The Midland Hotel - Morecambe


The Architecture the Railways Built

The Midland Hotel features in the final segment of Series 2 episode 9

Historian and railway nut Tim Dunn smartens himself up with a jacket and tie, packs his wheelie suitcase and trundles off to the seaside, to Morecambe and its splendid Art Deco Midland Hotel.

'The Bay' is commissioned for series 3

Belfast Telegraph

NI writer of The Bay thanks fans here for making ITV drama a hit
Filming for the third series will start next month

Gillian Halliday
16th February 2021

The Northern Ireland writer of one of ITV's biggest crime dramas - The Bay - has thanked supporters here for making the second series such a big hit.

Daragh Carville, who is originally from Armagh, has revealed filming for the third series of The Bay will start next month.

Yesterday ITV announced the departure of Scottish actress Morven Christie, who played the lead protagonist, family liaison officer DC Lisa Armstrong.

Read more here


"Travel - Go somewhere different"

Hucknall Dispatch

A testament to the time when a hotel was as much a destination as the place it was built; The Midland Hotel in Morecambe has achieved the remarkable feat of combining the fresh and modern with the classic and Modernist. Once billed as the 'first really modern hotel in the country,' the latest incarnation of The Midland cherishes the Modernist vision of architect Oliver Hill, with original features and artwork specially commissioned for the hotel given pride of place. Yet the renovation by Urban Splash, completed in 2008, has seen the original purpose of the hotel as the lynchpin of tourism in Morecambe, fully realised for the 21st Century. The new rooms - including our rooftop suite - are cleverly laid out, the curved nature of the building is allowed to speak for itself, with the only straight lines coming from the streamlined furniture and fittings. Massive picture windows are the star of the show, offering spectacular panoramic views across Morecambe Bay to the blue and green Lakeland Fells beyond. With comfy chairs and an amazing view, it's easy to while away a couple of hours just watching the ever-changing scenery and enjoying the comfort and luxury of The Midland. The hotel was built as part of a plan to turn a once tiny fishing village into a first class resort for the North of England. And a stroll along the promenade reveals why - golden sands, a beautiful view and the newly regenerated sea front hint at what a gem of a place Morecambe had been in the past - and showcases what it offers to British holidaymakers today. With a selection of independent shops and seaside attractions on the front - including the tribute to the town's most famous son - Eric - as well as a bustling town centre, Festival Market complex, multi-screen cinema and retail park, there's plenty to see and do within a short walk of The Midland. Once the haunt of the upper echelons of society - including Coco Chanel and Noel Coward - The Midland has retained an approach to service which combines attentiveness with humour and care - no overbearing obsequiousness or aloof snootiness here! Instead, it is obvious every member of staff takes pride in their work - as they want you, too, to fall a little bit in love with this imposing white beauty.

Meet the cast of ITV's The Bay

Grantchester and The Replacement's Morven Christie stars as a family liaison officer whose connection to a case may compromise an entire investigation... Set in the coastal town of Morecambe, ITV's latest crime drama The Bay follows Lisa Armstrong, a family liaison officer who takes on a missing persons case after a pair of teenage twins disappear — only to discover that she has a personal connection to the family, which may just jeopardise the case and her career…

Starring Morven Christie as Lisa alongside Ripper Street's Jonas Armstrong and This Is England's Chanel Cresswell, read on for further details about the characters and cast…


The Bay Business Awards

The Lancaster Guardian and Visitor are very proud to be launching the inaugural Bay Business Awards! Sponsored by Lancaster and Morecambe College and Premier Business Care, these awards have been formulated to provide a platform to recognise, reward and celebrate all the businesses, and the people who work within them, across Lancaster and Morecambe Bay area.

The Midland Gin Festival 9th &10th June

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of the hotel by hosting the 'Midland Gin Festival.' on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th June 2018.

Seahorse Gin and Glass

The evening will feature a number of premium gin houses, along with a wide selection of gins & cocktails to purchase. The Hotel will also be launching The Midland's own bespoke Gin – ‘Seahorse Number 10.’


Happy 10th Birthday

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 for nearly ten years. In 2006 the Manchester-based property developer, Urban Splash finally commenced restoring and refurbishing the building.

Birthday Cup Cake

The Midland re-opened its doors on the 1st June 2008, with beautifully restored existing features, such as the grand cantilevered staircase and a number of artworks by the renowned artist, Eric Gill, and a few contemporary additions, such as the chandelier in the Rotunda bar. Source : The Midland

Visit Linda Page's Art Exhibition - "I delight in producing paintings of The Midland and find a wealth of images provided by the changing seasons and beautiful sunsets! I had executed some eight or so paintings already when I hit upon the idea of painting the hotel in an Art Deco style, the time that it was built. My ‘graphical style’ of illustrating seemed to lend itself to the subject! I am thrilled at the thought of my up and coming exhibition in The Midland Hotel. All the work displayed will be paintings of the building, at various times of day and different seasons of the year."


'Sam back in Space'

Our beloved mascot and 'astro-dog' in chief Sam is returning to the skies this Autumn to help Morecambe Bay Community Primary School with another science project, this time as a passenger aboard an 8 metre tall rocket.

In partnership with University of Chester and Starchaser Industries Ltd the mid-September launch will be a great way to boost interest in STEM plus this time, ensuring Sam returns safely from his journey!

'Vintage by the Sea'

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 celebration of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment returns to the seaside on 2nd and 3rd of September 2017. English Lakes

Vintage By The Sea returned to Morecambe for the fourth season to celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment with a special focus on the British seaside - a free, family friendly festival that saw over 40,000 visitors attend in 2015.

