The Midland Hotel – Sparkling White as Snow(crete)

We love the fact that The Midland is one of Britain’s finest twentieth century Modernist buildings. However, being ‘a building of more than special interest’, awarded Grade-II* listed status in 1976,  means that we are faced with various challenges, both inside and out, when it comes to the operation of the hotel.

When hotel was built in 1933 the white render used on the outside of the building was called snowcrete. This mix of cement and carborundum, also known as Silicon carbide, was electrically polished to produce a surface resembling marble. However, due to the location of the hotel on the sea front, over the years the weather and sea air took its toll on the building.

During the re-refurbishment in 2006, Urban Splash began the huge task of exposing the original render which was masked by years of dirt and layers of peeling paint. They discovered that the render was in a far worse state than first thought and a number of cracks and loose patches had to be repaired before any new surface could be applied.

They were then faced with the task of sourcing a suitable replacement render that would match the original look of the Midland when it first opened in 1933. After many samples they found a modified polymer render with three different types of glass and 39 different components. In total they re-rendered 2,500 square metres, taking 12 months to complete.

As part of the ongoing maintenance of The Midland, English Lakes arranges an annual clean of the exterior of the building. This usually takes 10 – 14 days and involves a contractor, a cherry picker and a jet washer.  Despite our best efforts, conditions by the sea meant that within a few months the render loses its brilliant white appearance.

This year we hired a company who specialised in the cleaning of large building with specialist rendering. They used a cleaning solution that would not only clean the hotel but hopefully maintain it’s sparkle for a lot longer than previously.

Cleaning started on  3rd April and was finished by 8th April- a new cleaning record! We are delighted with the results and we are sure that our guests will be also. Here’s a little drone footage taken whilst cleaning was in progress.

The Midland Hotel – Morecambe’s White Hope

Some of the information above was taken from The Midland Hotel – Morecambe’s White Hope which is on sale at Reception. This fantastic book by Barry Guise and Pam Brook tells the remarkable history of the hotel – it’s revolutionary architecture, the 1930 glory days, transformed to a WWII hospital, the sad demise and then its rise from the ashes to the gloriously restored building that it is today.

Written by: Hannah McQuire, Assistant General Manager at The Midland

 

 

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