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        Blog by Tom Bloxham MBE

        Reflecting on our restoration of an art deco icon

        21 February 2019
        A 3 minute read by Tom Bloxham

        It’s been a decade now since we completed our restoration of the Midland Hotel, an art deco icon in Morecambe which was awarded the RIBA Crown Estate Conservation Award. Like many before us - developers, architects, historians, nostalgia buffs and lovers of Art Deco - we had always had a fascination with the hotel.

        We visited many times before taking it on; what stood out most was the building’s sad decline, and it was something we wanted to change.

        When the Midland Hotel was first built it was unashamedly contemporary, and we wanted to take the same approach, not forgetting of course that every design decision we made would need to embody empathy and aspiration in equal measure; the hotel was a symbol of renaissance for Morecambe but as a seaside icon tens of thousands of people were genuinely attached to it.

        Midland Hotel, Morecambe

        Our sensitive approach, which saw us work alongside architects Union North and Avanti, was to restore many of the original Art Deco features and add contemporary interventions and design solutions.

        Art work by Eric Gill at the Midland Hotel

        Influential 20th century sculptor Eric Gill produced several works of art for the hotel when it was first opened - we restored these; from the famous seahorses on the facade, to the Portland stone relief of Odysseus and Nausicaa which was returned to its original position in the lobby.

        Interior of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe

        A decade on and it’s great to see the hotel still so revered. I’m proud that we helped Morecambe’s modernist masterpiece regain its rightful place as the crowning glory on the North West coast.

        I’m only sad we were not asked to continue our work and carry on regenerating the rest of Morecambe.

        About the author

        Tom Bloxham

        Chairman and Co-Founder

        The least qualified board member, Tom sold fire extinguishers door to door, studied a degree in politics, sold records then posters and ran a market stall down Affleck's Arcade.

        He made more money sub-letting the space than selling his posters. That's how it started. Following setting up a pub business, nightclub and radio station, Tom, along with Jonathan Falkingham MBE, founded Urban Splash in 1993.

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