The fantastic setting of Morecambe’s seafront provides the backdrop that transforms into a multi-venue playground where, visitors can learn the dances’, take in specially curated live performances, listen to exclusive DJ sets, enjoy evocative fashion, brilliantly conceived food and cocktails, ogle over beautiful vintage vehicles or take advantage of the decade specific hair and beauty makeovers and all the wonderful vintage shopping that will be on offer. Vintage Festival

The Award Winning Vintage by the Sea Festival returns to Morecambe on 2nd and 3rd September to celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment. Experience live music, classic cars, street theatre, workshops, marketplace & crafts, heritage buses, vintage fairground and pop-up dance. The beautiful art deco Midland Hotel plays host to a Gatsby-inspired Torch Club Ball and elegantly authentic Afternoon Teas – call 01524 428370 to find out more. The Official Vintage Party - 45 Live with Templebys and Boca 45 will offer rockin’ funk, soul, hip hop, boogaloo, latin, breaks and beats in the Little Big Top just behind the hotel – make sure you buy your tickets in advance!

The Marketplace, curated by Dotty’s Vintage, returns to The Platform with the best authentic traders, hand-picked by our team. Expect to see the finest selection of mid-century modern homewares, records, music memorabilia and up-cycled ephemera.

Entertainment group Spiltmilk will visit Morecambe’s care homes before and during the weekend, delivering workshops and creating performances along with the residents – so look out for their innovative recreations of Morecambe’s glorious heydays.

And our festival audience can get involved too – dress in your best 20th century finery to enter the hotly contested ‘Best in Show’, judged during the weekend! Thousands of people are expected to visit Morecambe over the weekend so check out our Top Travel Tips to plan your trip and enjoy a relaxing journey into times gone by. It’ll be a fantastic feast of fun, food, style and music so bookmark the website and join us on Facebook to find out more! Visit Lancashire

Deco Publique has co-curated and produced the award-winning Vintage Festival by Hemingway Design's 'Vintage by the Sea' in Morecambe since 2014, helping it become an established name on the UK's cultural events calendar. The festival perfectly showcases Deco Publique's ethos, bringing a high quality programme of participatory performance, art, food, music and markets to Morecambe in a way that intimately integrates with its community and place.

Every September the beautiful seafront provides a stunning backdrop for an exceptional lineup of classic cars, cocktails, vintage and design marketplaces, DJ sets, Best in Show fashion parades, art workshops, street food and walkabout performance. The programme develops every year, with highlights including a Battle-of-Britain Memorial Flypast, a 15 venue art trail, and - a true favourite - The Vintage Pooch Parade!

Delivered in partnership with Lancaster City Council the event has grown from 6,000 to 40,000 visitors in three years, thirty-four percent of whom travel from outside the region. It is thought to bring more than a million pounds to the region. Deco Publique

'Catch the Wind Festival'

Catch The Wind Kite Festival 2017
Saturday 24 June and Sunday 25 June 2017 12noon-5pm
Taking place on Morecambe Prom and in front of the Platform

More Music’s annual kite festival Catch the Wind returns. Join us and enjoy beautiful and impressive kites of all shapes and sizes flown by professional kite flyers – or bring your kite and fly it on the beach. There will live music, arts and crafts, street entertainment, stalls and many fun activities to enjoy too.

Vintage Bus Running Day and Vintage Vehicle Exhibition

The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust will hold its 7th 'Vintage Bus Running Day' and display in Morecambe on Sunday, May 28th 2017. A free bus service of vintage vehicles will operate from Carnforth railway station to Heysham Village via the promenade in Morecambe.


Modernism at the Seaside

24th August 2016 - Heritage Calling

The 1930s saw a great diversity of architectural styles: from Neo-Georgian for town halls and mock Tudor for suburban semis, to ‘anything goes’ for the latest cinemas. But the seaside was the setting for some of Britain’s first and finest ventures into Modernism, a new movement that espoused the benefits of sunshine, simplicity and space.

Here are 6 of the finest examples of Modernism at the English seaside: 

1. The Midland hotel, Morecambe


Hotel. 1932-3 by Oliver Hill. Concrete and rendered brickwork, painted white. Curved plan, with convex side facing west towards the sea. 3 storeys. Windows are steel-framed casements with rendered surrounds. Above each storey are projecting horizontal bands. The entrance front has a rounded left-hand (south) corner, and a convex central staircase projection rising above roof level. This projection has a tall window of steel casements above the doorway, divided into 3 by mullions, both of which are capped by sea horses, painted red, which were carved by Eric Gill. Projecting at the right is a single-storey cafe of circular plan, now known as the Ravilious Restaurant. The west side has a single-storey projecting sun lounge, which is an addition, its windows replaced in PVC-coated steel. Between the solid centre and ends of the facade the 1st and 2nd floors have their walls recessed to form balconies. Interior: above the cantilevered circular open-well staircase is a ceiling panel carved in low relief by Eric Gill and painted by Denis Tegetmeier. They were also responsible for the pictorial map of north-west England in what was originally the children's room at the south end of the building. Also in this room is Eric Gill's Portland stone panel, originally in the lounge, carved in low relief with a representation of Odysseus and Nausicaa. It was moved to its present position when internal walls were demolished during the 1970s. The cafe walls were originally painted with frescoes by Eric Ravilious, representing morning and evening in an idyllic seascape setting. These deteriorated rapidly because the plaster and paint used were incompatible and were obliterated within 2 years of completion, but were repainted in the late 1980s using photographic evidence. (Stansfield Colin: Beside the Seaside: 1986-).

Listing NGR: SD4281564380

2. Frinton on Sea
3. The De La Warr Pavilion
4. Embassy Court
5. Saltdean Lido
6. Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The Midland Summary

Local landmarks:

The Midland Hotel by Barry Guise via the BBC

When Morecambe's Midland Hotel opened in 1933 it was billed as a masterpiece of modernism. However, with the demise of the traditional seaside holiday in favour of cheap package holidays abroad, the acclaimed Art Deco hotel suffered from neglect and was even threatened with demolition.

The hotel is back to its former glory, though, thanks to a multi-million pound revamp and is open for bookings again. Barry Guise - co-author of The Midland Hotel: Morecambe's 'White Hope' - profiles the rise, fall and resurrection of Morecambe's most famous landmark...

