutti Frutti Girls at the Midland Tutti Frutti at the Midland

Tutti Frutti Copyright - Tutti Frutti Morecambe 2007-2014 / Image copyright The Visitor taken at the 2013 Tutti Frutti Festival

2013 - Rotunda Make-Over

Eric Ravilious and his wife Eileen Lucy "Tirzah" Garwood Jonquil Cook and Isa Clee-Cadman 2013

Eric Ravilious and his wife Eileen Lucy "Tirzah" Garwood in 1933 and Jonquil Cook and Isa Clee-Cadman 2013 (© Christopher Holmes photography)

Work in Progress

Artists materials and reference book

Scale of Rotunda Makeover

Featuring on our front page - the wonderful re-painting of the original murals by Eric Ravilious and his wife "Tirzah" Garwood by modern day artists - Jonquil Cook and Isa Clee-Cadman 2013 work in progress - The Midland Ravilious Rotunda Bar Christopher Holmes Photography

1933 - 2013 - a celebration of 80 fascinating years

80 year poster

Cleverly using the original poster design brings the Midland up to date to celebrate its 80th anniversary without losing its iconic status

30th May 2012 - Country Life

The Midland Hotel, Morecambe

Emma Hughes May 30, 2012

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside. Or we did. Nowadays, the majority of Britons opt to spend their summers abroad, basking in guaranteed sunshine-and how our coastal architecture has suffered as a result. Half a century of minimal investment and cack-handed planning has left what were once truly splendid resorts looking seriously the worse for wear. Margate, Turner Contemporary aside, is forlorn and unlovely. Blackpool, in its heyday a grandly curlicued wonderland, has been tragically diminished. Meanwhile, Saltdean’s beleaguered Lido, perhaps the finest in the country, soldiers on, the threat of closure casting a permanent shadow over its waters. All along our shoreline stand historic buildings that brought inestimable pleasure to millions of holidaying families, and we have shamefully neglected them.

The Midland, that Modernist masterpiece on the Morecambe seafront, has been one of the lucky ones. It closed its doors in 1998, the umpteenth victim of the decline in British bucket-and-spade tourism. For almost a decade, the building stood derelict and at the mercy of the elements, before being rescued by Manchester developers Urban Splash. It reopened in 2008, and thanks to the sympathetic stewardship of management company English Lakes, it remains a sight to gladden the heart of conservationists (and Poirot fans-it featured in a 1989 episode) everywhere.

Opened in 1933, the present Oliver Hill-designed building (which replaced a gloomy Victorian railway hotel) was built to blend harmoniously into its surroundings, with a façade that followed the line of the new municipal promenade and marine-themed artworks by Eric Gill. It was quite unlike anything that had come before, and within a season it had become the place to be seen on a summer’s day. Society high-flyers flocked there in search of seaside seclusion (the roof allowed high-profile guests to sunbathe away from prying eyes), rubbing shoulders with the stars who were performing at Morecambe’s Winter Gardens. On any given evening, you might have found Noël Coward sipping a Bullshot on the terrace while Laurence Olivier held forth in the restaurant, and George Formby, Jimmy Clitheroe and a brace of big-band leaders swapping stories about the night’s show in the American Bar. Winston Churchill, Gloria Vanderbilt and even Edward VIII were said to have passed through the doors, and the impromptu parties held at The Midland went on until dawn. Think Chateau Marmont-on-Sea. The critics couldn’t get enough of The Midland, either. Writing in the Architectural Review, Lord Clonmore (a steady fellow not usually given to whimsy) described the building as ‘rising from the sea like a great white ship, gracefully curved’. Architecture Illustrated devoted an entire issue to it. And a Country Life correspondent was so delighted by the dramatically cantilevered central stairway that he likened it to ‘a fairy staircase that one would willingly climb ‘til it reached to heaven’.

Following in said correspondent’s giddy footsteps, my fellow traveler and I set off from London on a cheerless, drizzly day, hoping for some restorative sunshine. When we arrived in Morecambe three hours later (having changed onto a fun-sized train at Lancaster), we weren’t disappointed. The Midland sparkled invitingly on the seafront, and just across the water rose Cocklaw Fell, Warton Crag and the Fairy Steps. If you’re keen to see the Lake District but don’t fancy bedding down among Beatrix Potter memorabilia, this would make an excellent base.

