Saturday, 8 September 2012
Midland Hotel, Bradford
This is another fine Victorian building in the centre of Bradford - the Midland Hotel. Completed in 1890 and designed by Charles Trubshaw, it was built by the Midland Railway Company as part of the adjoining Forster Square Station. It originally had 115 bedrooms (now 90) and boasts some superb Victorian interiors, with ornate plasterwork, glittering chandeliers and fine Burmantofts tiling.
Rail travel lost a lot of its glamour after 'the golden age of steam' and many of Britain's railway hotels, including this one, fell into disrepair. It was rescued by local entrepreneur John Pennington in the 1990s and has been lovingly restored. It is now run by Peel Hotels.
It has an illustrious history. Being one of Bradford's premier hotels, its guestbook has included Laurel and Hardy, Paul Robeson, Bram Stoker ( of 'Dracula' fame), The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. George Formby, the Lancashire entertainer famous for his playing of the banjo ukelele, stayed here when performing at the nearby Alhambra Theatre in 1940, and almost every Prime Minister up to Harold Wilson has been through its doors. The famous Shakespearian actor, Sir Henry Irving, collapsed and died on the staircase in 1905 (!), sweeping out of this life in some style.