Daytrips-Jenny Steele- Miami to Morecambe-This Building for Hope-Midland Hotel-Morecambe.

Last October on a very windy Morecambe day I visited the Midland Hotel to see Miami to Morecambe- This Building for Hope by Jenny Steele.

This was to be my first time visiting The Midland and I was very excited. The Midland Hotel opened on 12 July 1933. It was built by the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) Railway, and replaced a Victorian hotel of the same name. The new hotel was designed by Oliver Hill in the ‘Moderne’ style, in the hope that this would attract wealthy visitors to the town.  I was told to look up a lot and on the roof I saw The Two Seahorses by Eric Gill.

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I felt ever so grand walking up to the door and I was entranced by the Crittle windows and imagining I was in Poirot. They really did film an episode here in 1993 and you can watch it HERE.

My memories of the hotel are very limited. I remember it as a kid as always being there on the drive through Morecambe and then on further visits over the years it had sadly become derelict. I vaguely remember it being renovated when passing through and now it is fully booked up for years in advance.

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The Neptune and Triton medallion, Designed and carved by Eric Gill and painted by Denis Tegetmeier. Flipping Heck it's impressive. There is a bit more about Eric Gill's murals at the hotel HERE.

I was greeted by a lovely lady on reception and she gave me a guide and a map of the exhibition to see. I decided to start from the top and work down. Climbing up those grand steps I felt ever so posh. The staircase was designed by architect Oliver Hill. I imagined all the people who had walked up and down over the years in their best dress going down for dinner, which on further reading led me to THIS video of Thora Hird talking about the hotel in 1993. I love her yellow beret.

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The Fountain-Cavalier, Screenprints on card and plastic, paint on terracotta, 2017

 The Fountain- Ciccio, Screenprint on paper and plastic, paint on polystone, 2017

http://www.jennysteele.co.uk/page43.htm-accessed 6th February 2018.

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The Fountain- North Beach, Screenprint on card, print on metal, 2017

http://www.jennysteele.co.uk/page43.htm-accessed 6th February 2018.

I really loved the designs on the pieces and the colours and how intricate and uniformed they are. The reproduction Marion Dorn rug sits underneath this piece.

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Moving down into the foyer I walked past the bar where I wouldn't have minded a quick Guinness and came to the screen prints.

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They reminded me of a completely different time and the shapes and art deco influence. I wanted to stay at the hotel and be back in the 1930's with afternoon tea and maybe a game of bridge on the sea terrace.

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I loved all of the screen prints but my favourite is this blue design. It reminded me of the roof of The Midland, maybe it is the lines at the top but anyway it is my favourite and that's that.

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The Fountain- Colony Theatre, Screenprint on card, paint on polystone, 2m x 1m, The Midland entrance, 2017.

http://www.jennysteele.co.uk/page43.htm-accessed 6th February 2018.

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I couldn't get over it all, the designs, the colours, the screen prints and the trinkets in the glass cases. It is so grand and so full of history but I was also starting to get in people's way looking at everything as it was nearly tea time.

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Odysseus welcomed from the sea by Nausicaa- Eric Gill. Unless you are next to it and it is in front of you then you cannot say how you feel about it as it is truly beautiful. There is a bit more about Eric Gills work at The Midland HERE and also at one time this mural was feared lost forever and you can read about that HERE.

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Seahorse by Marion Dorn. Marion Dorn was a textile designer primarily in the form of wall hangings, carpeting and rugs, however she is also known to have produced wallpaper, graphics, and illustrations Known for her significant contributions to modern British interiors in particular for her 'sculpted' carpets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Dorn-accessed 8th February 2018

The original rugs that she designed for The Midland have long gone but there is a reproduction by the bar. However if you look HERE and HERE you can see the original carpets in the hotel that Marion Dorn designed. I liked this seahorse design very much and I thought about how long it had been there, the feet that have walked over it and how it was still there to see everything when the hotel was derelict. I get too nostalgic.

Moving outside as the real guests were getting ready for dinner, I said thank you and goodbye and went back outside into the wind. I liked these windows very much but I unfortunately wasn't going to be there to see them lit up at dusk.