Inside, The Midland makes good its aesthetic promises. The lobby was all shining marble and ocean-liner chrome, and somebody was playing Cole Porter songs on a grand piano. I couldn’t have been more delighted if Bertie Wooster had bounded up and asked me whether I’d seen Jeeves. My Country Life predecessor was right about the main staircase-spiraling elegantly upwards towards an Eric Gill ceiling mural, it’s one to glide down in a bias-cut satin dress and diamonds. Lacking either of these, but still keen to change for dinner (given our surroundings, it felt only proper), we headed for our room. The fittings and fixtures were bang up to date, but still very much in keeping with the spirit of Streamline Moderne-clean lines and soothing sea-spray hues prevailed. The long, curving dining room, with its glass frontage, commands what must be one of the finest views in England, if not the world. With the sun setting in spectacular fashion before us, my companion and I worked our way through a menu that made excellent use of locally sourced Lancashire ingredients. Potted shrimp, Morecambe’s signature dish, was impeccably executed, soused in mace-flecked butter and served with warm, crusty sourdough. Mains of monkfish and salmon were, as you’d expect, beautifully fresh. And sticky toffee pudding-which, I’m told, was invented across the bay in Cartmel-rounded things off in stonking style. The staff couldn’t have been nicer, and they all seemed as buoyed-up as we were by the surroundings. After planning the next day’s adventures-a trip to Lancaster Castle, fish and chips for lunch, a gentle wander through the fields inland-over a nightcap in the chic Rotunda Bar, the two of us made our way back to our room, full and contented. There, we fell asleep with the windows open, listening to the sea.

The Midland is a special place. Were I, like little Eloise in Manhattan, to be given the run of a hotel of my choosing, I would pick it in a heartbeat. Long may it serve as a shining example of best practice to those with dominion over our waterfront buildings. To paraphrase Philip Larkin (himself keenly appreciative of the ‘miniature gaiety of seasides’), we should be kind to them, while there is still time.

15.12.2012 - Iconic hotel calls for 1930s memorabilia - Visitor

Families, friends and former guests of The Midland in Morecambe are being asked to dig out memorabilia from the hotel’s golden past.

Revamped Midland

With the iconic hotel reaching its eightieth anniversary in 2013, English Lakes Hotels, Resorts and Venues is seeking souvenirs and mementos which may have been stashed away for years in attics and drawers, with a view to putting on a commemorative display during the Midland’s milestone year.

In its hey-day the art-deco masterpiece was an immensely popular place to stay for the wealthy Edwardian middle classes from across northern England.

It also attracted the era’s celebrity set including Coco Channel, George Formby, Wallis Simpson and Noel Coward.

“The sort of things we are looking for are photographs, letters and postcards from the golden era of the 1930s, as well as other items such as original towels, napkins, cutlery and menus,” explained The Midland general manager Matt Stanaway.

“Anything really which former guests might have kept for sentimental or nostalgic reasons to celebrate or record their time at The Midland.”

“It has always been a fabulous venue for parties, balls and weddings, as well as an historic destination for honeymoons and family holidays. “We’re just as keen to hear from people who have a story or specific memory about The Midland which they would like to share.”

October 2009 - Early Review - Sunday Telegraph

Telegraph review 2009

Obscured dialogue - 'eventually recovered from the back of a lorry is back in place' - says it all doesn't it?

Ready for Business - the Midland re-Opens in 2008

The grand opening finally happened, as promised by Urban Splash, on 1st June 2008 on the 75th anniversary of the original opening in 1933 (yes, I know we all know that the hotel opened in 1933!) Compare the two aerial shots here and on the 1933 page and it is clear that the original footprint of the hotel remained unchanged. The car park has lost its central feature to accommodate more cars and the roof has gained an additional storey which houses the de-luxe suites but everything else has remained which is what makes it so very special. The hotel differs from both the Aviator and Burgh Island in as much as it has been re-fashioned, re-imagined and brought up to 21st century specifications and standards both of which have allowed for some of the original materials to be retained e.g. the Seahorse mosaic in the entrance hall and the roundel on the stairwell ceiling. Both Burgh Island and more so the Aviator have both been preserved rather than renovated.

Aeriel view of the Midland Hotel on completion

We have the Lancaster Guardian to thank for this stunning aerial image which was taken by BAE Systems photographer Chris Ryding and remains their copyright.

Although this image was taken in 2014 it reflects, just as much as the original 1933 picture, how the hotels looked 75 years apart - not much in it really is there? This photograph was taken from the cockpit of a Eurofighter Typhoon jet (which has a top speed of 1,320 mph) on Wednesday, 19th February, 2014

Midland Hotel launch plans gather pace - Visitor 12.10.2007

Urban Splash is preparing for the re-opening of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe with the launch of a media campaign to attract the first guests.

Midland Hotel Model

An artist's impression of the restored hotel

The 1930s-built hotel will open again in May 2008 and the Manchester office of public relations agency Staniforth has been retained to drive anticipation ahead of the launch, as well as sustaining interest once it's open.

Urban Splash acquired the site in 2003 and began a restoration programme. Scaffolding on the Art Deco building will begin coming down shortly.

Olivier Delaunoy, operations director at the Midland Hotel, said: "The Midland Hotel is a much-loved building, it's a joy to work with it. It's particularly special for us, being our first hotel project."

2002 - Private Eye

Private Eye Article

From : Private Eye Magazine : " Nooks and Corners : Midland Hotel - Morecambe in General

Lancashire County Council

Lancashire County Council have provided some historical aerial shots of the Midland Hotel Promontory :

Current plan of the promontory proposed by Lancashire County Council

Recent aerial view of the promontory

1960s aerial view of the promontory - all images courtesy and © of Lancashire County Council / Images

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