Seven and a half years after it closed its doors to the public, the Midland Hotel in Morecambe is once again open for business.  On Sunday 1st June, the gleaming white building on the seafront welcomed its first guests following an £11 million refurbishment by award-winning property developers Urban Splash.  Hundreds of curious people queued in the drizzly rain to get a look inside and see the results of this large investment. Architecturally, the Midland Hotel is the most important building in Morecambe and one of the most significant Art Deco buildings in the country.  When it opened in July 1933 it received widespread critical acclaim, and its radical design was considered a masterpiece of modernism.  According to Country Life magazine, the Midland was “in the opinion of many, the most beautiful contemporary building in the country”, its graceful lines seen as the epitome of Thirties elegance.

The origins of the hotel date back to the Depression when many people were no longer able to afford foreign holidays.  This brought a new wave of custom to the English seaside, one with more sophisticated demands.  However, facilities in England compared poorly with those on the Continent and there was an urgent need for investment in resort infrastructure and the upgrading of accommodation for visitors.  In Morecambe the local corporation was already carrying out major promenade improvements when, in 1932, the LMS Railway Company decided to replace its existing Victorian hotel with “a building of international quality in the modern style.”   The LMS saw Morecambe as an opportunity to make a new departure from traditional hotel design and selected Oliver Hill as architect - a man who "had international experience in regard to modern hotel building practice and construction". Hill realised that the project would give him a chance to put into practice his vision of unity in architecture and decoration, and he accepted the LMS offer stating “you have here a unique opportunity of building the first really modern hotel in the country”.   His design was for a three-storey, curved structure which followed the line of the new municipal promenade with its convex side towards the sea allowing good views from every room.  The concave side faced the railway station and was divided by a tower containing the hotel entrance and spiral staircase.  At the south end was a rounded bastion while the north end was finished off by a circular café.

The building was constructed around steel frames with concrete slab floors and brick walls resting on shallow foundations which spread the load across the sandy surface of the site.  The walls were faced with white rendering composed of cement and carborundum, electrically polished to produce a surface resembling marble.  This was relieved by the architraves of the principal windows which were treated with a mixture of carborundum and crushed blue glass.  The soffits of the projecting ledges and the undersides of the balconies were glazed in blue-green. 

Glistening in the sunshine the completed hotel prompted Lord Clonmore to write in the Architectural Review that the Midland was “in complete harmony with its natural surroundings…it rises from the sea like a great white ship, gracefully curved.” What made the Midland Hotel different from other hotels was Hill’s holistic approach to the project.  He believed that the exterior design should be intimately linked to the interior décor and to this end he took control of the hotel’s colour scheme, decoration, furnishings and works of art. These he saw as a counterpoint to the austerity of modern architecture, providing points of visual interest.  He commissioned the renowned sculptor and engraver Eric Gill to make two seahorses for the outside of the building and to carve a large stone relief for the entrance lounge.  The latter is entitled ‘Odysseus being welcomed from the sea by Nausicaa’ and is cut in Perrycot Portland Stone.  Gill also designed a circular ceiling panel over the spiral staircase showing the sea god Triton which was then painted by his son-in-law Denis Tegetmeier.  The two were also responsible for a pictorial map of North-West England.

The rotunda café at the north end of the hotel was decorated by another well-known artist of the time, Eric Ravilious.  As the café was originally intended for the use of casual visitors to the beach its walls were painted with seaside themes.  Unfortunately, insufficient preparatory work was done and the mural began to peel off within a couple of years.  (It was reconstructed for an episode of the TV detective series ‘Poirot’ in 1989.)  The furnishings of the hotel received equal care and attention, most notable being the exquisite hand-knotted rugs for the entrance lounge made by the famous textile designer Marion Dorn.  Nearly five metres in diameter they featured a directional pattern of waves – an allusion to the Midland’s seaside location.  Dorn was also responsible for the design of the mosaic seahorse in the middle of the lounge floor. Immediately after its opening in July 1933 the Midland became the place to stay and quickly attracted the wealthy middle classes from across the north of England and even further afield.  Its success was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War and the hotel was requisitioned by the government and converted into a RAF hospital.  In 1946 it was returned to the Railway Company.  However, following nationalisation the new British Railways Board decided to sell the hotel and in 1952 it was bought by Lewis Hodgson of Bolton Abbey.  Although initially successful, the Midland gradually began to lose both its appeal and its wealthy clientele, and in 1960 it was sold to Scottish and Newcastle Breweries.

In the 1970s the Midland became a listed building (Grade2*) and again changed hands. The new owners, Hutchinson Leisure, were granted permission for a glass sun-lounge running the length of the seaward side of the hotel and this was completed in 1979.  But trade did not improve as envisaged and when Anne Greenham took over the hotel in 1989 the Midland had become very run down.  There was some attempt at Thirties-style restoration but financial difficulties led to the hotel being sold to Les Whittingham.  During his ownership relations with the local council became strained and litigation was frequently threatened, particularly over the removal of the Eric Gill relief to London for an exhibition.  The Midland went downmarket and acquired a cheap and tawdry appearance, its walls often adorned by garish advertisements.  Little was done to stem the deterioration of the building and on Les Whittingham’s death in 1998 the Midland was in a sorry state.  Shabby in appearance, its rotting window frames, leaking roofs and peeling paintwork were proof that the years of neglect had taken their toll.

In 2001 the Midland was bought by a company called Kalber Leisure with the aim of transforming the now almost derelict building into a 1930s themed 5* luxury hotel.  However, due to financial problems this grandiose scheme never came to fruition and a year later the Midland was back on the market.  To prevent vandalism the Council boarded up all the doors and windows.  A blight on the promenade, the building was threatened with demolition – a move strongly opposed by the Friends of the Midland, a group set up by concerned locals to save the hotel.

Salvation came at the eleventh hour when, in early 2003, it was announced that the Midland had been purchased by Urban Splash, an award-winning property regeneration company based in Manchester.  It took some time to confirm financial backing and access the necessary grants and work did not commence on site until June 2005.  The restoration, originally scheduled for 22 months, turned out to be more difficult than envisaged and it was eventually to be three years before the project was completed. 

