Back in June 2003, I got the opportunity to visit the then semi-derelict Midland Grand hotel at St Pancras station in central London and take some photos.
The former hotel had been opened up to host the ‘Summer at the Midland Grand, 2003′ Art and Design Show,’ but – much like my visit to an art show in the Kingsway Tram Tunnel – it was the building I was interested in!
I posted up most of these photos 15 years ago, but at a tiny size due to the internet being so slow.
So here they are again, but in a much bigger size and hopefully still of interest to you! As ever, feel free to add your comments at the bottom of the article.
The entrance features Devonshire polished pink limestone columns, gilded arches and highly detailed stone carving.
Sir George Gilbert Scott drew on a wide range of disparate influences throughout the Grand Hotel.
The entrance hall bears a strong resemblance to the 16th century Oudenaarde Town Hall in Belgium.
The path from the entrance hall curves around to meet the Grand Staircase, widely acknowledged as being one of the finest in the country
Looking upwards from the base of the Grand Staircase, you can see the carefully restored vaulted ceiling of cerulean blue, spangled with gold stars.
Stairs up to the first floor.
The staircase was originally lit by Skidmore’s gas lighting before being converted to electric lighting in the 1880s.
In the background you can see some surviving gilt Fleur de Lys wallpaper.
Criminally, much of the original, hand-crafted wallpaper was destroyed when it was painted over after the hotel closed.
Peeling paint in the northern corridor. Decades of neglect had left some parts of the building in a parlous state.
In the 1980s, the building failed its fire certificate and laid empty before restoration took place.
In an abandoned room in the north corridor of the Midland Grand, ‘Gamine’ staged a moving performance of their film noir, jazz-tinged melancholia.
The original Midland Grand wallpapers featured Victorian stencil patterns, enriched with gilding.
Sadly, much of this has been lost by subsequent brutal decoration schemes, where the wallpaper was simply painted over.
Old Auto Exchange equipment. After the closure of the hotel in 1935, the Midland Grand was renamed ‘St Pancras Chambers’ and the building used as railway offices.
This equipment would appear to date from the 1960s.
Later gaining notoriety as the first Ladies’ Smoking Room in London, the Ladies’ Drawing Room was equipped with an electrophone, linking guests to the Queen’s Hall and other London halls and churches
Another view of the staircase, this time taken between the ground and first floors (the second floor was not open to the public when I visited).
The attention to detail throughout the building is breathtaking, with the overall Gothic style being reflected in all sorts of fittings and architecture.
Facing the stairs on the first floor landing is this Chaucerian scene, painted by Thomas Wallis Hay.
It is the only canvas mural left in the building.
The wonderful old booking hall of the station,
St Pancras photo features
Midland Grand cocktails 2012 – Gilbert Scott bar, St Pancras
Midland Grand restored – St Pancras reborn
St Pancras International – A look at restored railway station
Secret St Pancras – Unofficial Midland Grand views
Short history of the station
Archive St Pancras and the Midland Grand discussion
St Pancras Hotel re-opens (2010)
Who’s been to look at St Pancras, then? (2007)
Saw that tacky statue in St Pancras (2007)
Corny sculpture for new St Pancras (2007)
First Eurostar on its way to St. Pancras (2007)
Midland Grand/St Pancras (2003)