Directors and managers, along with their partners, celebrated 25 years of business and life at Lancaster House with a beautiful three course meal and speeches reflecting on the preceding quarter century. Doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourselves!
Photographs of the team over the year recreated in 2016 below:
Built on an Established Seat of Learning
It all started in 1989 with a letter from Lancaster University to our then Chairman and Managing Director, Michael Berry, asking if we would be interested in building an hotel in the university grounds. It was to be the first ever green field site build.
Douglas Dale, Operations Director, moved into a portacabin on site in June 1990, exchanging his suit and tie for an outdoor jacket and hardhat. It was fitting that Janette Berry attended the anniversary celebration as it was Janette that assisted Douglas with much of the pre-start up organisation, together forging the way ahead and creating a sense of direction for the next phase of business.
Branding, the Good Old Fashioned Way!
With wry humour Douglas explained that things may have changed a little over the years. Back then it was not unusual for interviews to take place in the car park with construction workers busy in the background. Nowadays much combined thought and deliberation, with storyboards, marketing gurus and careful pantone referencing are all part of the mix when it comes to branding across an hotel. In 1990 it fell Douglas’ responsibility to come up with suitable names and titles for everything and everybody! The leisure club was named ‘Sandpiper’ with a nod to the local bird species – a name that has stood the test of time. The Gressingham dining room was named after a local village and our Dalton Suite was named whilst Douglas was stuck in a traffic jam in town beside the sign for ‘Dalton Square’.
An unusual and fortuitous meeting at 39,000 feet in the air was responsible for the naming of the Bar. Douglas was on a flight to Spain and got chatting to the gentleman sitting next to him, discovering that he was David Sandeman, 8th generation Chairman and Managing Director of Sandeman Port and Sherry. Douglas was further intrigued to learn of the branch of the Sandeman family that lived almost on the doorstep of Lancaster House. So our Sandeman Bar was named and a friendship spanning over 25 years with the family began.
A Royal Connection
Lancaster House flung opened its doors on 12th July 1991 to welcome the first of our guests. Later than year Princess Alexandra performed the official opening ceremony and attended a banquet in her honour. Diplomacy at the time dictated that the original French wine suggested for the main course was rejected in favour of a carefully chosen wine from a Commonwealth country which was more politically correct at the time. Douglas recalls that when it came to serving the wine it was tasted by one of Princess Alexandra’s aids but when it offered to the Princess we were informed that she didn’t drink wine at all.
Congratulations to the team at Lancaster House, past and present. We look forward to many more years offering a warm Lancashire welcome to all our guests. Take a look at Lancaster House today.