The refurbished hotel now has 44 rooms, including six luxury suites which have been added on the roof.  The bedrooms are ultra-modern with a variety of layouts and colour schemes and all the latest facilities.  Modifications to the ground floor have created larger spaces suitable for wedding receptions and conferences, while the old sun-lounge has been replaced by a more substantial structure – a pleasant spot to enjoy afternoon tea or watch the sun set over Morecambe Bay.  Importantly, all the original artworks have been painstakingly restored to their former glory and are, once again, the jewels in the crown of the hotel.  After all its trials and tribulations the Midland Hotel can now look forward to a bright future – a 1930s icon fit for the 21st century.

Already the Midland is acting as a catalyst in the regeneration of Morecambe which, like most seaside resorts in Britain, has experience a steady decline as tourists have opted for the sunnier climes of the Mediterranean and further afield.  There is fresh optimism in the town and several new businesses have already opened.  The proposed development of the promenade area adjacent to the Midland (also by Urban Splash) has reached the planning stage and should eventually result in a mix of shops, accommodation and leisure facilities.  Almost opposite the Midland, the Winter Gardens is embarking on its own restoration project which should see it emerge in about three years as a multi-purpose arts venue.  All this is crucial as the success of the Midland, while probably guaranteed for the first two years or so, will eventually depend on the way in which Morecambe can reinvent itself as a resort able to cater for a different type of holidaymaker with different requirements.

Making News!

From the Lancashire Telegraph

Sam shot up to space at a rate of six metres per second after jetting-off from The Midland Hotel, Morecambe, reaching an altitude of more than 25 kilometres above the earth.

Ben Berry, from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, 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."

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."

From the Clitheroe Advertiser

‘Sightings’ of missing Morecambe space dog

Sightings of Morecambe’s missing astro-dog are coming in thick and fast after a campaign to find him went viral.

Cuddly toy Sam the Dog is an international sensation since he was ‘lost in space’ after being launched into orbit for a school science project.

The intrepid pooch was detached from a helium balloon 25km above the earth and has been missing since blast-off from the Midland Hotel roof on Tuesday.

Since then, the hashtag #FindSam has been shared all over Twitter, a Facebook page has been set up hoping to locate the furry traveller, and YouTube videos of Sam’s mission have been watched more than 200,000 times.

Morecambe Bay Primary school pupils who launched Sam appeared on BBC Breakfast News and visited the CBBC studios, and Sam’s story was covered by the New York Daily News, CBS, NBC, CNN and ABC in America, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Taiwan TV news as well as the BBC, Sky and national newspapers including the Independent and the Guardian in the UK.

Schoolchildren have also been out combing the area looking for Sam and made their own ‘Missing’ posters to put up all over town.

The latest sighting on Monday was in the Asda car park in Golborne near Wigan.

Siobhan Collingwood, head teacher of Morecambe Bay Primary, tweeted: “Somebody said they saw him on the car park Asda Golborne and thought he had fallen out of the car next to them, so put him on their roof!”

Another stranger sighting came from ‘Lur of the Planet Omicron’ who claimed to be holding Sam hostage and would release him in exchange for ice cream!

There was also a false alarm at Thorpe Park theme park in Surrey.

Equipment attached to Sam the Dog was recovered in a field near Burnley last week but there was no sign of the furry doggie astronaut - the mascot of the Midland hotel.

Film footage shows that Sam became detached prior to re-entry.

“We’ve been looking at the flight data closely over the past few days and when the helium balloon popped Sam was at 25.3 kilometres in altitude over the Waddington area of North East Lancashire,” explains Ben Berry from English Lakes Hotels, the managers of the Midland.

“This is about 23 miles from the launch site but the equipment travelled about 48 miles during the entire journey so an exact fix is difficult to pinpoint.

“It was a pretty blustery day too with the prevailing winds still suggesting that Sam came to land within a 50 mile radius of where he was last seen. Our instincts are that he may have come to land somewhere between Waddington and Burnley.”

Sam, who was named after an Old English Sheepdog belonging to Mr Berry, was filmed by specially attached GoPro action cameras and tracked by GPS equipment as he rose at a rate of six metres per second.

The mascot was launched by a team of pupils who joined forces with Midland Hotel managers English Lakes Hotels and

“Sam’s flight went beautifully, taking him to the edge of space and well past the Armstrong limit of 19 kilometres above the earth,” said Mr Berry.

“Space travel is a risky business and Sam’s freefall didn’t quite go as planned.

“We are offering a reward for his safe return. The person who finds Sam will be treated to a complimentary stay at the Midland Hotel.”

Chris Rose from Sheffield-based adds: “Our GPS tracking equipment and live telemetry systems quickly enabled us to find the payload when it returned to earth near Burnley, but when we got there Sam was nowhere to be seen.

“Our footage indicates that one of the helium balloon tethers got tangled with the mascot when it burst at peak altitude and the freefall part of the flight commenced.

“We do not have any data on the aerodynamics of a toy dog or its terminal velocity, but we’re pretty sure Sam landed within a 40-50 mile radius of Burnley.”

Siobhan Collingwood from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School added: “The children created history with the space launch and would love to see Sam the Dog safely returned with tales to tell of his adventures.”

Anyone who finds Sam should contact English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues on 01539 433 773.



Cauldon pottery


Lot 362 Memorabilia

These items were the first I saw on the internet and how I came into contact with Talisman Auctions for the first time.

Unfortunately these were nothing more than thumbnail pictures available and difficult to see - but the link took me to an auction list. To my surprise I discovered that the auctions were local so I didn't hesitate for a moment before ringing up. There's a certain comfort in dealing a local merchant! Happily I spoke to Sandra on the line and started to explain my hope to one day own a little bit of authentic Midland Hotel memorabilia. I mentioned the tea-pot and she told me that it was her own as she collected teapots. I asked if she would consider selling but she was kind but adamant that this was an important part of her collection. This conversation must have taken place a good decade ago (from 2015) and as the Sandra, who is the co-owner of the auctions, was very knowledgeable about the items that came up and told me that anything from the Midland / Kyle Lochalsh items was very few and far between. (The Midland stock of Seahorse china was moved to the Kyle Lochalsh Hotel once sold). It is thanks to the removal of the china that much of it has survived - recently a beautiful jug was dug up, but finds like that are more even rarer than turning up at auction. The advice I was offered was to sign up for their Newsletter catalogue and hope for the best. It wasn't until 2014 that I found the first item ever from the Royal Cauldon collection. I was so used to searching for the Seahorse that it leapt out at me as soon as I turned the page. I put a telephone bid into it at once and Sandra was kind enough to say that she thought of me as soon as she saw the item come in! Such was the excitement that even though I had placed a telephone bid we decided to go and see for ourselves and to be there in case my bid was beaten! My original bid held but we got an idea of how everything worked. It was nice to see Sandra again (I had bought a telephone sign from her on a previous occasion so we had met even though I had not yet found that first, most precious, piece. As things happen, shortly afterwards a second auction had another piece and this time we went over (with a telephone bid in for safety) with the view of bidding live if necessary. As it happens, we also bought a really nice sign for the telephone kiosk. I expect it's a case of watch this space to see if anything else turns up!

