Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Michael Prince's photographs of the lost George Hotel

The corridors are empty. The doors closed. So many rooms unlived in for years.
I moved, one to the other: Room 42, Room 57, Room 48, Room 43, Room 52, Room 59, Room 56.

The first time I stayed at the George Hotel (four storey, smoke-blackened, Victorian building at the top of Glasgow's Buchanan Street), long night drinking, no home of own, checked in with a friend, and we ordered six cans of lager. A porter brought the drinks to our room, with extra towels, 'Just in case,' he said. I wondered what this just in case might be? 

There was a coin-fed meter in the corner, an old fire place, a red carpet and two single beds. The window looked onto the street outside (dead at this time of night), higher than the swan-necked street-lights.

Next time, I stayed for a few days. Late autumn, dark evenings--my memory of most cities are of night. Walking bar-to-bar, along rough uneven pavements, cobble-stone stutter, sodium lights, neons flickering in warm wet windows fireflied with light, and the warm breath of bars, the smell of food, hungry on the air.

The George had about a sixty-odd rooms, and for its last few months, I was its only resident. In the morning, a walk along the unheated corridor to the bathroom, large Edwardian bath, a table, sink, toilet, small wall mirror, linoleum floor. Washed and dressed, down the wide wooden staircase to the reception hall and breakfast room. Joan Crawford (or was it Bette Davies?) once stayed here, and it was said Morecambe and Wise, Tom Jones and Dorothy Squires. Telegrams were marked The Nearest as the George was nearest hotel to the theatres and music halls.

It later became a favoured location for TV and films, featuring in TaggartTrainspotting and The Big Man.

Now, the George is a record store, with Country 'n' Western where my head did rest, my feet--Indie Pop.  

These photographs are by Michael Prince from his book Goodnight George, which captures some of the grandeur of the George Hotel during its final days.

More of Michael Prince's beautiful photographs here.

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