The influence of Morecambe’s crown jewel

Butlin's Ocean Hotel in Saltdean, the spitting image of the Midland.
Butlin's Ocean Hotel in Saltdean, the spitting image of the Midland.
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Readers of our letters page in the December 9 edition may recall a plea for help from Morecambe by the residents of Bexhill on Sea.

The East Sussex resort is trying to form its own town council and is looking to our town for advice.

David Hodgson read the letter with interest. He points out this isn’t the first time Bexhill on Sea has followed Morecambe’s lead.

The De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill, built just two years after the Midland in 1935, was a modernist structure in the same vein.

The story goes that Lord De La Warr, mayor of Bexhill, was looking for a new attraction to pull in tourists and the new amusement centre’s design was heavily influenced by the Midland.

Its Russian designer, Serge Chermayeff, had been head of the Modern Art Studio at Waring and Gillow from 1928 to 1931.

The glamorous style of the Midland also impressed holiday camp guru Billy Butlin.

The Ocean Hotel at his camp in Saltdean, which opened in 1938, had an almost identical facade to the Midland.

As recently as 1985, British Airways also used the Midland as a backdrop for a Concorde publicity campaign.

As David says, the airline giants no doubt believed guests at the Morecambe hotel were potential Concorde customers!