St Pancras Hotel
My favourite building in London is the Midland Railway's Terminal at St Pancras.
In 1865, the Midland Railway held a competition for the design of a 150-bed hotel to be constructed next to its new railway station, St Pancras, which was under construction at the time. Eleven designs were submitted, including one by George Gilbert Scott, which, at 300 rooms, was much bigger and more expensive than the original specifications. Despite this, the company liked his plans and construction began.
The east wing opened in 1873, and the rest followed in Spring 1876. The hotel was expensive, with costly fixtures including a grand staircase, rooms with gold leaf walls and a fireplace in every room. It had many innovative features such as hydraulic lifts, concrete floors, revolving doors and fireproof floor constructions, though (as was the convention of the time), none of the rooms had bathrooms. The hotel was taken over by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1922 at Grouping of the Railways, but closed in 1935, by which time it was outdated and very costly to maintain.
It then became railway offices and I visited in the 1980s when it was the HQ of British Transport Hotels. At that time the magnificent High Victorian decorations were hidden behind lowered ceilings and paint.
In 2004 planning permission was given to re-convert the building back to its former grandeur as a hotel. The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened in 2011 and has been magnificently restored.
Information from Wikipedia
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