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Oliver Hill (1887-1968)

Midland Hotel

Designer: Hill, Oliver (1887-1968)
Copyright: Sydney W. Newbery/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1933)

A friend of Edward Lutyens, Oliver Hill was initially apprenticed to a builder before moving to work for the Scottish architect William Flockhart. Hill's early designs were in the Arts & Crafts style but from the 1930s onwards, he tended to favour modernism, in particular, streamlined and curving lines. Hill's first country house commission was Moor Close in Binfield, Berkshire, for Charles Birch Crisp, built 1911, which shows strong echoes of Lutyens' influence.


Hill served in World War I but returned to architecture afterwards. A key work from this period is Cour, Kintyre, Argyll built in 1922.


Hill's best known work was the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, built for the London, Midland and Scottish Railways in 1933. The three storey white curved building featured a central circular tower and a circular café at the north end. The convex side of the hotel faced the sea whilst the convex side faced the railway station (said to be 'in homage' to the railway company who owned the hotel).


After a long decline, the hotel fell into disrepair but was restored in 2003 by Urban Splash, Northwest Regional Development Agency and Lancaster City Council. The hotel re-opened its doors to the public in June 2008.


Hill was never nominated for the Royal Gold Medal.