A fascinating insight into life in the early 20th century was discovered in the hotel archives. Information given by Laura Beken, a chambermaid who started working at the hotel in 1935 at the age of 25, allows us to see what life was like.
Her normal working day started at 6am and ended at 10pm, with two hours off in between. Unmarried staff lived in the hotel, and women were accommodated above the kitchen as it was warm during the winter. Chambermaids bought their own uniforms, which consisted of a blue dress for the mornings and a black one for the afternoons. They earned 10 shillings per week, including accommodation and meals, and the staff had the pick of whatever was left on the menu. In the late 1930s, the bathrooms were the only rooms that had radiators, so the building was freezing cold during the winter. Guests were therefore provided with hot water bottles. Laura worked at the hotel until it closed down due to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.
The hotel was closed to the public throughout the war, and was occupied by staff from the GNR’s King’s Cross office. The two main bedroom wings were thought to be reserved for VIPs that were forced to stay during the blitz in London.
Open for Business
Re-opening in November 1949 after extensive repairs, the hotel gained popularity due to its close proximity to the railway station. In the 1950s, it was extremely popular as a wedding reception. Comedian Ernie Wise was among those who celebrated at the hotel. In 2009, it was acquired by its current owner, and it has been refurbished over the years to embody its current high-standards. Known for its traditional and honest employees, you are sure to enjoy the service provided at this historic venue.