Grand old St Annes hotel was both majestic and imperial

The Hotel Majestic in its early days, when it was known as the Imperial Hydro, St Annes
The Hotel Majestic in its early days, when it was known as the Imperial Hydro, St Annes
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It was once one of St Annes’ most powerful landmarks. The Majestic Hotel can no longer be seen, but at one time it was the symbol of the resort in its Edwardian heyday.

Starting out life as the Imperial Hydro, it was the largest of the seafront hotels which sprang up in the late 19th century, following the town’s establishment as an alternative resort to Blackpool. It wasn’t long before it was renamed the Majestic – a name befitting its gargantuan scale.

The bandstand in St Annes with the Majestic Hotel in the background. Historical post card dated 1927

The bandstand in St Annes with the Majestic Hotel in the background. Historical post card dated 1927

In the 30s and 40s, stars and seaside trippers travelled from miles around to stay in the hotel’s luxurious rooms and enjoy its fine cuisine and beautiful grounds.

Among some of its illustrious guests were prime minister Winston Churchill, American actor and singer Danny Kaye, actress Margaret Lockwood and comedy stars the Marx Brothers.

In wartime, BBC concerts were beamed to the nation from within the hotel’s walls.

It can be seen here in its glory days on our striking, black-and-white archive photographs.

The cocktail bar in the Hotel Majestic

The cocktail bar in the Hotel Majestic

One of the pictures shows the beautiful cocktail bar inside the hotel, sometime around 1910.

And its location can be seen in a 1927, showing St Annes bandstand in the foreground and the Majestic Hotel dominating the background.

But, despite withstanding two world wars, the grand old hotel could not survive the social revolutions generated by the 1960s.

The traditional British seaside holiday paled into virtual insignificance beside the allure of fashionable new package holidays abroad to sunnier and more exotic climes.

The Majestic Hotel mid-demolition

The Majestic Hotel mid-demolition

Guest bookings started to decline and by 1971, only bed and breakfast was being served at the hotel, because of staffing problems.

Once a magnificent St Annes icon, the hotel finally closed and was demolished in 1975, replaced by a five-storey apartment development.

The work of the bulldozers is shown on one of our archive pictures here, with the demolition part-way through, in 1975.