The Midland Hotel

The Midland Hotel, Morecambe, holds a unique place in British architectural history and been nominated as one of the top 50 British buildings. Built in 1933, it was the first Art Deco hotel in Britain, and is now one of the few remaining. The hotel has seen the rise and fall of the British seaside holiday experience, and over the years has worked its way into the hearts of the local community, where it has become both an iconic and poignant landmark in the north west of England.

The community has watched this iconic structure slip and fall into decline and eventual dereliction. The Midland Hotel was a significant part of Britain’s seaside holiday era and welcomed local, national and even famous holidaymakers during its time.

Photographing this building began in 2004, where I was fascinated with the concept of a hotel room being a place you can stay, make messy and leave. When you return the bed is made, clothes picked up from the floor and the cups on the sideboard have been replaced and cleaned. On a larger scale this is what was happening to the hotel itself. It has been allowed to decay and rot, and now it’s been cleaned and had its metaphorical beds made.

In 2008, the hotel’s renovation was complete and opened its doors once again to the public. Over a four-year period, I worked in collaboration with novelist and award winning writer Sarah Hall to produce The Midland Hotel book and touring exhibition. Not only was this a great opportunity to work with another artist, but her stories added another dimension to my images, which unveiled what had been locked up, unseen and hidden from the public. Mapping the journey from one state to another – the act of transformation – the hotel was photographed during its tragic yet still beautiful dereliction and traced through to its regeneration, and resurrected to its full glory.

Published by Litfest and Dewi Lewis Publishing, The Midland Hotel [ISBN: 978-1-904587-61-3] records, imagines, and celebrates the bringing back to life of a much-loved building of historical and architectural importance.