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The Tropical Garden, digital print on vinyl, 1.5m x 8m, 2017

http://www.jennysteele.co.uk/page43.htm-accessed 6th February 2018.

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More treats were outside on the promenade. The banners looked lovely in the October sun and the colours really worked with the sea and surroundings. It reminded me of being by the sea and of a completely different time. I liked the pink banners the best as a nod to the seahorse design was on them.

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Not so Nautical a Divide, 81cm x 56cm, digital print on PVC banners, Morecambe promenade, 2017

http://www.jennysteele.co.uk/page43.htm-accessed 6th February 2018.

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As I was running out of car park monies I had to go back, plus it was really cold and I had come out without my hat. I came across some nice things on the way back that on closer inspection seemed to be once part of something a lot bigger.

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Becoming very bemused at the steps that lead to nowhere I walked a bit further on and saw some very tasteful beige tiles.

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More bemusement followed and I needed to know what I was looking at.

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It seemed to be the remnants of Morecambe Swimming Stadium. I found quite a bit on the internet about it and I am amazed that it was knocked down. Look at this postcard, it makes me sad how beautiful it all was and that is some swimming pool.

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http://www.postcardese.com/2013/01/a-postcard-from-g-and-g.html- accessed 8th February 2018.

and then this;

'Morecambe was in a similar position in the holiday market to Hastings. Morecambe Council also decided it needed a large outdoor pool to compete with nearby Blackpool. A new pool was built in 1936 on the site of the former ship breaking business of T W Ward Ltd. The ship breakers had long been considered an eyesore to the town, but paradoxically were something of an attraction. Many visitors paid to go on board the doomed ocean liners and warships. This time Morecambe's councillors made sure that they outdid Blackpool. The pool was truly massive, 396ft by 110ft. It was called the Super Swimming Stadium. The pool was designed by architects Cross and Sutton and built by Sir Lindsey Parkinson. The style was uncompromisingly modern. Ostensibly, it was built from reinforced concrete, like the pool at Hastings. However, 500,000 old-fashioned bricks were used in the construction. The statistics of the materials used make awesome reading. As well as the bricks, there were 15,000 cubic yards of concrete, 450 tons of steel reinforcement, 2,000 square yards of granolithic flooring, 5.5 miles of pipes, 12 miles of electrical wiring and 400 lights.

Morecambe's new pool had problems right from the start. The Council was sued, unsuccessfully as it turned out, when a boy slipped on the new pool's non-slip steps and broke his front teeth. More seriously, a leak had appeared in the sea wall that formed the basin, in which the pool was set, even before construction of the pool itself began. The cause of the leak was never established and repair work never really cured the problem. This meant that sea-water could leak into the pool at high tide and the water from the pool could escape at low tide.

In spite of its problems the pool did go on to play host to the Miss Great Britain contests after the War, but was eventually demolished in the 'seventies.'

http://www.seasidehistory.co.uk/lidos.html- accessed 8th February 2018

and there is a video HERE of the stadium showing The Miss Great Britain contest 1963.

It was then made into a water park called Bubbles and these are some of the tiles that are left.

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My old nostalgic brain had begun to freeze in the wind and I will definitely go back in the summer to investigate some more.

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https://morecambeandme.wordpress.com/tag/bubbles-waterpark/- accessed 8th February 2018

There are lots of old photographs of the pool HERE and surrounding areas. I never went to Frontier Land but I remember THIS advert to this very day.

Morecambe Winter Gardens. It is such a lovely building and I am pleased that it has been restored. On my next trip I will go in and look. Go HERE and see.

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I had a lovely time visiting Morecambe and The Midland and Jenny Steele's exhibition. I have also been overwhelmed about how much there is to find out about these places.

I found THESE pictures of the hotel when it was derelict and it is really sad how it looked but it has all turned out good in the end.

There is also THIS very informative website which details the hotel as it was through to being refurbished.

Thank you to The Midland Hotel for letting me wander about, take pictures and use your beautiful toilets. Excellent hand wash.