Last of Blackpool ‘old guard’ hoteliers dies at 98

Jim McLair has died at the age of 98.
Jim McLair has died at the age of 98.
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One of Blackpool’s best-known hoteliers has died.

Jim McLair died on 20th January at Blackpool, Victoria Hospital. He was 98.

Mr McLair owned the Rugby House Boarding House in St Chads Road and the Astoria Hotel in Albert Road, inset, with his late wife, Jeanne, who died in 2015.

Son Lindsay, 65, said his father was possibly the last of the old guard Blackpool hoteliers from the golden era of the 1960s and 70s.

He added: “Mum and Dad were invited to meet the Queen when she visited Preston Guild Hall in 2002.

“They were told not to talk to the Queen, but she stopped and chatted to Dad for a few minutes anyway.”

Born in Newarthill, Scotland in 1920, he met his lifelong love Jeanne in 1949 and the couple had son Lindsay four years later.

They moved to Blackpool in 1955 purchasing Rugby House.

Jim worked at the Unit Tool Company and played drums at the Brunswick Club in the evenings.

In the 60s they purchased the Astoria Hotel on Albert Rd and Jim went on to become President of the Hotel and Guest House Association, serving from 1971-1973.

They entertained their guests in the evenings with Jeanne singing and Jim playing the guitar.

Away from the hotel industry, Jim became president of the Blackpool Scottish Society in 1969.

He was also a keen jazz fan and cigarette card collector, even though he wasn’t a smoker.

The couple later bought Dishdolls Restaurant in Out Rawcliffe and they finally retired in 1983.

Jim is survived by Lindsay, his grandchildren Rachel and Lee and three great grandchildren.

His funeral takes place at Lytham Crematorium on Friday at 11am.

That will be followed by a service of remembrance at Marton URC.