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June 19, 2016: Midland Hotel, Manchester, England


The Midland Hotel is one of my favorite buildings in Manchester, and it's apparently a shared opinion; a newspaper survey of Mancunians (yes, that's the word) ranked it #2. 

It was built by the Midland Railway, across the street from the terminal of its London-Manchester trains. The other end of the line was an equally elaborate station and hotel at St Pancras, London. The Midland opened in 1903 and was apparently an instant success with travelers; 70,000 stayed there the first year and was hailed as a "Twentieth century palace."


In addition to the guest rooms and restaurants (which the Beatles were turned away from for improper dress, but where the Queen Mother dined in style), the hotel includes a 1000-seat theatre for opera and plays, and a roof terrace where a string quartet played for diners.


Popular belief says that Adolf Hitler loved the 'Edwardian Eclectic' pile so much he intended to make it Britain's Nazi Party headquarters, had he invaded and succeeded. According to Wikipedia, American intelligence speculated that was the reason why the area of Manchester around Town Hall and Midland Hotel was not bombed when so much else was.

On a more pleasant note: a plaque marks the hotel as the place where, in 1903, Charles Stewart Rolls was introduced to Frederick Henry Royce so that they could discuss a future in automobiles.


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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