At the end of April, Fiona & I went to Morecambe to stay at the Midland Hotel for her birthday. It’s long been an ambition of ours to stay at the Midland. For those of you that are unfamiliar with it, it’s an Art Deco masterpiece of a hotel that survived up until the 1990’s when it fell into disrepair. Sadly, it stayed that way until 2003 when it was bought by a development company and over the next 5 years was restored to it’s former glory. The good news is that when it was restored, it was done in keeping with the original style so that now it stands out as one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in the country. The great thing about staying in a hotel like this midweek is that it’s quiet. Very quiet. By about 10pm, we had the run of the hotel to ourselves to explore. For some reason, as soon as it gets dark, the hotel starts to look like part of the Twin Peaks set. The corridor that our room was on and the bar area were straight out of the Black Lodge. Good job we both knew how to talk backwards!
Unfortunately, I’d like to say the same for Morecambe but our experience of it was that the majority of the sea front was boarded up and a large part of the town centre was, for the want of a better word, derelict. You can see what it used to be like though and that just makes it all the more sad. The Hotel has a video that plays in all the rooms. It’s made up of loads of cine films of Morecambe in it’s heyday throughout the 50’s. It really accentuates just how much the town has decayed in recent decades with the decline in UK seaside holidays. There is one absolute gem in the middle of the seafront though. There’s a second hand bookshop that you can literally get lost in for several hours. It’s like a labyrinth of bookshelves.
The photographs below are all shot on film. It’s a mixed bag for this post, there’s some 35mm stuff, Kodak Portra 400 and Cinestill 800, shot on a Leica M6 with 35mm Summicron. There’s also a couple of rolls of 120 that I shot on a Pentax 6×7 with 55mm lens. They were developed and scanned by the excellent UK Film Lab. The shots of the Morecambe Bay fishing boats were shot on Kodak Ektar 100 and the ones from the Lake District boat trip were on Fuji 400H. As well as celebrating Fiona’s birthday, this weekend was about playing with film and old cameras…at least it was for me. Fiona always carries a book for the times when my camera comes out…
By Mark J Hillyer, Wedding Photographer Yorkshire