80th Birthday Celebrations


The Midland presents the Torch Club
Saturday, 4th September 7.30pm

An unforgettable. unique and glamorous evening of 1930s and 40s entertainment with a drinks reception and an extravagant 5-course themed 1930s menu. Hosted by Cheeky Chappie 'Viv the
Spiv' you will be dancing to the legendary Palm Court Dance Orchestra and DJ Okay For Sound with expert dance tuition by Anthony Padgett. The Midland will come alive as we re-create those packed dance floors
of the 1930s.


Apart from the Rotunda Bar which has had a modern re-make of the original murals, the hotel is slowly returning to its original splendour whether by modern, replicated or re-imagined means.

The lobby floor which comes in for a lot of traffic has finally found its niche, but not before some stop-starts.

Pre-restoration the original mosaic lines were a bright blue to make them prominent. I suspect this particular renovation will have happened post war.

Furniture and mosic

Old new restoration

Man at work on mosaics

Mosaic tile renovation

Mosaic tile renovation

Mosaic tile renovation

Mosaic tile renovation

I have tried to show the progression of the work and one of the artisans at work. It is a shame that these mosaics did not stand the test of wear and tear and were replaced within about 18 months.

The Welcome Mat for the 21st century is a stylish emblem based on the original Marion Dorn design - a big change from the one which greeted guests at the latter end of the 20th century.

Lobby view

The mat as placed by the front door in the late 1990s

Midland Rug

Close up of the original mat which echoes the Marion Dorn design seen below.

Seahorse Handrail

Marion Dorn Mosaic

The original Marion Dorn design for the lobby entrance echoes on the bannisters - which had an adventure of their own!

Shower plug

Paying exceptional attention to detail, the shower drain fitted by Urban Splash echoes the original Marion Dorn design.

English Lakes have now commissioned their own variation examples of which can be seen below:

Champagne Flute

Beautiful Champagne Flute

Menu Cover

Menu Cover

What the Midland says on its Menu card :

"The Midland was originally opened in July 1933 and played host to many famous people of the day including Coco Chanel, Laurence Olivier and Wallace Simpson.
In September 1939 the hotel was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and then used as a military hospital throughout the war before being handed back in 1947, when it enjoyed a colourful history, including the attempted theft of the famous Eric Gill 'Odysseus' artwork (currently situated behind the Reception Desk), and the filming of a Poirot episode ('Double Sin') in 1989.
After years of deterioration, the hotel eventually closed in 1998 and was left as an empty shell sadly decaying on the Promenade. Due to its grade II* listed status it could not be knocked down, and despite investors coming and going (many not fully realising the massive investment needed to restore the hotel to its former glory), the future looked bleak.
Award winning property developers Urban Splash eventually took ownership of the hotel in 2003, and set about a complete regeneration of the hotel, reopening its doors on 1st June 2008 to over 5,000 people (on the first day!) desperate to see Morecambe's 'White Hope' back open for business. The Hotel now boasts 44 boutique style rooms, including 6 rooftop suites. It also has a beauty salon, conservatory restaurant, modern Rotunda bar, sun terrace and several state of the art function rooms, all of which enjoy outstanding sea views."

Hand Towel

Hand Towel

Lounge Menu Card

Lounge Menu

Creative Tourist image

What the Creative Tourist says :

From halcyon days to dilapidation and back again, Morecambe’s Midland Hotel hasn’t always enjoyed its place in the sun.

In the early 1930s, Morecambe underwent a renaissance. Gone was the former, waterfront ship-breakers yard and, in its place, public gardens and a luxury, open-air swimming complex sprang up. It wasn’t long before Morecambe had made a name for itself as Britain’s most modern and progressive resort, and it soon became the holiday destination of choice for successful businesspeople from across the north.

Entrusted in delivering the kind of modern architecture that would match the resort’s reputation was architect Oliver Hill. Familiar with the type of clientele that the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company wanted to attract to their new hotel, and self-proclaimed as being up to date with continental Europe’s latest architectural developments, Hill was an intelligent choice. In a letter, Hill suggested that the collaboration would be capable of producing “the first really modern hotel” in the country.

The art deco Midland Hotel, which first opened its doors on 12 July 1933, was built in the shape of a gleaming white, gently sweeping curve. The structure highlights its lineage from the modernist buildings on the continent, with the balance of clean lines and graceful curves reminiscent of the work of Finnish architect and designer, Alvar Aalto. In the centre of its near-symmetrical front façade is a drum-shaped entrance, which also contains the main staircase, crowned by two pot-bellied sea horses. Inside, the stairs wind their way up towards the bedrooms on the upper floors, with Eric Gill’s circular engraving, decorated with Neptune and Triton, mounted on the ceiling above.

The convex side of the hotel’s curve follows that of the promenade, and the bedrooms on this side enjoy panoramic views of Morecambe Bay and the hills of Cumbria. The windows on the other, concave side once looked over the now demolished Morecambe Promenade railway station, honouring the institution that funded the hotel.

