Hotel RussellLondon Was it a WSL Hotel in 1912


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Gavin Murphy

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I have just returned from a business trip to Central Europe and England (where I saw a Titanic vodka bottle in the duty free shop at Frankfurt airport) and I wanted to run the following by the board.

While in London, I stayed at the Hotel Russell in Bloomsbury. It was claimed in some promo material that the hotel was once owned by the WSL and that several T passengers stayed there prior to the maiden voyage.

This is all news to me and can somebody confirm or deny? Thanx in advance.

Gavin
 
Hi Gavin, Several passengers stayed at the Russell Hotel before leaving for Southampton. WSL may have given them some concession as an arrangement between the line and the hotel, but I have never heard of them owning it.

Geoff
 
I worked until quite recently in Russell Square House, directly across the road from the hotel, and I never heard or saw anything linking it to White Star in that time.

However, I can see the appeal for any First Class passengers who stayed there. The Kings Bar has hardly changed from the hotel's construction and it is absolutely magnificent, resplendent with deep leather seats and fine oak panelling, very "gentlemans-club" like. I frequented it fairly often with workmates and it always reminded me of the First Class Smoking Room photo on the Olympic. Bloody expensive though! (no 3d for Iced Munich Lager there!)

Gavin, on the subject of your Titanic vodka, a local company here in Ulster produced "Belfast Gin" which until recently I stocked in our shop. It had a picture of the Titanic/Olympic on the front and the dimensions of the two ships and the 1899 Oceanic on the back.
Our supplier has stopped the line due to apparant lack of demand, but it sold like hot cakes because the product was so good.
Even the biggest seller, Gordons, was knocked off its perch as our leading gin brand, which is ironic because Sir Cosmo was a member of the clan which produces it!! The old boy must be turning in his grave!

Regards

Sam
 

Inger Sheil

Member
The hotel is just around the corner from where I work in the West End - you've induced me to go pop my head around for a visit, Sam! This area has always been of interest thanks to the Bloomsbury school literary links, but the Titanic connection was a new one on me. We tend to go to Soho for drinks and meals, or over to the Pied Bull Yard near the British Museum, but I'm always up for a leather-and-cigar type lounge.
 
Hi Inger,

I also worked in the Oddbins on Southampton Row - absolutely loved the area, and got to know it like the back of my hand with all the deliveries I had to make. Pied Bull Yard is brilliant - I remember delivering tons of booze to an art gallery there.

I was unaware of the Titanic connections too, but I suppose the Russell is fairly close to Waterloo for the boat train - a short dander down to High Holborn and Kingsway, on to the Strand and then over Waterloo Bridge - ahhhhhhhh! I can smell the exhaust fumes now!!

Looking forward to your report on the Kings Bar, just be careful you don't go into "Benjy's" which is on the left side of the hotel as you enter it - it's nice but too modern. And watch you don't gorge on all the free nuts and crisps you get!

Regards

Sam
 
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Gavin Murphy

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And check out the wonderful marble stairway on the way into the King's Bar. Impessive, but I was a bit put off as the pic at the top of the first landing is no longer the Queen. Mind, it is a repro of the old Midland Hotel at St. Pancras. Nice pic, but were is the Queen?

The hotel has recently been sold by Forte House to Principal Hotels and maybe the new owners are closet republicans!

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Inger Sheil

Member
Lol! I won't be mourning the absence of the Queen, I guarantee. But will have a good shoofty at the marble staircase.

Oddbins - now there's a chain of stores I've got more than a passing acquaintance with. Pied Bull Yard and Truckles bar and restaurant are splendid in summer - sitting out in the courtyard with something lovely and cool.

Already have a candidate in mind to go prowling around the Bar with. It will be yet another London Titanic link to have a stickybeak at (although I have fairly dire memories of gorging myself silly on Tex-Mex at what was once the OSC officers and is now an American style restaurant).
 
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Gavin Murphy

Guest
Oceanic House is a cracker, but the Tex-Mex seems a bit out of place, non? I inquired a few years ago and apparently nothing goes on upstairs. Would be interesting to have a boo, etc.

Across the street (Cockspur?) from this building is the old CPR building with interesting stone carvings on the facade of trains and boats and planes (well at least trains and ships). This would be the location of the London offices in 1914 when the Empress went down. CPR's shipping operations were then, as now, based in London.

Staying on the subject of Canadiana and Cockspur St., I noticed for the first time on my last trip to London that the old CNR (Canadian National Railways) offices are just a few doors down from the CPR offices. Wonder if they were originally the Grand Trunk offices in 1912 when CM Hays was pres.? (CNR took over GTR after WWI.) Mind, GTR had a London office in 1912 at Dashwood House in New Broad St. Read my booklet, etc.!

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