Hotel guest takes trip down memory lane with archive footage

A guest at the art-deco Midland Hotel has enjoyed an extraordinary nostalgic surprise with a twist, having spotted her father and extended family in a video dating back to the 1950s.

On checking in to her sea view room at the hotel in Morecambe, Sarah Oliver started to watch the historic black and white video which is available to guests.  She was keen to enjoy the archive footage as her grandparents, Morag and Rennick Hodgson, had bought the hotel from the London Midland and Scottish Railway company and ran it in the 1950s.

As the video unfolded, Sarah was amazed to see that several members of her family were featured in it.  She mentioned the trip down memory lane to staff at the hotel, who then organised for her father to return to the hotel where he spent his childhood for a stay and a guided tour.

“I had brought my partner to the Midland Hotel as a treat to celebrate his 45th birthday,” explains Sarah, “But it turned out to be so much more than a night away!

“As the video neared its end, I was stunned to see my granny and grandad in their bathing suits, bouncing my baby uncle up and down while my dad is there learning to ride a bike.

“There is also footage of my aunt Winnie, uncle Paddy and their children – two beautiful little toddlers in red dresses.  Not only that, we also found a still photograph of auntie Winnie on the bedroom wall.  It was a genuinely heart-warming surprise and all the stories we’ve heard over the years leapt to life during our stay.

“It’s lovely to see how the hotel’s past permeates through the building, décor and staff.  Talking to my dad, who lived at the Midland as a child and still remembers it well, we think the film was made by his father in the 1950s but had been lost to my family for decades.”

Staff at the hotel were delighted to hear of Sarah’s news and invited her to return to the hotel for a complimentary family stay, with her father treated to a guided tour of the establishment to see how it looks today following its restoration to former glories.

Mark Needham from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, the general manager of the Midland Hotel, adds:  “Sarah was absolutely thrilled to recognise her family members in the footage, so we thought it would be a real treat for her father to come back for a stay as our guest and enjoy a guided tour.

“We were originally given access to the video by the room designer, whose mother had found it at a car boot sale.  By complete coincidence, Harvie in our IT department was also astonished to see his own mum, dad and little brother on the video when he was transferring it onto our TV system.”

To view the vintage video footage, visit https://englishlakes.co.uk/the-midland/the-midland-vintage-video/

The Midland Hotel was designed to look like an ocean liner and built in a single year, opening in 1933.  It has enjoyed a modern revival in fortunes since reopening in 2008 after an £11m refurbishment and is now run by family hotel group English Lakes Hotels, Resorts & Venues.  For further information, visit: englishlakes.co.uk

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