Unfortunately, Morecambe’s decade in the sun came to an end during the Second World War, when the Midland became a makeshift hospital for the Royal Air Force. This was the beginning of the hotel’s fall into disrepair. After the war, it returned to its former use, yet over the years – despite a number of new owners, each with plans to restore it to its former glory – the hotel never achieved the same successes that it experienced in those early years. Finally, however, its luck changed when property developers Urban Splash became the new owners and undertook comprehensive restoration – of not only the hotel itself, but also the surrounding area. In 2008, after half a decade of work behind closed doors, the Midland reopened with all of the vigour of the 1930s, beginning what will, hopefully, become a new heyday.

Modernist Image

What Modernist Britain says :

Standing on Marine Road West in Morecambe the Midland Hotel is one of Britain's finest twentieth century Modernist buildings. The hotel was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company, one of many hotels built by the company at station termini across the country. The hotel's position on the sea-front, opposite the railway station, was an advantage to the railway company's passengers at at time when car ownership was still an expensive luxury hobby.

The hotel was designed by English architect Oliver Hill (1887-1968) in the Streamlined Moderne style. Hill's earlier works were in the Arts and Crafts style but his later work in the Modernist style is arguably his finest output. The hotel features sculptures by the famous British designer and sculptor Eric Gill (1882-1940), who was also responsible for sculptures for the BBC's Broadcasting House in central London and 55 Broadway, the headquarters of London Underground.

Hill's design uses a curved form, following the alignment of the sea-front. The concave side of the hotel forms its main elevation, with the convex side facing out to sea. The eastern range of the hotel comprises a single storey structure with a rotunda facing seawards. Built over a reinforced concrete frame with brick walls, the hotel is rendered in 'Snowcrete', a type of Portland-limestone cement with a brilliant white pigment that has good durability against weathering, giving the hotel a brilliant white appearance.

The hotel is built across three storeys, with two wings either side of a central core, housing a magnificent spiral staircase. Within the wings at ground floor level of the hotel are the main public rooms of the hotel, originally a central entrance hall with dining room and cafe to the east and lounge and writing room to the west. The second and third storeys were given over to hotel accommodation.

The landward elevation of the hotel features a central convex core with the entrance at ground floor level and three slender windows extending through the second and third storeys. Above is a parapet with two ornamental carved sea horses by Eric Gill. The wings have square windows with a projecting architrave. The seaward elevation features large, square windows to the ground floor and recessed balconies to the second and third storeys at the centre of each wing.

The interior of the hotel has a stunning spiral staircase at the centre of the hotel with landings extending to each wing. The ceiling of the central core has a circular mural by Eric Gill. An additional bas-relief carved out of Portland Stone, also by Eric Gill, is found in the hotel entrance foyer.

After the end of the Second World War the hotel suffered a slow decline in its fortunes. In part this way due to the changing fashions in tourism, with increasing numbers of people spending their holiday time aboard rather than at British seaside resorts. Additionally the hotel passed through multiple owners and the structure of the hotel was not maintained.

An ambitious multi-million pound refurbishment programme undertaken by the developers Urban Splash began in 2006 and was completed in 2008. The refurbishment saw the restoration of her stunning exterior and the hotel's surviving Eric Gill artwork and sculptures, including the hotel's iconic sea horses. New features are a 'mansard' roof extension providing additional rooms and a glass extension to the ground floor which serves as the hotel's restaurant.

The hotel provides 4-star accommodation. The building was awarded Grade-II* listed status on 8 October 1976.

Posted by Richard Coltman on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Morecambe's revival hopes led by art deco Midland Hotel

1930s hotel reopened in 2008 after extensive restoration and is said to be making healthy profit, with 80% average occupancy.

Sitting shivering on the seawall waiting for the bus, I would often look across the prom at the crumbling exterior of the Broadway hotel, its noisy extractor fan billowing out cabbagey smells, and wonder who in their right mind would want to come to Morecambe on holiday. It was the 1990s, the nadir in the history of my home town. It was a decade marred by a toxic deal to turn Happy Mount Park into Crinkley Bottom, an overpriced adventureland based around Mr Blobby, a pink and yellow bogeyman dreamt up by Noel Edmonds. The park shut within 13 weeks and the fallout ended up costing the local council £2m and what was left of the town's dignity. In 1990 visitor numbers had plummeted to an all-time low of 1.3 million. By the time I was at university at the dawn of the new millennium most of the attractions I'd spent my pocket money visiting were gone or on their way out: Bubbles, the indoor and outdoor swimming pool complex with its "white knuckle" slide; Marineland, with its sad dolphin; Frontierland, the wild west inspired amusement park where I held hands on the slippery-slip on my first date; the Superdome, where someone stood on my head during a Blur concert.

Then, in the winter of 2004, 21 Chinese immigrant workers got stuck in the quick sand. After that, when I told strangers where I'd grown up they wouldn't talk nostalgically of sticks of rock or potted shrimps but say: oh, where the cocklepickers died? So I was among the many sceptics when hip architectural renovators Urban Splash came along in 2003 and announced they were going to bring the Midland hotel back to its 1930s glory. When the art deco hotel reopened in 2008, my cynicism was unwavering, despite one of my best friends having her beautiful wedding there and my dad and his twin sister celebrating their 60th in one of the airy function rooms. However many rave write-ups the hotel got, I didn't think there were enough visitors willing to pay £94 and up for a room which, if you didn't pay a hefty supplement, gave you a view not across the bay to the Lake District hills, but of Johnny's Fun Factory, a tower painted like a packet of Polos housing a mobile phone mast (a curious relic from the Frontierland days) and a cluster of pound shops.

