Manchester boasts of The Midland Hotel which is one of the city’s most iconic buildings; the imposing structure which was built on the site of the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall, was completed in 1903 and has since served as the hotel of choice for the great and good visiting Manchester at that time.
The Midland hotel, 16 Peter Street, Manchester M60 2DS, telephone 0161 236 333 was designed by the famous architect Charles Trubshaw, and built by the Midland Railway company to serve as Manchester’s central railway station and the terminus for rail services to London St. Pancreas. The company already had hotels in Bradford, Morecambe, Liverpool and London for its travelling guests, and were spurred on by rail passenger’s to build a luxury hotel in Manchester as the industrial city didn’t have any hotels lavish enough for those who could afford to travel by rail at the time.
In its heyday the Midland hotel had a palm court, an elaborate concert hall, a winter garden, both Russian and Turkish baths, and a roof garden
The grade II listed hotel is unique in design, encompassing an Edwardian Baroque style which was influenced by the architecture of 18th century France and that of Sir Christopher Wren combined. The design and construction was cutting edge in its time, the specification was high and it used all the latest building innovations. Its interior was as elaborate as its exterior, and in its heyday the hotel had a palm court, winter garden, a roof garden and Russian and Turkish baths, the equivalent of what today would be called a luxury spa. The Midland hotel’s main attraction was an elaborate one thousand seat concert hall which served as the theatre of choice for those that once visited the Gentleman’s Concert Hall which stood on the site previously.
An early photograph of one of the dining rooms in all its Victorian finery AT the Midland Hotel Manchester
The Midland stood majestically and has seen such Exclusive Company and famous faces through its historic doors, most notably Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce who met there and conceived the world famous and most prestigious automobile and engineering company Rolls-Royce. This hotel has also enjoyed the patronage of a number famous and royal guests including Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother, who after watching the Royal Variety show at the Palace Theatre in Manchester dined in the hotel’s majestic Trafford Restaurant. Other guests have included:
The Rolling Stones
Ian Fleming – Author Of James Bond Films
The Beatles – Turned Away
And many more
The Beatles stayed at the Midland hotel in Manchester city centre and were famously refused admittance to the prestigious in house top restaurant due to their attire which was not in keeping with what was still a place where ladies wore gloves when having afternoon tea and dinner and gentlemen dressed immaculately with a tie and jacket being compulsory.
Each year the hotel now plays host to a political conference held by the country’s two major parties, Labour and the Conservatives. Each takes it in turn to use the Midland hotel as their accommodation for the conference each year and this October the Conservative party will arrive in the city. As the Tories consume inordinate volumes of champagne inside this splendid hotel in the city centre of Manchester, outside will be a protest rally by those who oppose the party of the rich for its harsh economical cuts to the less well off citizens of the UK.
This historic Manchester Hotel still retains many of its original features and many of its modern additions pay homage to its colourful past. Look closely at the walls of the Octagon Court and you will see framed hand written verses from WH Auden’s poem the Night Mail, calling to mind the hotels railway history. The recently opened Mr Coopers House and Garden pays homage to the man who famously kept a well-known garden on the site prior to the Midland Hotel’s erection of which Exclusive Company Manchester escorts would have loved to witness. The restaurant and bar is reminiscent of Mr Cooper’s original house and has a garden area furnished with an authentic tree.
The Midland hotel has had many owners over the years and is now run by the Q Hotel group. The modern day Midland stands as proud as ever and is home to one of the city’s finest restaurants, The French by Simon Rogan. It has recently been refurbished and has received rave reviews from critics and is vying for a much longed for Michelin Star, a culinary award which has remained allusive in Manchester despite its restaurant boom. The hotel still stands as a favourite with notable visitors to the city, more for its prestigious history rather than its current incarnation one would suggest, as there are now many more hotels in Manchester of a higher standard in 2015. It still retains its grandeur with history pouring from every red brick and transports its guests back to a bygone era rich in every sense of architecture and Great Britain’s Colonisation history. However, for the contemporary well heeled businessman and upmarket leisure traveller the hotel is lacking in finesse and decorum and the days of opulence lavished on its wealthy visitors to the city has now gone.
The Midland’s reign as the most prestigious hotel in Manchester may have waned somewhat but it stands proud and shows no sign of vanishing now for a particular type of guest whose pockets are not as deep as a guest of a hundred plus years ago.
Architecturally the Midland hotel is breathtaking and its magnificent interior is worthy of Royalty and aristocrats and is a mark of a city which truly was rich beyond reason.