Moderne Morecambe

Moderne Morecambe

It had been over 25 years since we were last in Morecambe and to be absolutely truthful our childhood memories of the seaside town wasn't favourable. Thankfully things have certainly changed. Morecambe is in the process of regeneration. Although this process is still ongoing, this seaside town is definitely a much changed place.

From the 1960’s onwards tastes in tourism were changing due to the increasing accessibility of foreign holiday destinations. With the growing popularity of the package holiday as well as low cost air travel, tourists were flocking to the continent in their droves, and were taking their hard earned money with them. Foreign travel was now no longer just a luxury of the rich.

Large drops in tourism had a negative effect to the local economy. So the British seaside resort started to go into decline. The boom of the pre and post war years were now a thing of the past.

Driving along the Marine Road we got a glimpse of the former Frontierland site with some of the decaying remnants of its former glory still there. Morecambe, like nearly all of Britain’s seaside resorts are in a state of transition.

A beacon for the regeneration of the town of Morecambe, and the main subject of this post, is the quite spectacular Midland Hotel.

View of the Midland Hotel, Morecambe.Standing proudly opposite the former Morecambe Promenade Railway station, The Midland Hotel commands a grand presence against the scenic backdrop of Morecambe bay.

In 1932 the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company (LWS) set into motion the process of replacing of their existing hotel in Morecambe, with a much more modern structure in the Streamline Moderne style of Art Deco.  The man charged with this auspicious task was the British architect, landscape and garden designer Oliver Hill (1887 - 1968).

Hill's design is a glorious example of this style. Influenced by the great technological advances in transport of the 1920's and 1930's, this building echoes the grandeur of the great ocean liners of the age such as the revolutionary Ile de France, Normandie and the Queen Mary. When the hotel opened to the public in July 1933 it was the epitome of modernity, and cutting edge design. Equipped with a richly decorated interior featuring work by the controversial sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker Eric Gill ( 1840 - 1940), textile designer Marion Dorn (1896 - 1964), painter, designer, engraver, letterer, cartoonist and former Trappist monk Denis Tegetmeier (1895 - 1987), and book illustrator and wood engraver Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942).

After several prosperous years, when war broke out in 1939, the hotel was requisitioned by the Government for use as a military hospital. All the objects of value were put into storage and the interior of the building was converted for hospital use for the duration of the Second World War.

After the war the hotel was handed back to LWS but sadly in a bad state of repair. Renovation began and the hotel reopened in 1948. Following the nationalisation of the railways, in 1951 the hotel was put up for sale. After a succession of owners, by the 1970's it was already feeling the effects of a down surge in tourism but thankfully by the end of that decade it was granted a Grade 2* listing. The buildings importance had finally been recognised as of great importance and was now protected. Sadly in the years that followed the hotel changed hands a further few times, and by 1998 it was in such a state of disrepair that the hotel had to close its doors. For the next 8 years its remained derelict, but thankfully in 2006 the Manchester based property developer Urban Splash along with Union North Architects they began an extensive refurbishment and expansion project which brought this iconic building back to life. After two years of extensive work the Midland Hotel reopened its doors to the public in the summer of 2008.

So, let us take a closer look at the photograph that appeared earlier in the post:

View of the Midland Hotel, Morecambe.It truly is a beautiful building but sadly this is not the best photo of it. Sadly time was against us on that day, preferably we would have taken many more photographs of the hotel, but for now this one will have to do (will definitely have to organise a trip back down to Morecambe with our camera soon!). So how can we improve this photo?

So what do you think? Just like the hotel, this image has had major work! So where did we start? First we cropped the image so the main subject, the hotel, was in the centre of the image.  That was the easy part! Then we tackled the foreground, removing the bollards, the paint from the paving, the concrete slabs before we extended the existing pavement throughout the foreground. Whilst doing this we realised that the wall in the left of the foreground could serve a better purpose. The stone pier which is connected to the wall, we believe is an unnecessary element which is taking some of the attention away from the hotel. Once removed we decided to extend the existing wall to the outer edge of the image, so now it creates a line which draws your eyes straight into the centre of the image and practically to the main entrance of the hotel.

Next we moved on to the hotel itself. Although essential in real life, the two lamp posts needed to go. We then decided to remove the tree from the right hand side of the car park. And finally we picked out the tiny flashes of red; paint colour of one of the cars,  the rear break lights etc, and changed them to a colour that would blend in to the surround area. Why? Our main objective of this retouching project was to celebrate the midland hotel and make it the main focus of the image. Ideally if we had the chance to take more photographs of the building and its surroundings, we would have been able to remove all the cars from the road as well as the car park. So with the image we have we did the very best we could. We hope you like it!

If you like what we have done here and you have a photo you would like enhanced in a similar way please send us an email to or visit our website at for more options.

Thanks for reading!

ReClick Photo.