The other week everyone in Huddersfield got a bit of a shock when the town's leading hotel, the George Hotel, closed its' doors for the last time. The George had always been a part of the very fabric of the town : one of the four stone horsemen of the apocalypse that is George Square. The George had a bar, but it wasn't exactly beer-friendly and I have to confess I had only visited it on a couple of occasions. So now I have to wait to see if a rescue bid can be put together to save the hotel and the Rugby League Museum (the Rugby League was founded at a meeting in the hotel) that is situated in the building. I will keep you informed of what progress is made in securing the future of this fine building.
The events surrounding the George made me think about the fragile state of many of our old Victorian hotels, and the bars that form such an important part of them. Therefore when I was visiting Bradford last week, I made a point of calling in for a pint at the splendid Midland Hotel in Forster Square.
It has a bar and it had some decent real ale to offer and therefore I was able to enjoy a pint of Saltaire Blonde. The public bar is large and well proportioned and very hotel-like, which made it a fine venue to settle down to a relaxing read after a morning of book-shopping.
It is the external architecture of the building that is most striking : golden stone towers and balconies that are a joy to the senses. It is all too easy to step back and think that craftsmanship like this is a thing of the past in this mass-produced, profit orientated, disposable rubbish world that we live in. When I got home I turned to the Internet to try and find out a little more about the history of the hotel and I discovered a web based digital archive devoted entirely to the hotel and its history. And what a web archive it is, beautifully put together with fascinating content and comprehensive coverage. And it would appear that the site has been put together for no other reason that a love of the building, the city and their fascinating history. We may not build great Victorian public palaces any more, but the construction of such a website as this is truly a joy to the senses.