For the first time in living memory, the Ramblers’ held their general council (annual general meeting and gathering), in a hotel not on a college campus. We spent the weekend of 29-30 March at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool.
This had advantages. Everything was close at hand, and we could move easily from one event to another and then nip upstairs to change instead of having to allow time to walk across a campus. Of course, the disadvantage was that, despite being walkers, we barely went outside.
I managed a short walk before things started on the Saturday, to the anglican cathedral
and through the peaceful, grade 1 listed, St James Gardens at its foot.
And I popped outside between sessions for a breath of city air.
The Adelphi is a great slab of a building, described by Pevsner as ‘big, stone-faced and stodgy’.
It has an interesting history. It is the third hotel on this site; the first opened in 1827 and the second in 1876. It was acquired by the Midland Railway Hotels which demolished it and built a completely new hotel, which celebrates its centenary this year.
It is sumptuous, and has provided the set for many films. The Sefton Suite is, for some reason, a replica of the first-class smoking lounge on the Titanic.
It has had some interesting guests, including Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger who appeared on the balcony. Harold Wilson always stayed at the Adelphi when he visited his nearby consituency of Huyton.
The hotel guidebook does not however include the colourful quote from Tony Benn’s diary of Saturday 3 October 1959: Liverpool, to the Adelphi Hotel and breakfast with Hugh (Gaitskell), Dora and Harold Wilson in Hugh’s room. Dora in her nightie is quite a sight.