Inside Blackpool’s worst hotel kitchen

Ian Thorpe from the Black Diamond Hotel on York Street
Ian Thorpe from the Black Diamond Hotel on York Street
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IT’S enough to put you off your food.

Scenes like the grease-splattered cooker hob pictured right led one hotel inspector to dub this the worst kitchen in Blackpool.

Council officers visited the Windsor House Hotel in York Street and found a dog and a parrot living in the squalid cooking area.

Together with bird food and dog hairs on the kitchen floor they found filth, grime and overflowing ashtrays used by hotelier and cook Ian Thorpe.

Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said: “One of the inspectors said in her report it was the dirtiest and worst kitchen she has ever come across.”

Thorpe, 60, admitted three food hygiene act offences involving cleanliness, the prevention of pests and the failure to keep proper records when he appeared before Blackpool magistrates.

The prosecutor said the Windsor House Hotel offered £18-a-night bed and breakfast accommodation and when inspectors called there was a ‘vacancies’ sign up in the window.

When they entered the premises they found three guests staying.

Mrs Bennett said: “The inspectors said they wanted to see the kitchen area and Thorpe told them - ‘you are not going to like this’.

“They found it dirty and greasy. There was parrot food on the floor and dog hairs. There were two ashtrays containing cigarette ends.

“Thorpe told them he was offering room only and not cooking breakfast. However, inside the fridge was a large amount of bacon and 49 eggs.

“When asked about the eggs Thorpe’s reply was ‘I like eggs’.”

The dining area was set up for 41 people and there were cereals and jam on the tables.

“The kitchen area failed to meet the basic needs of food safety,” Mrs Bennett added.

Thorpe has since left the Windsor House and is running the Black Diamond Hotel, directly opposite his old premises.

He told magistrates he had been in the hotel trade for 18 years and struggled to keep the Windsor House clean after his partner had three strokes.

He said: “I knew I was doing wrong not to keep it clean.

“The only reason it got like that was because my partner died.

“I nursed him for a long time and since his death I lost the will to do anything.

“I can understand why it was called the worst in Blackpool and I’m totally ashamed of it.

“But with the mental state I was in it all became oblivious to me.”

One review from the hotel recommendations website, written in November last year, stated: “Grim is the only way that I can describe this poor excuse for a B&B! Do NOT stop here!”

Thorpe admitted smoking in a kitchen used to provide food for the public.

He was fined £550 and ordered to pay £250 costs by magistrates.

His new hotel has now passed a health inspection and he says he is starting to turn his life around.

He added: “I’m getting there and starting to get back on track.

“I was on my own and had nobody to turn to and it was something that shouldn’t have happened.

“I’ve had an inspection and everything is OK here.”

Tim Coglan, head of Blackpool’s quality standards division, said the state of the Windsor House Hotel could lower the town’s reputation.

He said: “If people come to Blackpool and have an unfortunate experience with regards to quality of food, it’s going to deter them from coming back.

“This is obviously bad for the local economy and jobs and it’s extremely important we continue to tackle these issues.

“If anybody doesn’t maintain their food preparation areas or kitchen in an appropriate manner that can be a risk to public health.”