Returning to the hotel this week, it seems my scepticism was misplaced. The terrace was full of day-trippers and well-heeled locals happy to pay £3.20 for a pot of loose-leaf tea when you can still get one for 50p further down the prom. A jazz saxophonist tooted away in the foyer as a model wearing a vintage lace dress scuttled through for a photo shoot. The barman pulled cold pints of Peroni – a sight you wouldn't see in other seaside towns like Skegness, which the Italian lager brand has deemed too downmarket to sell their wares. Just around the corner, children frolicked on the imported sand beach, an impossibility in my youth, when the beach was a mix of pebbles and mud. Matt Stanaway, the Midland's manager, insisted the hotel turns a healthy profit, with an average occupancy of 80%. According to Lancaster city council, 3.6m visitors came to the seaside town in 2012, contributing £175m to the local economy. "The Midland is definitely worth going to Morecambe for," said designer Wayne Hemingway, a local lad who went on to found Red or Dead and is now at the forefront of regenerating Margate. "But the problem is that at the moment, the Midland is the only thing that's really brilliant in Morecambe. Sure, the Eric Morecambe statue on the prom is good, and people like to visit him, but that's the past, not the future. Most young people haven't heard of him "Morecambe needs to develop more truly brilliant things in order to encourage new people to visit. Average things won't do. The council needs to be encouraging entrepreneurs to open not just an average boutique b&b but the best boutique b&b in Lancashire; same with cafes and galleries." Though a new road will in future link the town with the M6, and nearby Lancaster is on the West Coast Mainline, Morecambe is currently not very easy to visit, said Hemingway, who in September is bringing his vintage festival to the Midland. "Margate has the javelin train coming straight in from London. Young people see that it takes four hours to get from London to Morecambe, which it doesn't, of course – they just have to wait for ages on a platform in Lancaster for the connection."

Peter Hampson of British Destinations, a trade association for major UK resorts, agreed: "Morecambe has lost its way," he said. "The issue for a lot of these places is not what they do but how far they are from a realistic market. Morecambe is that little bit too far away." There is also no escaping Morecambe's deprivation – the proportion of empty shops in the town rose 7.7% between 2009 and last year to 21.4%, about a third more than the national average, according to the Local Data Company. As I sat drinking rose outside the Palatine on Thursday, a newish, smart pub on the seafront recommended to me by the Midland's concierge, I watched two separate arrests in the space of half an hour. But the town is starting to feel much classier, with a few nicer cafes and independent shops and galleries opening their doors. Julie Chapman is typical of the new breed of Morecambe entrepreneur, a smart and enthusiastic woman who has lived in London and Manchester but chose to set up her business by the sea. In April she took over the Pottery Basement, selling mugs and teapots to visitors and supplying the resort's hotels. "I'm a socialist," she says proudly. "I could have set up a pottery business somewhere cute and obvious like St Ives, but I wanted to do it here and put my money where my mouth is." Stella Whelan runs Northern Relics, a seafront antiques emporium with a twist: it has a licensed bar, so you can sip a gin and tonic as you sift through the costume jewellery. A self-declared "sand grown'un" born and bred in Morecambe, she is downbeat. "We still don't get nearly enough visitors with money to spend," she says. "Everything is so cheap. We don't even have an M&S. Yes, the Midland has bought in people from all over the world, but they don't spend their money outside the hotel. They drive up to Windermere and spend it in the Lakes instead." Most of Morecambe's overnight visitors stay not in the Midland but in one of the guest houses lining the promenade. Sitting outside the two-star Auckland on Thursday night, four friends from a Worcestershire retirement village were enjoying a stunning sunset. They had paid £320 for a week half-board, including trips out and coach transport. "We could have gone to Spain for the price," said Irene Lockie, 81, "but they wouldn't speak English. We've had a lovely week here."

Helen Pidd, Northern Editor, The Guardian dated 7th June 2013

The Midland Hotel

Midland Logo

The Architecture the Railways Built - 16th March 2021

The Architecture the Railways Built

The Bay (ITV) - 20th January 2021

The Bay on ITV featuring the Midland Hotel

Covid Christmas - 2020

2020 Christmas Decorations at the Midland

A beautiful tree adorning the entrance to the Midland awaiting it's adoring public once restrictions are lifted - image sourced from The Midland Fb page with thanks

Pink Sunset - 7th December 2020

Pink Sunset at the Midland Hotel

Stunning pink backdrop for the Midland Hotel in early December 2020 - image sourced from The Midland Fb page with thanks

Another 'Comeback' for the Midland - 4th July 2020

A selection of drinks awaiting those happy people in the Rotunda Bar at the Midland when it re-opens

A selection of drinks awaiting those happy people in the Rotunda Bar at the Midland when it re-opens (following on from the Covid-19 'lockdown') on 4th July 2020

New Tableware for Christmas 2019

Detail of the new Midland Hotel tableware

Full Christmas Dinner place setting

A full Christmas place setting - note how the new design echoes the modern twist that has been given to the Midland, the stylised but still recognisable seahorse and the zig-zag effect prominent in the public and open spaces in the hotel.

Auction - 23rd November 2019

Saucer and Spoon LMS for Midland Hotel

Provenance for auction articles spoon and saucer

Catalogue Cover Midland spoon and saucer

Catalogue pages showing Midland Hotel items

Once again the Talisman Auction House came up with another Midland Hotel related find - I'd never previously seen any dedicated silverware so this was another exciting find for me (and expensive of course)!

To die for Pink Gin - 21st June 2019

Pink Gin launched 2019

The Midland says "Start your weekend with our BRAND NEW Seahorse No.10 Pink! Our own classic gin with added sour cherries to add a pink touch."

Hucknall Dispatch - 22nd March 2019

Article on the Midland

The Bay (ITV) - 20th March 2019

The Bay 2019

Announcing a new TV Drama coming to our screens in March 2019

The Bay ITV 2019

The Bay Business Awards - 15th November 2018

'Best Leisure Venue/Visitor Attraction of the year'

The Bay Business Award Logo

The Bay Business Awards Midland Hotel Staff

World Gin Day - 9th June 2018

Array of Gin Bottles

Isn't this fabulous? An array of the Midland Hotel's special blend and seahorse motif bottles!

Gin Festival 2018

And taking centre stage at the 2-day Festival - all Seahorse No. 10 Gin images sourced and © of The Midland

Happy 10th Birthday - 1st June 2018

Happy 10th Birthday

Christmas 2017

Christmas Tree and Staff 2017

The soul of the hotel must soar when treated with such dignity after the derelict years! What a fabulous Tree - with grateful thanks for the image courtesy & © of The Midland via Fb

December 2017 - Lighting the way for Santa

Lighting the way for Santa at the Midland Hotel

Image courtesy & © The Midland with many thanks

November 2017 - Manchester Evening Post

Midland Hotel 2017

Read the latest review on-line and on the dedicated page

June 2017 - The Return of the Manager!

