Sunday, 8 January 2012

Deco Delights at the Midland

As we were in Lancashire over Christmas visiting Husband's family, I persuaded him to drive out to Morecambe one afternoon so that I could visit a place on my To Visit list: The Midland Hotel.

This beautiful building is a real Art Deco gem with its sweeping facade, imposing central tower topped off with two seahorses and to the rear, a circular room with long distance views across the sea towards Barrow-in-Furness.

Built in 1932, the Midland was designed by Oliver Hill and replaced the Victorian hotel that was originally constructed on this site. Hill enlisted the multi talented artist/sculptor/print maker Eric Gill  to undertake the exterior seahorses sculptures and interior details such as the ceiling medallion of Neptune and Triton situated over the circular main staircase and the frieze of Odysseus currently located behind the reception desk .

Apparently, the frieze was the victim of an attempted theft when the hotel was disused

In its heyday, the hotel's clientele included Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, Noel Coward, Winston Churchill and Coco Chanel, but the onset of the Second Wold War resulted in it being  requisitioned for the war effort.

The post-war years saw the hotel pass through the hands of numerous owners, but the boom of affordable foreign holidays meant that people didn't want to venture to their usual holiday spots at home when they could buy a package holiday and fly to warmer and more exotic locations.

So, like many other seaside hotels, the Midland fell into decline until the development company Urban Splash brought the hotel in 2003 intent on restoring it, but keeping the integrity of its history and architectural heritage; it was re-opened in 2008.

I could only access the public areas such as the restaurant and cafe, but was pleased to see that although the building had obviously been thoroughly restored, details like the original flooring in what is now the cafe remained in-situ, even though its obviously very time worn.

Did the chic monochrome feet of Coco Chanel skim over this same floor?
Another original detail

I fell in love with the the red and pink bar area with its padded booths; the perfect place to sip a cocktail and daydream. The bright colours and padded seating reminded me of a Terry de Havilland shoe - in fact I could have been sitting in one!

Sipping on a 'Bramble' cocktail - it went down very well!
Next time I visit, I intend to take the knitting and have a quiet afternoon away from it all with just a cocktail or two to keep me company.


  1. I love it. I used to be taken to Morecambe on my holidays when I was small but I don't think I had the same appreciation of art deco then!

    The picture of you in the booth is gorgeous, you look stunning. Loving those amazing boots!

  2. I've been lusting over The Midland Hotel a lot recently. It keeps popping up on that BBC2 "Put Your Money Where You Mouth Is" antiques show.
    You look amazing sipping on your cocktail. x

  3. Looks like an amazing place.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. oh wow the architecture of this hotel is really quite impressive! i´m in love with those seahorses! just have one word for it: beautiful!
    love and kiss,mary

  5. It looks like a great place to spend an afternoon (or even a whole night!). The bramble cocktail sounds divine, and you look very glam and right at home there!

  6. It's that floor that I really love.

  7. What a beautiful building, they just don't make 'em like that anymore!! I love the shoes too! X

  8. Its a gorgeous building isn't it. I saw it about twenty years ago before it was restored - would love to go back and see it now.
    Julie xxxxxxx

  9. What a stunning place. It's on my 'to visit' list too. It's good to see so many original features still inside.

  10. I have been wanting to go here, it looks fab, thanks so much for the photos.
    Thought of you yesterday, as I picked up a whole load of wartime needlework mags at the weekend, full of knitting patterns. I need to learn to knit?
    Hen x

  11. Looks great, I love Art Deco architecture. I've never been to Morcambe (shameful!), but I have briefly been to Barrow and looked across the bay. Have you been to Burgh Island? That looks pretty amazing for Deco style.

  12. What a place! Totally stunning. I could spend time there no problem. We could do a massive Kniit Natter and Cocktail day!
    Thank you for sharing you photos.
    Would love to meet up again soon.
    Love Tickety-boo xx

  13. It is a fabulous place isn't it - we went last year and I did a blogpost about it and Morecambe in general - my daughter was at Lancaster Uni and we took her to the Midland for afternoon tea - the height of elegance!

  14. What a lovely building - I'm so pleased to hear that it has been lovingly restored.

  15. That brought back memories! I stayed there in 1986. Beautiful on the outside. I remember a large breakfast room with a view.

    But the rooms needed an overhaul, desparately. The water pressure was non-existant and the management of the time made me think of "Fawlty Towers". Why would you expect hot water in your shower!!!

  16. I was there in 1997, we had the place as a cycle event headquarters. I must say, being one of the friends, when it was being built, I was a little disappointed at the style of the new interior. I thought it would have remained more original but 'new'. Yes, it was quite run down but I still loved it then.

  17. A Bramble cocktail? hmm sounds interetsing and must be good (its my married name lol) will have to try one.


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