Midland Manager Returns

Read the interview on the news or the on-line blog or and on the dedicated page

Sam to venture into the skies announcement!

Sam the Space Dog

Sam in the rocket nozzle

September 2nd & 3rd 2017 - Vintage by the Sea

Vontage by the Sea Midland Hotel promo

July 2017 - Coastal Road Trip

Lancashire CC 'Visiting Lancashire' promoting the coastline and featuring the Midland hotel - more images here

June 2017 - The Annual 'Catch the Wind Kite Festival'

Kites on the beach behind the Midland Hotel in Morecambe

Colourful Kites on the beach by the Midland Hotel in Morecambe in June 2017

May 2017 - The Midland becomes a Bus-Stop

Vintage Bus Running Day and Vintage Vehicle Exhibition

Vintage Double Decker Bus outside the Midland

The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust will be operating its popular ‘Vintage Bus Running Day’ in Morecambe Sunday, May 28th, 2017.  With a selection of vintage buses running from Carnforth railway station to Heysham Village. Also see a displays of vintage buses and coaches on the promenade near the Midland Hotel.

December 2016 - Christmas at the Midland

October 2016 - Atmospheric Midland

October 2016 MH atmospheric

Beautifully atmospheric view of the Midland Hotel by Dominic Cumming

2016 - Annual Vintage by the Sea

Midland and Ice Cream Van

Fabulous picture by and © of Johnny Bean invoking all the fun of the seaside - wish I were there!

2016 - Dog Launched into Space

Sam above the hemisphere after his launch

Sam was launched from the Midland Hotel roof

2015 - Union Station or the Rotunda?

Getty image of Union Station

This Getty image gives us a slightly grander view of Cocktail Bar at Union Station

Union Station

I saw this picture today - it is the Union Station Los Angeles streamline modern cocktail lounge - image courtesy of Charles Phoenix and was immediately reminded of the Rotunda Bar

Rotunda Bar

Image courtesy of English Lakes who own the Midland Hotel Catering franchise

2015 - Treasure Trove

Jug Treasure find

From this to .....

'''' this - a perfectly preserved jug with provenance

2015 - What's New?

Following our recent visit to the Midland - we found the completed work in the Rotunda, a swanky new entrance mat and updated mosaic floor work.

Rotunda Main Wall

Rotunda Corridor Wall

Rotunda General View

Three views of the completed renovation - the historical story can be found here

Midland Welcome Mat

The new welcome mat which greets visitors at the entrance of the hotel

Mosiac Floor improvement

Close up of floor repairs

An improved 21st century take on the original floor mosaic which blends in but does not lose the concept of the original design which has long been lost through renovations.

2015 - Auction!

Once again I was fortunate to notice that there was Midland Hotel plate available in March 2015's Talisman Auction.

The Auction Catalogue Cover

Catalogue page showing plate

Lot 453 - Royal Cauldon, Midland Hotel Seahorse design Dinner Plate

Auction Catalogue Pen and Ink Stand

Lot 316 showing the the pen and inkstand that may well have featured in the original 'Writing Room'

The plate being auctioned

The plate being auctioned live

Auction items

Both items safely in my possession!

2014 - It's Beautiful!

Midland Hotel - It's Beautiful Midland Hotel - It 's Beautiful

Image created by Harry McKenzie for the Creative Tourist

2014 - Accolade!

Midland Hotel wins Event of Year for Tourism

Last night (6th November 2014) The Midland entry won Lancashire Tourism Event of the Year for Vintage By The Sea‬. Thanks to everyone who helped make the event a huge success for Morecambe.

2014 - Auction!

After decades of looking for Midland Memorabilia - I am finally the proud owner of two items - a modest saucer and an fabulous curved side (salad) dish!

It started with the arrival of the Talisman Auctions August catalogue :

Catalogue cover front and back

which I thumbed through as usual, glancing at the motley collection of pictures when I saw this page:

Pictures of Midland Hotel items

My eye is trained to look for Midland Hotel memorabilia and I immediately zoomed in on lot 207:

Lot 2017 in the catalogue

it really did jump out at me!

Then I searched for the provenance just in case it wasn't what I thought!

Lot description

The Provenance is all I could wish it to be!

Item provenance

Although I placed a commissioned bit - we went to see the proceedings in Newark (Nottinghamshire)

Lot 207 being auctioned

The items are help up to be viewed by the attending bidders!

Sold to me!

Both items

Side plate

2013 - Miss Great Britain 1968

Final contestants 1968 Miss GB

Recreated! More here

2013 - Happy '80th' Birthday

Midland 2013 80th Birthday

2013 - Rotunda Bar Makeover

Jonquil Cook and Isa Clee-Cadman 2013

Jonquil Cook and Isa Clee-Cadman working on the 2013 recreation of the Ravilious murals - © Christopher Holmes photography

2013 - Morecambe's revival hopes led by art deco Midland hotel

Midland Hotel featured in The Guardian

Morecambe's Midland hotel originally opened in the 1930s but was redeveloped and reopened by Urban Splash in 2008. Photograph: Christopher Thomond - Source : The Guardian

2012 - The Midland features in 'Country Life'

Midland Hotel Country Life

The Midland's Own Beer

Pump Clip

Lovely use of the original sculptures gracing the front of the hotel tower

28th August, 1968 - Miss Great Britain

Contestants for 1968 Miss Great Britain grace the stairwell

BBC North West re-visited the 1968 Miss Great Britain Contest

July 1933 The Midland Opens!

Lancs Daily Post Wednesday 12th July 1933

New Hotel Opening in 1933

Read the full article on the dedicated page here

The Morecambe Motto - "Beauty Surrounds Health Abounds"

Healthy Girls

The Morecambe Health Bus

"Our Visits"

As chronicled on the former Saltdean website now reproduced on the dedicated page here


Bannister Rail

The bannister that was subject to an Interpol search - story to come ..... watch this space!


A lovely clock which graced the reception area when we stayed at the hotel in its derelict years - apparently each room had originally been furnished with one of these! Disappeared during the closure?

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